Streaming Video in Captivate 5

Posted on 05. Nov, 2010 by captivatehero in Captivate 5, Tutorials

Over the last few years I’ve seen the expansion of video in eLearning really take off. The cost of entry and time it takes to create video has dropped dramatically, and the requests to have video in courses is rising due to the “YouTube” generation. To get started with streaming video in Captivate you first need to decide if streaming is the way to go. You have two choices when it comes to video in Captivate 5:

Streaming Video: The video is requested by the user and played back in Captivate. The video IS NOT stored locally. Once is plays the video is flushed from memory. This allows you to jump around in the video without the entire video loading, but you cannot “scrub” the video. This is great for video longer than one to two minutes in length, and for video that is streamed live.

Progressive Video: The video plays back in Captivate and IS stored locally. This allows the user to “scrub” the video, but if you want to jump ahead that portion must be loaded into memory. Typically used for short videos that are less than one minute.

There are other factors that come into play when deciding which way to go:

  • Number of concurrent users
  • Physical  size of the compressed video
  • Type of streaming server and video file type - FLV or F4V
  • Location of video - hosted service, or behind a corporate firewall
  • Intellectual property and security

These topics are beyond the scope of this article. If you are really serious about delivering video content you will either need to do some investigating on your own, or bring in a consultant who can walk you through the pros and cons of each delivery method.

Here are the steps to get started with streaming video in Captivate 5:

  1. Set up a streaming server account
  2. Compress your video
  3. Upload your video to your account and test
  4. Place the video in Captivate
  5. Test, test, test (I can’t say it enough.)

Let’s go through each of the steps:

1. Set Up a Streaming Server

There are many streaming server companies in the marketplace today and it changes every 3-6 months. I decided to give a company called NetroMedia a try. They offer a free trial, and you have the ability to expand your service easily.

  • Go to the NetroMedia website and sign up for a free trial.
Sign up for a free account in just four steps.

Sign up for a free account in just four steps.

2. Compress Your Video

There are many compression programs on the marketplace that will take your uncompressed video and convert it into .FLV or .F4V Flash video files. I’m going to use the Adobe Media Encoder CS5 that is part of the Adobe eLearning Suite.

Here are some tips:

  • For streaming video it is recommended that you use a Constant Bit Rate (CBR) encoded video.
  • Check the bit Rate. Odds are you will need to try something between 150-750K per second depending upon the bandwidth of the user. Give yourself sometime to test multiple file sizes.

Steps for Encoding:

  • In Adobe Media Encoder CS5, click the Add… button.

Add Button

  • Select a video to be encoded.

Choose Video

  • In the Preset drop down, choose FLV for targeting Flash Player 8.0 or higher or F4V for Flash player 9.0.r115  or higher. Choose a Web Medium setting to start out with.

Setting

  • Click the Settings… button.

Settings Button

  • In the Video tab under the video summary choose the following settings:
    • Frame Rate [fps]: 15 fps
    • Bitrate Encoding: CBR
    • Encoding Passes: Two
    • Bitrate [kbps]: 150k (Slow connections) to 750k+ (Fast Connections)

Video Settings

There are some other settings which will change the quality of your video like Key Frame Distance, but this is good for now.

  • Click the OK button.
  • Click the Start Queue button.

Start Queue

Your FLV/F4V file will be encoded and is now ready to be uploaded to the streaming server.

3. Upload Your Video and Test

  • Once the account is created - upload your file via FTP. In the NetroMedia account, there is a FTP Quick Link that you can use to upload a file. Also, there are instructions on the hosting site on how to use FTP.
  • Make a note of your URI location. This is a RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) link. You will need this use this location in Captivate.

RTMP location

Test the link to verify that the stream is working.

  • In NetroMedia you can click on the Upload Your Files Button.

Upload

  • Click on your link to test the file. If you see your video - you are ready to rock!

Video

5. Place the Video in Captivate

You have the ability to choose either object based video or Slide based video in Captivate 5. I’m going to use a video object that can only be seen on one slide in Captivate 5. You can use this same technique for Slide based video which allows you to span your video over multiple slides in Captivate.

Note: For some odd reason when using Slide video you have to start with a local video file and then change the video type to Streaming in the Video Management dialog box. (Video > Video Management...).

  • Create a New Blank file in Captivate 5. File > New Project > Blank Project…

New File

  • In the New Blank Project dialog box - pick a dimension that is going to be larger than your video dimensions and click the OK button.

Size

  • Select Insert > FLV or F4V File…

Insert

  • In the Import Video window, choose Already deployed to a  web server, Flash Video Streaming Service, or Flash Media Server.
  • Paste the URL of your file in the URL text field, and click the OK button.

Video Location

WARNING: You must verify the file extension on the video file has bee removed for streaming to work! Also, there will be NO trailing forward slash on the video’s URL.

  • Select the video object in the Captivate 5 workspace and choose the Properties Panel.
  • In the General section, verify the following:
    • Auto Play and Auto Rewind are checked
    • Buffer time is set to 10-15 seconds
    • You have some skin to give the user control of the video. (This is optional, but I always like to give the user some control over the media. )

Captivate Video Properties

6. Test!

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to test. There are a lot of variables involved with this process, and you may need to check your work. Don’t forget to remove the .FLV or .F4V file extension!

  • From the Application Menu select the Preview icon >In A Web Browser or click F12 to preview your file.

You should have video streaming success!

What’s Next:

Here are some links that will give you additional information on this process:

Adobe’s Encoding Video Page - Detailed articles on encoding video and the difference between FLV and F4V (H.264) video files.

A Beginner’s Guide to Flash Video - Excellent chapter from a book by Robert Reinhardt.

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11 Responses to “Streaming Video in Captivate 5”

  1. Steve

    01. Jun, 2011

    Hi Captain,

    This is a BRILLIANT guide for how to setup streaming video in Captivate 5.

    A couple of problems I came across that might be useful to other readers:

    1) Server Url gets changed by Captivate 5

    I used insert ‘FLV or F4V’ and discovered that Captivate 5 changes the server url, I assumed it wasn’t a problem as the name of the video (with the file extension removed) was displayed in the Stream Name field below the Server Url field in properties. However, I kept getting a ‘connection error’, when I added the forwarded slash with the video name (without the file extension) to the server URL it worked.

    2) Publishing the project on my computer didn’t display the streaming videos

    The next big headache I had was getting the streaming videos to appear when I published the projecty. When I previewed the slides (f10 on PC) they displayed fine. However, when I published them on my computer they wouldn’t display at all. I tried everything I could think of. I then decided to just upload the SCORM final to my LMS (litmos - http://www.litmos.com) and found that they worked perfectly.

    So my suggestion would be to preview them in Captivate 5, if the streaming videos work then publish your files straight to your LMS.

    At the moment I am using netro media for the streaming server and it seems to work well.

    Cheers,

    Steve

  2. captivatehero

    14. Jul, 2011

    Steve-

    Thanks for your comments!
    It is tricky, but it’s great when it works.

    Cheers - right back at you!

    - The Captain

  3. Troy

    19. Jan, 2012

    Captain,

    I have inserted an FLV file to my Captivate 5.0 project.

    It plays great! However, when I publish and send to another computer for proofing…no video.

    Can you tell me the steps I need to take to ensure proper video play-back?

    Thanks Captain!

  4. Alicja

    06. Feb, 2012

    Will this process work for a Captivate project that will be published as a PDF?

  5. captivatehero

    13. Feb, 2012

    Great question.

    Yes. This will work, but when the Flash movie opens up inside of the PDF - a security warning will appear:
    “The document is trying to connect to… (Streaming Server Location).” The user will then choose to trust the site or to block it.

    - The Captain

  6. captivatehero

    13. Feb, 2012

    Troy-

    Depending upon your sound card - you will have some issues with audio in the Win 7 environment with Captivate 4.

    The Captivate sound drivers are 32-bit. Trying to run them on a 64-bit machine in emulation mode really doesn’t give you the best results.
    Make sure that you run this patch:
    Captivate 4 Patch

    I know this corrected some issues with the Vista environment - hopefully this solves your Windows 7 issue.

    Good luck!

    - The Captain

  7. captivatehero

    13. Feb, 2012

    Troy-

    How are you sending the file over? Sounds like you may just be send the .SWF file.
    The FLV is not embedded in the published SWF file. You will need to include it in the files that you send for review.

    You best bet is to publish the file as a ZIP and have your reviewer unzip the files for reviewing. Make sure they open the HTML file and not the SWF.

    - The Captain

  8. Deniz4488

    22. Feb, 2012

    Unable to find any content on creating tables in Captivate. Do you have any suggestions? It must be obvious because it is so difficult to fine. I like your site; very helpful with other things. So far only info on all sites about table of contents in Captivate 5.5 but nothing about creating data tables. Thanks!

  9. captivatehero

    30. Apr, 2012

    Hello.

    Well, the only widget close to this is the Captivate Variables to Google Form Widget:
    http://captivatedev.com/2011/03/07/adobe-captivate-5-widget-variables-to-google-form/

    You may need to just take a screen capture of your table and just use a graphic.

    - The Captain

  10. michaelnaeesam

    15. Jul, 2012

    well james sorry iv took so long this is the web address
    and some info , they have a deal on at the mo ,tell them neesomsy recommened you

  11. Maria

    02. Mar, 2013

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this
    information.

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