The Captivate to HTML5 Converter and Captivate Training Updates

Posted on 22. Sep, 2011 by captivatehero.


The Captain is smiling today. A big, wide, toothy smile.

Captivate to HTML5I now have these extraordinary new powers that allow me to publish to an iPad or iPhone without making an App. You can thank the Adobe Captivate development team for releasing the HTML5 Converter for Adobe Captivate 5.5 in Adobe Labs. Download the preview technology now and start publishing your Captivate 5.5 content that will now play on your iOS device.

Please keep in mind that this is preview technology. The engineers at Adobe are working really hard to convert massive amounts of ActionScript 3 code into a HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript framework.

After some testing it seems like a passive demonstration recording with audio is going to give you the best results. Here’s what you need to avoid:

  • Quiz Questions
  • LMS Tracking
  • PowerPoint Imports
  • Advanced Action and Variables
  • Skin, TOC and Playbackbar
  • Typing Text
  • Slide Video
  • Inserted FLV Video
  • Zoom Object
  • Roll Over Slidelet
  • Animations
  • Widgets

I know it’s a long list, but at least it’s a start.
I’m really looking forward to additional updates to this technology.

Upcoming Captivate Training

I wanted to mention a few Captivate classes that I will be teaching over the next few months:

Professional Association for Computer Training (PACT) Captivate Training - Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, October 13th, 2011: Captivate 5/5.5 Fundamentals and Intermediate Concepts

I’m really excited to be teaching two amazing Captivate sessions on October 13th. These seminars are open to both members and non-members of the organization. The training will take place at the Bookdale Library starting at 9:30 AM.

For more information and to register please visit:

I will also be presenting on Friday October 14th to PACT members on media creation for eLearning developers. It’s going to be a fun, information packed session that will motivate you start creating!

Lodestone Digital Captivate Training - Online and Charlotte, NC

Take 10% off : Use the discount code LODE1011 for 10% off a Captivate registration at

Forever Captivated!

- The Captain

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Using Slide Video in Captivate 5/5.5

Posted on 21. Jul, 2011 by captivatehero.


One of the great features that was introduced with Captivate 5 is the ability to use Slide Video. This video import type allows you to span the video file over multiple slides allowing for the development of sophisticated video interactions. The only other way that video can be used is by importing a FLV or F4V file to one slide. In this post, I’m going to show you how to implement Slide Video and discuss the differences between each type of video import.

After you try using Slide Video for the first time - you’ll realize that there are numerous possibilities for building creative interactions. Here are just a few ideas of what can be created:

  • Step-by-step instructions with bullet points
  • Talking head describing a process in the Table of Contents
  • Scenario training with branching to a different section of the video
  • Using draw shapes and graphics to overlay the video over multiple slides
Example of Slide Video in a step-by-step process.

Example of Slide Video in a step-by-step process.

I recently completed a project for Schwinn Bicycle called “Bicycle Assembly 101″ and it was filled with great video of a subject matter expert putting together a bicycle. When I was scoping out this project - I knew right away that this would be perfect for Captivate’s Slide Video feature. The student would be able to control the video via the Captivate Skin and as a developer I was going to be able to synchronize audio on the timeline. The audio was recorded by talent separately and not included in the video - so this worked to my advantage.

For these step-by step procedures the video remained in the same location on each slide it appeared on. For this type of information and the way it was presented - it made sense just to keep it stationary. You do have the ability to change any of the visual properties of the video between slides. This includes the following:

  • Size
  • Location (X/Y position)
  • Scale
  • Rotation (CP 5.5 only)
  • Drop Shadow (CP 5.5 only)

In addition to these visual properties, you are allowed to layer other visual content on top of the video which makes it easy to add call outs while the video is playing back.

Let’s take a look at how to use Slide Video.

Steps for using Slide Video:

  1. Find a series of slides that you would like to place the video. Having preexisting slides will make the process easier.
  2. Select Insert > Slide Video
  3. Select a video file that is one of the following formats: FLV, F4V, AVI, MP4, MOV,  and 3GP.
  4. The Video Import  Options dialog box appears. You have two choices: either match the slide duration with the video’s duration or retain the current slide duration and distribute the video over several slides. Select the retain current slide duration and  click the OK button.
  5. You now see the video in multiple slides.
Here are the two options when importing Slide Video.

Here are the two options when importing Slide Video.

This is a very painless process. The video imports in and you can see it over multiple slides in the Filmstrip. Now you can make visual property changes to the video on each slide, add additional content on or around the video, or even add audio to each slide. Let’s say that you add some bullets and audio to the slide, but the timing is off? Well, no worries - you can just use the Edit Video Timing feature.

Editing Slide Video

Once you have imported the Slide video, Captivate allows you to make refinements to the video on the timeline using the Edit Video Timing window. Here you can make adjustments to the ” in” and “out” points of the video and introduce new slides to the video flow.

You can access the the Editing Video Timing window by selecting Video > Edit Video Timing…

Here’s what the panel looks like:

The Edit Video Timing Panel

The Edit Video Timing Panel

This panel allows you to do the following:

  1. Play, pause and  stop the video
  2. Undo and Redo edits
  3. View the slide content in conjunction with the video
  4. Navigate through the slides
  5. Change the in and out points of each segment of video
  6. Insert video frames on slides prior and after the current Slide Video placement in the Filmstrip
  7. Retrieve information on the video: Name, Video Type, URL, and where to show the video (Stage or TOC)

Let’s go over each function.

Play and Pause Video

Play, Pause and Stop Buttons

Play, Pause and Stop Buttons

In the upper left corner of the Edit Video Timing window there are six button: Play, Stop, Undo, Redo, Insert Slide Prior and Insert Slide After. The first two buttons allow you to Play and Stop the video. Once you click the Play button it turns into a Pause button. Pause will allow you still see a preview of the video content in the white box on the right side of the screen. If you click the Stop button - the video preview appears black. Unfortunately, you cannot toggle play and pause with your spacebar like many popular video editing systems.

Undo and Redo Edits

Undo and Redo Buttons

Undo and Redo Buttons

As you make slide timing edits with the Slide Number markers, you can use these two buttons to undo and redo your steps. It’s really straightforward. The Slide Number Markers are described below.

View Slide Content

SWF Preview Checkbox

SWF Preview Checkbox

Below the Time Ruler/Video Timeline there is a preview window of the SWF content on each slide. You must select the SWF Preview checkbox to see this content. Once you check the box, Captivate runs through a quick preview process and times the video up with the rest of your Captivate content. It may be a little odd seeing the video off to the right as the rest of the content plays, but you soon get accustomed to the orientation of the two playback areas.

Navigate Slides

Slide Navigation Buttons

Slide Navigation Buttons

In the SWF preview area there is a Goto Previous and Goto Next Slide buttons that allow you to quickly scan your slides. (I don’t know if “Goto” should be spelled “Go to”. From a programmatic language standpoint it makes sense, but it looks a bit funny as a button label.) These buttons will take you to the marker positions indicated on the Video Timeline.

Change In and Out Markers

Edit Slide Markers

Edit Slide Markers

On the video timeline there appears Slide Markers that you can click on and drag to the left and right. This will change the display time for the video on each slide. You can move the markers and then use the playback of the timeline to check your timing.

Insert Additional Slides

Insert Slide Prior and After Current Slide Video

Insert Slide Prior and After Current Slide Video

If  you have slides prior or after you current Slide Video you can use the Insert Previous Slide and Insert Next Slide into Session buttons. This allows you to extend your video session to adjacent slides. The trick to using these button is that you need to move either your first marker to the right, or your last marker to the left. This will then enable the buttons and then you can add additional slides to the video presentation. Note: You cannot use these buttons if another video exists on the previous or next slides.

Retrieve Video Information

Video Information Area

Video Information Area

In the bottom right corner under the video preview area is some information about your video. This includes: Name, Video Type, URL, and where to show the video (Stage or TOC).

Tip: Using Slide Groups

One technique that I have used to maintain my sanity while working with Slide Video is Slide Groups. This feature is a life saver, and is a nice way to keep things organized in the Filmstrip and Branching View. The key to using Slide Groups is that your slides must be in sequential order. To group your slides:

How to access the Create Slide Group option

How to access the Create Slide Group option

  1. Select a sequential range of slides in the Filmstrip by holding down the Shift key and clicking the first and last slide in your range.
  2. Right click a slide in the selection.
  3. In the contextual menu, select Group > Create.
  4. You can now click on the triangle button located on Slide Group to expand and contract the group in the Filmstrip.
  5. With the Group contracted, use the Properties Panel to change the Group Title, choose a Master Slide for the group, modify the group color, and check if you want your Master Slide object stacked on top of other slide content.

Table of Contents Video

So you have implemented Slide Video, but how do you get that video to appear in the Table of contents? It’s actually really easy:

  1. Select Video > Video Management.
  2. Choose a video in the list you would like to appear in the TOC.
  3. On the right, select TOC from the Show Video On drop down menu.
  4. Verify that you have the correct Video Type and URL for each video.
The Video Management Window

The Video Management Window

That’s it! Captivate will scale your video down and fit it at the top of the Table of Contents. When the video is done playing the TOC contracts up. This is a great way in incorporate a talking head while your content is playing.

Note: If you want to match the TOC video size it’s 196px W x 144 px H.

Slide Video vs. Single Slide Video Import

So when should you import a video versus using slide video over multiple slides? Here’s a breakdown of each video type in Captivate with the pros and cons:

Import FLV or F4V File (Single Slide)

  1. Difficulty with slide synchronization
  2. Students can control the playback of the video with the video skin
  3. No closed captioning
  4. You can have more than one video on a slide
  5. There is no video resource in the Library. External reference only.
  6. Video can only be used on the stage

Import Slide Video (Multiple Slides)

  1. Will play synchronized with slides
  2. Students can control the playback of the video with the Captivate skin
  3. Closed captioning allowed
  4. Only one video is allowed per slide
  5. The video is available in the Library
  6. Video can be used on the stage and in the Table of Contents

Note: You cannot add slide videos to locked slides, random slides, recording slide placeholder, quiz placeholder slides, slides with slide video, or slide video placeholder.

Final Thoughts

With a little planning  Slide Video will really add a level of sophistication to the way you display your video content. Make sure before you use video for the first time that you make a prototype and test it on a typical delivery system. Also, be aware of bandwidth constraints with video. In the Schwinn course I was regulated to videos that were no larger than 5 MB. Know your limitations and make no assumptions with the technology.

Forever Captivated!

- The Captain

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