#tcchat 3/2/2010: Use of Video

The topic for this week’s #tcchat is video. I’m assuming that people are aware of the importance of adding video to documentation. So this chat is more of a working session: sharing tips and information about creating videos for documentation. Videos, in this sense, is a broad term. It encompasses a variety of uses. Review the lists below for options, examples of channels and the like, and a few references about the increased use of video. Here’s a quick example:

Personally, I’m seeing many locations where videos are being used. I believe it affects search result listings. Also, consider that users may be generating videos for your apps. Search for that. Perhaps something a user creates will place higher in search results than your own docs. Something to think about.

Note: I’ve included links to various apps and examples in this post. With regard to the chat, I try to be fair to everyone. I suggest looking at everything, analyzing it, and seeing what you might be able to apply for your users. I’m not recommending use of one tool or app over another.

In any case, take a look, and join in for the #tcchat about video.
See you then!

Uses

– Training: screencasts, tutorials
– Interviews
– Streaming video of events (followed up by posting online)
– Search stories
– Apps

Channels

– YouTube
– Vimeo
– Your company site

Examples

#tcchat
MadCap Software
Adobe channels on company website
Vimeo: ReadWriteWeb

Integration into Facebook

If you want to add videos to your page, I believe there’s an app for that. I’ll be trying it out on my own pages soon. In any case, here’s an example. These are videos, but imagine putting doc screencasts and tutorials, and interviews on such a tab on your page. (I also thought you might enjoy some of these as a break in your day. Beautiful! Makes me want to go climb a mountain.)

Rainier Mountaineering Videos on Facebook

Integration on Netvibes.com

There’s a website for social media that @content2000 told me about in last week’s #tcchat (thanks!). Lo and behold,  it automatically available, and automatically includes a video tab. No extra required on your part. They’re just listed. Here’s an example of the page for #tcchat – which is found by typing in #tcchat in the search box on the home page.

Netvibes page for #tcchat

Search Stories

These, I believe, are excellent ways to provide information, showcase app features, and other considerations. For details, see my post about it:
Video Search Stories: a New Doc Option and Example

– #tcchat
– Google retrospective for 2010

Apps

See the link on my home page for the Wired app.

Tools

Flip camera
– Mobile devices
– Digital camera video settings
– Software for screencasts, simulations, editing

Considerations

– Length of time
– Editing
– Software you’re documenting: is it likely to change. Will screencasts/tutorials need to be redone?
– When can you make a quick video using something like a Flip camera vs. polished one?
– Accessibility: captions

Apps

These are some apps of which I’m aware that you can use to create videos and screencasts. I try to be fair in these chats with regard to mentions of different companies. For the chat, I’d prefer not to get into discussions of using various tools. That, I think, is best for individual company sites and social media options. Besides, I think there’s plenty to cover otherwise. I’m listing them here so you can look them up yourself. Also, these apps have trial versions available, so you could try some out.

There are also some free apps available. Whether or not they’re as robust or have the same features as other apps, I can’t say. I haven’t yet used the free ones, but have used others. I’m guessing, though, that the free ones don’t have as much functionality available. I’d be surprised. Anyhow, here are some apps:

Camtasia
Captivate
Articulate
5 Free Tools for Creating a Screencast

Tips

Here’s one observation of my own. When making outdoor videos, time of day is very important. Just look at mine for an example of what not to do.

This was taken outdoors mid-afternoon. The sun was at an angle that made it impossible to look at the camera very well. I could barely see, and I think that comes across in the video. Also, shadowing was an issue. Lesson learned: make them at a different time of day! (I suppose I shouldn’t have told you this, but perhaps you can learn from my mistake – one I won’t be making again, I assure you.)

My video for #tcchat

For this, we ran one with a Flip camera and another with an iPhone, just to be safe. What’s interesting is that while there, it seemed like the phone version was better. However, upon editing later, the camera version turned out to be best. So maybe have a couple of options in mind.

What tips do you have? Share them here, and join in the chat if you have time -