A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Adding High-Impact Filters to Your Titles

Words go so well with video. They can give an emotional punch to a scene or simply announce what is going to happen next. I love using romantic quotes, Bible passages, and other forms of text in my work. The best part is that you can be just as creative with how those words are presented as you are in picking out the text in the first place.

McManus, Joe. Event DV (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Image Editing>Video


Adding the Human Element in Screencasts

Screen video alone is not enough. You need to humanize your content by getting in front of the camera and engaging your audience. And no, I’m not talking about long-winded monologues either. Several 5-7 second talking-head elements can go a long way toward winning over and maintaining the interest of your audience.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screencasting


Animated Expressions: Expressive Style in 3D Computer Graphic Narrative Animation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The development of 3D animation systems has been driven primarily by a hyper-realist ethos, and 3D computer graphic (CG) features have broadly complied with this agenda. As a counterpoint to this trend, some researchers, technologists and animation artists have explored the possibility of creating more expressive narrative output from 3D animation environments. This article explores 3D animation aesthetics, technology and culture in this context.

Power, Pat. Animation (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Human Computer Interaction>Video


Are AVCHD Camcorders the Next HD Lie?

When I first read about the AVCHD format with its use of MPEG4-AVC (H.264) video compression at a maximum of 24 mbps versus HDV which uses the older MPEG-2 format at 25 mbps, I was very excited about the new format. My enthusiasm dampened when I read the fine print that actual AVCHD implementation only uses 13 to 17 mbps MPEG4-AVC for compatibility with cheaper storage devices. Take a look at the screenshots below and it pains me to see how much detail is lost in the newer HD format.

Ou, George. ZDNet (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Standards


Canon GL2 Digital Camcorder

Introduces developing multimedia using the 'prosumer' Canon GL2 digital camcorder.

Knox, Jessica and Maja Grgurovic. Studio for New Media (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Video


Correcting Color in Sony Vegas

We’ll begin this series by discussing one of the most important features in any pro nonlinear editor: color correction. The first thing you need to do before beginning any type of color correction work is to determine what "correct" color looks like. Rarely does your computer screen display colors correctly.

McKnight, David. Event DV (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Color


Cut Lines: Creating Cool Compositions With Nested Sequences in Apple Final Cut Pro

In this installment of Cut Lines, we’ll look at cropping and rotating several images at once and how nesting your composition can make it easier to manipulate your images together.

Ozer, Jan. Event DV (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Final Cut Pro


Cut Lines: Using the AVCHD Format in Final Cut Pro

One issue with AVCHD is that (like HDV) it’s based on a codec that is not really built for editing in the way that DV is. DV is an intraframe codec, which means that each frame of video is compressed using redundancies within the frame itself, and thus can be reconstructed and interpreted by your computer’s processor without having to refer to other frames in the video stream to gather the necessary image information. HDV, being MPEG-2-based, and AVCHD, being H.264-based, use both intraframe and interframe compression, which means most of the frames in your video stream need to be referred to other frames to gather all the image information that constitutes the frame. Because all this cross-referencing is so processor- and memory-intensive, it can really slow down your editing.

McManus, Joe. Event DV (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Final Cut Pro


Determining When to Use Show-Me Helps and Demos

The availability of powerful yet easy-to-use multimedia tools enables technical writers to consider a powerful new form of embedded user assistance: show-me help. This paper provides an overview of who is currently using show-me help--some current research, some history, and some definitions. It offers some guidance in choosing tools, designing show-me help, and deciding when to include then, concentrating on consideration of your users, potential topics, subsequent releases, and translation. It also suggests how show-me helps can be reused as part of product education and single-sourced into user assistance from the Web.

Bradford, Annette Norris. WritersUA (2005). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video


Developing a Personal Voice in Audio: Avoiding a Sense of Rambling

When you write a script for a video (or when you create a general outline), you can avoid the problem of the eternal video — which I refer to as a sense of rambling — by simply keeping the video short. Don’t try to cover too much ground. You can generally speak about 100 words a minute, so keep that in mind with your script. 200 words is a good length. If you don’t believe me, when you watch videos, look at the video’s time counter and note when you start losing your attention. My patience times out at about three minutes. So I always try to keep my videos at three minutes or less.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screencasting


E-Chalk Talk

Although electronic whiteboards come in several sizes and shapes, their main function is the same – to capture written annotations, notes and drawings and store them for future reference. This is accomplished with infrared sensors, radio-signal-emitting pens, plasma overlays and other technologies. The end product is a file of digitally stored notes that can be e-mailed, posted online, or printed and handed out to an audience immediately after a presentation or training session. Beyond these basic features, some electronic whiteboards are interactive – letting you connect a computer and projector to the whiteboard to combine its features with common software programs. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, for example, can be projected onto an interactive whiteboard where it can be marked up with colored pens to highlight important numbers or trends. Or, using an interactive whiteboard's touchscreen feature, a presenter can navigate the Web using a finger to move the cursor and double-clicking with taps on the screen. Even videoconferencing functions have been integrated into electronic whiteboards in the past year.

Regenold, Stephen. Presentations (2003). Articles>Education>Multimedia>Videoconferencing


Review: e-Video: Producing Internet Video as Broadband Technologies Converge

e-Video is divided into four major sections: Opportunity, Production, Compression, and Delivery. Although these can (and must) get a bit technical to be useful, I found Alesso's style understandable.

Boeri, Bob. Boston Broadside (2001). Articles>Reviews>Multimedia>Video


Early Home Cinema   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Current developments in high-definition technological systems for home viewing link definitively with early Home Cinema, as practised from the late 1890s, as an alternative to public spectatorship. The traditions of Home Cinema, in encompassing degrees of informality, interaction and control within domestic exhibition, served to lay foundations for a televisual experience which, today, having come full-circle, is defining itself once more as `Home Cinema'.

Chalke, Sheila. Convergence (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Video>History


Engaged Reach Case Study of the Nike Hyperdunk Viral Video Campaign

In support of their Hyperdunk basketball shoe, Nike recently launched a viral video featuring basketball superstar Kobe Bryant recklessly leaping over a speeding Aston Martin. The video's low-end production quality makes the clip appear to be user-generated. As our analysis uncovered, this video was spread far and wide as the online viewing audience tried to figure out if one of the world's biggest sports stars would actually attempt such a stunt. Watch the clip below and read on to see just how effectively this campaign drove audience reach.

Visible Measures (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Social Networking


Familiarity Affects Preferences for Text or Video

This weekend I had to replace the solenoid in my Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator. The solenoid controls the flow of water into the ice maker, among other things. I’m not a technician, so when I received the new solenoid and looked at the instructions, I was a little hesitant to do what the text said. The text instructions took 30 seconds to read, whereas a YouTube video I found took 9 minutes to watch. But since I was unfamiliar with the process, I preferred the video to make sure I was doing the task right.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video


Green Screen on a Shoestring: Part I, The Process

This is a four-part series featuring green screen or transparent-background video production for Adobe Captivate. We will focus on achieving high quality and instructionally sound results while keeping a small budget and a minimum time investment.

I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screen Captures


Green Screen on a Shoestring: Part IV, Captivate Implementation

In this fourth and final section we outline the process and best practices for using a produced green screen video in an Adobe Captivate 4 project.

Gillmore, John and Bucky Dodd. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screen Captures


Have Demo, Will Travel: Presenting Demos Outside the Studio

When I was asked to write about the process in which I show demos of my company’s work, I initially thought of what I used several years ago to show clients my samples—a time when DVDs didn't even exist and my home office setup was not such that I could do demos effectively there. Those were days when I had to travel to a meeting with a VCR deck, a tube-style TV, a bunch of cables, a cart to carry everything on, and, of course, VHS tapes, all properly rewound to the correct starting points.

Levy, Marshall. Event DV (2008). Articles>Presentations>Multimedia>Video


How I Create Video Tutorials

Creating video tutorials is no trivial task. When you sit down to create 20+ video tutorials for a project, you’re faced with dozens of questions. What screen size should the videos be, what recording tool should you use, what microphone is best, how long should the videos be, what file size is acceptable? Should you use voice or captions? Where will you create the recording? You can create video tutorials using dozens of different methods. There are no official steps to create videos, because situations and audiences vary so widely.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video


How Important is Video to Technical Authors?

I’m sure neither of us would argue that video will replace text. Instead, people will expect information to be delivered through a variety of media. The questions for Technical Authors are: can they be sure they will be the people creating this type of information?

Pratt, Ellis. Cherryleaf (2011). Articles>Multimedia>Technical Writing>Video


How Microsoft Pushed QuickTime's Final Cut

Apple's work to aggressively build upon QuickTime and compete in the market against Microsoft--rather than just handing its technology over and “partnering” with the company--launched Apple ahead and established major new markets for the Mac platform. Final Cut Pro initially established the Mac as an essential tool among editors.

RoughlyDrafted (2007). Articles>Multimedia>Editing>Video


How to Convert to High-Quality MP4 and Display in Flash on Your Site

This basic guide will show you the steps how to convert any video to high quality flash video, MP4 with H264 and AAC audio, and put it on your website with a Flash video player using free software only.

VideoHelp (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Flash


How to Create Engagement and Add Integration

Now technical writers can focus on how to most effectively integrate screencasts into their documentation in an engaging manner. Video content seems to be very effective for grabbing and holding the attention of viewers, and you can leverage this to help guide them through the tedious details of your user documentation. Here are some tips for using screencasts more effectively.

HelpScribe (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screencasting


How to Effectively Use Video for Training

Delivering courses online affords organizations the ability to deliver their content in a variety of ways, including video. However, just like anything, there is a correct way to deliver online training videos, and then there is the wrong way. Gone are the days when you could just record a live presentation and post the fuzzy tape online for others to view (well, maybe those days aren’t gone… but they should be!)

Ferriman, Justin. LearnDash (2013). Articles>Education>Multimedia>Video


How Video Can Turn Your Career Around

When I talk to most technical writers, video is a format they haven’t done much with. This surprises me, because I find that, as a user, video tutorials are often the most helpful type of material for me to learn software. Video most closely simulates the universal desire we have for a friend to show us how to do something in an application. Perhaps I’m a visual learner, but the majority of us (some say 60 to 65 percent) are visual learners. But video doesn’t appeal only to end users. Video can be an appealing format for technical writers as well. Creating videos can turn your career around, especially if you find technical writing a little dull.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video



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