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Steve Warner
09-13-2002, 01:00 AM
I'm thinking about adding some video tutorials to my website. They would feature realtime modeling (none of that frustrating timelapse stuff) and narration with detailed explanations of the process. Basically this would be a suppliment to the HTML stuff (it won't replace it), but would allow me to get materials online faster.

The downside is that the files would be rather large and probably unusable to those without a broadband internet connection. That and it may choke my server... I'd have to check.

But I'm open to doing this if the demand is there. What do you think?

Thanks for your input!

Steve

wgreenlee1
09-13-2002, 01:11 AM
Listen to me......are you listening?

I for one would love it.
Come on who among us is not into learning?


For example,
The other day I got to thinking.
What about splines?
I realized that I didnt even know how to really do anything with them right?
So I did some searching over at the Lightwave forum at Newtek.
I found this guy called Larry Schultz,A.K.A. The Spline God.
Anyhoo,I went to his website and thee was a very,very,awesome video tutorial on splines.
Long story short,I now know to use splines.:cool:

So yes I would like to cast my vote for tutorials of any sort.

Oh yes,thanks in advance for when they are avalible.:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Nonproductive
09-13-2002, 01:15 AM
Personally, I find video tutorials MORE useful.

I expressed this in another thread but since it applies here as well - written tutorials are great, but nothing beats being able to look over the shoulder of someone as they work. Twenty minutes of quality narrated video is equal to reams of paper tutorials in most cases. It's easy to read about how to do someting, but it's rare that we (the collective novices) get to see or read the why of doing something a certain way.

Ideally, the video plus one or two hi res screen grab stills where the video may not be 100% clear (like if the tut involves selecting specific points or edges or an important point that may go by too fast) and a paragraph or so of text giving a summary of what we will see in the video.

As for the downside - if you allow people to redistrubute them with your permission, or alternately, offer smaller, lower quality versions - it may help to alleviate the bandwidth and download size issues.

isnowboard
09-13-2002, 01:59 AM
Blessed with a fast connection at home and at work, file size is unimportant, but quality is more important, something at high res would be killer.

I realize that most people are on 56k, but they are used to waiting. I think most people into cg have a broadband connection, so file size wouldn't matter. (now all the dialup people start flogging :) )

Videos are great, the more the better! Depending on how detailed you want to get, but I find watching someone put the tools through the paces really helps. Especially with video, if they are well done, (and I'm assuming they would be judging from you good explanations and format from your tutorials so far ;) ) it can help much quicker than having to thumb through the manual.

The fact you are considering this is great. I guess you have some free time while your army project renders!

My suggestion, go for some hi quality, hi res stuff, and sample down. Then if you're worried about traffic, just host the small ones on your site, and make sure Newtek hosts all of them, that way people can eat up their bandwidth too.

I think it would be great!

isnowboard

proton
09-13-2002, 02:35 AM
I think it would be a great contribution to the community...NewTek has unlimited bandwith if you are in need of a host :D

lostpencil
09-13-2002, 02:38 AM
Tis a lovely idea - sharing knowledge!

But, just to give you a heads up. I put up a 10 minute video animation tutorial on my character animation forum (http://www.lostpencil.com/forum/index.php3 under Tutorials/Files, Thread called "Lightwave 7.5 game loop tutorial)

The file is about 30MB (I also had a 13 MB version - smaller and lesser quality) and we animate a character getting punched and making it into a game loop. The bandwidth used was over 60GB - seems it was a bit popular!

Not to discourage you, just to give you a heads up.

proton
09-13-2002, 02:42 AM
and I have that clip...it rox!

vorlon
09-13-2002, 02:42 AM
I like the video tutorial idea. For slower connection (as in modem users), as long as your movies are in Quicktime or DIVX format, and you let people save the movies to hard drive, then it should work, even though it might take a while to download it.

It is only a problem if it's streaming and not allow the movie files to be saved to cache, because when I try to view movies online with Real player or Windows Media Player, they are like 1 frame per FOUR second with audio out of sync. Those site owner won't allow me to save the files because it's streaming. Needless to say there is no way I can view those movies offered only in WMP or Real format with modem connection.

isnowboard
09-13-2002, 02:46 AM
Streaming sucks! Most people don't want they content stolen or want visitors, so that's the reason for streaming. I doubt Steve's doing it for the hits, so hopefully that didn't even reach the equation. There are some decent time lapse stuff at presetcentral.com too that you can download.

visualboo
09-13-2002, 02:55 AM
Proton: THAT's the kind of stuff I like to see. I don't use LW but newtek's stock just went up in my book. :thumbsup:

Steve: My vote is Yes! Maybe that's because I'm working on some similar stuff though ;)

Steve Warner
09-13-2002, 03:45 AM
Hi guys! Sounds like the consensus so far is that video tutorials are ok and that file size is not a real concern. Please let me know if you disagree. :D

wgreenlee1, Nonproductive, isnowboard, and vorlon: Thanks for the input!

visualboo, what are you working on?

Lostpencil, your council is greatly appreciated. :)

Proton, your offer to host the videos is even more appreciated. :beer: If my video gets even 1/4 the response that Lostpencil's is getting, my IP will hang me. :surprised

Ok, here are some technical notes:

I'm on track with my Army project, so I've had a small window of time tonight to play. I ran some tests. My Radeon 9700 card has S-video out. I can feed that directly into my NLE which captures at D1. That would give everyone a 720x486 screen size. That's big enough to see what's going on, but not big enough to read the buttons or menu items. So I need your input. It's obviously much easier for me to just feed the video out and record it into the NLE in realtime. But will that provide enough detail for everyone? Keep in mind that I'd be narrating as I went along. The other option is to use my broadcast camera, sync it to the frequency of my monitor, and shoot what's happening on screen. You'd still end up with a D1 resolution, but filming with the camera would allow me to zoom in. The disadvantage is that I'd likely have to edit. That means longer production time, which kind of stinks. So what do you guys think?

I also tried a screen capture utility awhile back. It had awesome resolution, but the playback was funky (it dropped frames), the audio stunk, and I couldn't edit the video file. Anyone know of a good, inexpensive screen capture utility? Would this be a better route than direct-to-videotape?

I'm also thinking that I should reduce the frame rate to 10-15fps. That ought to cut the file size down and still let you see what's going on. Can anyone tell me if that's objectionable?

I was thinking that Divx, mpeg-4, and mpeg-1 would be good delivery formats. All AVI files. Cool?

I think that's about it. Thanks for the feedback!

Steve

proton
09-13-2002, 03:50 AM
Bring it on!:buttrock:

lostpencil
09-13-2002, 03:52 AM
Glad to be able to help.

I would definitely use the screen capture utilities. They capture at whatever rate you set (I usually use around 10fps). They also use whatever Codec you want and then you can play around with the clips in Premiere (as long as Premiere understands the codec you choose).

A note about codecs. If you want *everyone* to be able to view them then use MPG1 (viewable on Macintosh, PC, Irix, etc.).

There are a few of these screen capture tools, this is the one I use:

http://www.hyperionics.com/index.asp

Another I've heard good things about is Camtasia:

http://www.techsmith.com/

I think they are both competitively priced.

proton
09-13-2002, 03:54 AM
I use Hypercam....I think it's better then Camtasia...and It's much cheaper...easy to use and supports the right format....

dark_lotus
09-13-2002, 06:08 AM
Video tutorials are the next best thing to having a person there showing you.

It is my ABSOLUTE favorite way of learning, although be carefull not to make them to tedious and long and boring (3dbuzz tends to suffer from that sometimes).

Kaiser_Sose
09-13-2002, 06:44 AM
Camtasia produces really small file sizes, its amazing

RObohelp even produces smaller sizes, small enough to e - mail the video

http://www.ehelp.com/products/robodemo/

Mangled Poly
09-13-2002, 06:45 AM
Steve if your offerng these for free that would be awesome you could even make copys to cds or to vhs ... and sell em to people for price of the tape and cd + shipping im sure all the 56kers out there wouldnt minda paying a couple bucks for a collection of video tuts... if you dont have the equipment to make the vhs tapes pm me i would be happy to rip a vhs for you and sent it to you to make copies.. I think we have something here :)

isnowboard
09-13-2002, 07:04 AM
Maybe a deal....for each one you produce, Newtek does one too! :)

Nonproductive
09-13-2002, 11:10 AM
As for capture apps - there's also "Camstudio" which looks very similar to Camtasia but it's free.

http://www.atomixbuttons.com/vsc/index1.html

I'm not sure whether it's an older version of Camtasia or a clone, but of the three mentioned it is the one that worked best for me.
Downside is that it does not have click highlighting.

visualboo
09-13-2002, 04:02 PM
Deffinitely go with Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com/) . Martin got me turned onto this one. I've tried them all and it is by far the best.

As for which format.....I really prefer divx (and I'm sure a lot of other people do to) so why not just do two formats. Mpeg for all the goons ;) using macs, and Divx (great quality/file size ratio).

personally I wouldn't wan't to capture more than 10fps. Sure 30 would be nice but I think we all can live with 10. Easier on you.

I agree with the point about them dragging on.... not sure what to do about that if you're going real time. :shrug: I personally don't mind timelapse's. Kinda enjoi them actually because you don't have to sit there with the artist for 3 days tweaking envelopes or whatever.

CD's might be a good option too.

Take care bud

Kaiser_Sose
09-13-2002, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by visualboo
Deffinitely go with Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com/) . Martin got me turned onto this one. I've tried them all and it is by far the best.

As for which format.....I really prefer divx (and I'm sure a lot of other people do to) so why not just do two formats. Mpeg for all the goons ;) using macs, and Divx (great quality/file size ratio).



I dont know if you have ever tested it out before but Camtasia's codec produces much much smaller files when it comes to screen capturing than Divx. The quality is alot better too.
All the end user would need is the free techsmith codec

visualboo
09-13-2002, 04:38 PM
Yeah, but that's a big no no. People don't want to go through the hassle with DL'ing new crap just to watch a movie. Divx is huge.

besides, I haven't had as good of luck with that codec :shrug:

Kaiser_Sose
09-13-2002, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by visualboo
Yeah, but that's a big no no. People don't want to go through the hassle with DL'ing new crap just to watch a movie. Divx is huge.

besides, I haven't had as good of luck with that codec :shrug:

I have produced nothing but great quality videos with camtasia

You actually dont have to dl that crap, all the movie maker has to do is incoorporate it into the avi and it loads automatically. You are willing to dl a huge movie but a few k file you dont want to ... the techsmith codec is a much smaller dl than Divx and made just for screen capturing

I am a little confused ... you say to use camtasia but yet Divx is your choice. If you want to use Divx you dont even need camtasia you can use the free Windows media tool Microsoft provides on their site to record screen capture movies

At the end the final decision is Steve's and whatever he does will be great

visualboo
09-13-2002, 05:26 PM
So your saying that you only bought Camtasia for that codec option?

That's like saying I bought Max only for the option of saving to max file format. Not all the other great features.

Soeren Nielsen
09-13-2002, 05:37 PM
This tutorial uses the Techsmith Codec. Judge for yourselves.

The tutorial itself is usefull but actually it was just a test.

Reverse Foot Setup (http://shiu.homepage.dk)

Have fun

Kaiser_Sose
09-13-2002, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by visualboo
So your saying that you only bought Camtasia for that codec option?



Nope, I am saying that the Techsmith codec works best with Camtasia.

I actually e - mailed Techsmith about this a while back. I told them I am trying to record a screen capture movie with camtasia and want to use divx as the codec. They reported that I can use it but I will see much better results with their techsmith codec when it comes to screen capture.

With that in mind I was off to test it and sure enough they were right ... the techsmith codec produces smaller and better quality videos for screen capture

They explained it in detail as to how their codec was purely made for 8 bit encoding or something like that. I forgot what the exact answer was but I think its on their site somewhere

Steve Warner
09-13-2002, 05:48 PM
Hi guys!

Well, I spent the morning playing with screen capture programs. I tried Hypercam, Camstudio, and Camtasia. Hypercam wouldn't capture my 1280x1024 screen, even when I reduced the colors to 256 and set the frames-per-second to 5. Camstudio captured things, and had an excellent pointer highlight feature, but it bogged down the workflow. You could really feel the difference in system performance while capturing. In addition, the file size was large and the quality was relatively low.

I have to say that Camtasia really impressed me. We have SnagIt here at work and their codec is remarkable. It produces the cleanest images I've ever seen and the file size is unbelievably low. God bless the good people at TechSmith for allowing free trials. Camtasia is clearly the program to use. It has little bubble notes, it doesn't bog down the system when it's recording, it captured my 1280x1024 screen without a problem. It's really great.

Now, as far as delivery codec goes, I don't want to contribute to format wars. I tried converting the Camtasia AVI file to Divx and I was very, very impressed. Virtual Dub converted the file quickly and cleanly. I'm getting about 1MB per minute and the quality is still very high.

So don't worry about the end delivery format. It looks like I'll be going with Camtasia for capture. I'll make that available for those who want it, and also make a Divx version available for everyone else.

So one last question: What screen size would everyone like? I'm thinking that 800x640 is large enough to see everything, yet provides smaller file sizes than the original 1280x1024 capture. What do you all think?

This is gonna be great!

Steve

visualboo
09-13-2002, 05:52 PM
While waiting for Kaiser's vid to DL I did a couple tests. You're right, I got some pretty good results with it. I don't know why I do now though. The only thing that's different is the fact that I have a newer version of divx now than before. hmmmm

I guess the fact still remains that do you want to make everybody dl the codec?

visualboo
09-13-2002, 05:56 PM
So one last question: What screen size would everyone like? I'm thinking that 800x640 is large enough to see everything, yet provides smaller file sizes than the original 1280x1024 capture. What do you all think? I was just going to ask that :)

Is 640x480 to small? Perhaps we could see one of those tests to determine.

Eugeny
09-13-2002, 08:15 PM
Personally i have a problem with video tutorials - because of my english...
I saw tut from Digital Albert and from Spline God and damn i can't understand almost the all words :( Still is my personal problem but if u going to do some video tut pleas speak to microphone without bubble gum in your mouth and don't drink beer in time of recording :) :beer:

isnowboard
09-13-2002, 11:00 PM
Steve, go with the hi-res. Just my vote. Glad to hear you're following through with this!!!!!

huh?
09-14-2002, 11:34 PM
yeah! tuts!

I'd like to see a usefull tut on complicated uv mapping. For organic models...
Nothing usefull out there so..

what happ'nd to the weekly tutorial thread anyway?...


cheers!:bounce:

proton
09-14-2002, 11:45 PM
We have a UV tutorial for a character model that will be on the LW site soon....Check the LW site each day for new tuts....

lostpencil
10-22-2002, 09:14 PM
Hey Steve,

I just read your post regarding Hypercam... I just tried and I can easily capture 1600x1200.

relativity
10-22-2002, 11:43 PM
I personally believe video tutorials are extremely helpful, especially for newbies like me. When you mentioned 'video tutorials,' I was reminded of 3dbuzz. If you guys haven't checked out 3dbuzz, I highly recommend you do. 3dbuzz has been offering free video training CDs for download, mail. Currently, he has video training CDs for 3DSM, Maya, XSI, PHP&MySQL, Photoshop 7, Quake3 Game Design and UT2003 Game Design. I believe he has just finished a Lightwave rigging CD for 3D World Magazine (you need to get the magazine for this one). He is also still working on a free Lightwave training CD for the site. It would be nice if Newtek could help him out somehow *wink* Proton *wink*.

If you guys get a chance, download one of his training videos. You will see how good his teaching style is, and high video quality. (I believe he used Camtasia).

3dbuzz site: http://www.3dbuzz.com

Sorry for rambling on. :)

Erwin

Susurrus
10-23-2002, 08:11 AM
Being a 3D hobbyist, and a relative novice in the whole area, I would love for you to make these videos. Two thumbs up from me! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Keith W.
Sr. V.P. Operations
Juniper Post Inc.

Steve Warner
10-23-2002, 08:24 PM
Hey Paul/Lostpencil,

That's weird. My system totally choked on Hypercam. What processor are you using? I tried it out on my AMD XP 2000+ (1.6 GHz) to no avail. It probably doesn't matter, though, as I got Camtasia to work without a hitch. It still seems to bog down a little on my XP 2000+, but I just ordered a 2.5 GHz P4, so that should help solve the problem. :)

To Susurrus, relativity, isnowboard, and everyone else who has expressed their support of this idea, let me say that I haven't forgotten you! I finished my Army project a week ago, and am now working to finish off the tutorials on my site. Video tutorials will also be coming in the near future... :)

Thanks for your patience!

Steve

lostpencil
10-23-2002, 08:32 PM
Hey Steve,

I'm running a dual AMD 2200+MP, but I don't think that is the problem. It could be the settings... I know when I clicked on 'use directx to capture' it becomes unusable. Anyway, glad to hear you have Camtasia working.

Steve Warner
10-23-2002, 08:43 PM
Hi Paul,

Hmmmm... I think I've had the "Use DirectX" setting on this whole time.... I'll have to go back and check that out.

Thanks for the tip,

Steve

policarpo
10-23-2002, 09:55 PM
Thanks for taking charge on this Steve...and thanks for all the great work you're doing for the Lightwave community Paul.

Let us know if you ever decide to go on the road and give a few hands on training classes on Character Animation...cause i'm sure they will be popular!

I think you will single handedly show the world that Lightwave Rocks for Character Animation!

I plan on buying your CDs in the next couple of weeks!

relativity
10-23-2002, 10:05 PM
Originally posted by Steve Warner
To Susurrus, relativity, isnowboard, and everyone else who has expressed their support of this idea, let me say that I haven't forgotten you! I finished my Army project a week ago, and am now working to finish off the tutorials on my site. Video tutorials will also be coming in the near future... :)

Thanks for your patience!

Steve

Thanks for all your efforts Steve, they are much appreciated :)

Susurrus
01-13-2003, 04:10 AM
Mr. Warner,
Whatever happened w/ these tutorial videos? Something come up not allowing you to finish, or have you been reeally busy?

Came across this post, and havent heard anything in while.

Keith W.

Steve Warner
04-10-2003, 06:44 AM
Keith: This comes ridiculously late, but here goes anyway:

Please accept my apologies for disappearing so abruptly. There are two primary reasons for my lengthy vanishing act.

First and foremost, I fell behind at work.

I work for a government contractor producing training materials for figher pilots. I normally browse CG Talk throughout the day, but towards the end of the year, I began to fall behind. It was a hard choice, but I had to eliminate my daytime forum activity in order to catch up. It's paid off, however, and I'm just about back on top of things.

The second reason is that I'm getting married on May 10th. (Yes! :beer: )

With time running out, I promised my finace that after Jan 1st, I would dedicate my free time to wedding plans. :love: That basically eliminated my evening and weekend forum activity. Fortunately, the wedding plans are coming together and I'm starting to regain some free time.

Despite my absence from the forum, I've still managed to put a few new tutorials together. I've got a fairly extensive one set to run in Keyframe #32 and #33 (thanks, Proton!). I've also responded to a request for a tutorial on creating 3D Flight Lines with the following:

http://www.trinitymediainc.com/Tutorials/FlightLines.html

I will continue with my plug-in tutorials (including video tutorials) after the honeymoon. I have purchased www.lightwave3dtutorials.com and will be developing that into a full-blown tutorial site starting in June.

So all this goes to say that, while absent from the forum, my heart never left it. LightWave has always had the best community, and I'm happy to be a part of it. :)

Cheers!

Steve

Howzat
04-10-2003, 07:50 AM
Wow sounds great Steve!

Congratulations on your imminent marriage and have a great honeymoon :thumbsup:

I'm looking forward to June :bounce:

Eugeny
04-10-2003, 07:54 AM
Congratulations Steve :thumbsup:

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