(Last Updated On: August 24, 2012)

You have a plan to create a tutorial or a series of tutorials? Before starting, it is necessary to prepare ActivePresenter authoring environment with suitable settings. This ensures the high quality and uniformity of content. It also dramatically reduces the later editing effort.

Here is some experience that I want to share:

  1. Settings in Preferences
  2. Settings in Capture Profile

Settings in Preferences.

There are three notable setting groups: (if you are recording Full Motion video, you can skip this part)

  1. Annotation: This is the most common setting. You need to determine what type of annotations will be used. Shape, Correct Message, and Incorrect Message, Cursor Path are usually used in my screen-casts. You can specify the type of shape, style, default size, effect, and show modes. Setting the type of shape and default size are top important here (Show in Mode may be important too) because if you choose undesired settings, you will need to modify shape by shape later. It’s really time consuming task for a project which has few dozens of Shape. The style and effect can be changed later with batch operations (in Edit menu) with a few steps, so it is not a big problem.

    Settings for Shape

    With cursor path, I usually use the yellow highlight with size 24 and curved movement path. You can change the Click sound and Cursor to the desired audios too. ActivePresenter also has Cursor Path settings in Capture Profile. You should remember this for later setting in Capture Profile.

    Settings for Cursor Path

  2. Interaction: It’s similar to Annotation’s settings. Because the size of interaction is generated automatically in capture phase so that this setting is not important. You can select the type of shape to either Rectangle or Rounded Rectangle.

    Settings for Interaction

  3. Auto Annotation Text: This especially has a big role in Capture phase because the auto generated text will be in form of which is setting here. You can modify the description, remove the {$type} tag if you feel it usually produces unfriendly object description in generated text. If you are using an unsupported language in ActivePresenter, change them to your language may save much time for editing text in annotation later.

    Auto Annotation Text setting

Settings in Capture Profile

All settings in Profile are saved and can be reused later for other projects. There are two main setting groups here: Motion Recording  and Smart Capture (including Smart Capture with Auto FMR).

  1. Full Motion Recording:
    • Specify a higher frame rate will record quick motion object smoother but this only true if your computer strong enough. I usually select in range 12 – 24.

      Frame rate setting in Full Motion Recording profile

    • Make sure that the Cursor Path settings are checked and should be unique through tutorials series. These are the settings for capture/recording and it may be different from settings in Preferences. You cannot change the cursor path in recorded video after recording completed.

      Cursor Path Setting in Full Motion Recording profile

    • Specify hotkeys to be used. They should be different from the registered hotkeys of target application (the one will be recorded). Remembering the Hotkey to Pause, Resume, Stop presentation is a good practice because if you use the taskbar icon instead, the redundant steps are also recorded and you need to remove them later in editor.

      Hotkey settings in Full Motion Recording profile

  2. Smart Capture:
    • The Cursor Path settings here should be similar to the ones in Preferences. It is a bad practice if there is one style for captured cursor paths and another style for cursor paths which are inserted manually. The settings in Profile are critical important if you don’t want to replace/edit all recorded cursor paths later.

      Cursor Path settings in Smart Capture profile

    • Choose the annotation and feedback message types which are auto generated while capturing.

      Annotation settings in Smart Capture profile

    • Specify hotkeys to be used. Take a note that they should be different from the registered hotkeys of target application (the one will be recorded). There are three hotkeys which are helpful here: Manual Capture, Start Full Motion Recording, and Stop Full Motion Recording. Because Smart Capture only creates a slide when an action occurrs, but sometimes you want to get a screenshot when target application changing automatically, it is the place that Manual Capture hotkey takes a role. You also sometimes want to record the changes in a sequence, for example, progress bar moving forward, window resizing, or complicated text typing, let switch between Full Motion Recording and Smart Capture with two later hotkeys.

      Hotkey settings in Smart Capture profile

    • You can specify the Frame Rate for Smart Capture because ActivePresenter allows switching between Full Motion Recording and Smart Capture. The Frame Rate in range 6 – 10 is recommended here for small output size (AJAX/Flash) because smooth transition when mixing between “static slides” and “video slides” is not necessary.

      Frame rate settings in Smart Capture profile

That is my little experience about setting ActivePresenter to start creating tutorials. It is not the best practice or always correct for everyone. If you have any suggestion or idea want to share, please mail to us at support@atomisystems.com.