Video Killed the Manual Star

The title is a play on an old video from The Buggles. I guess I’m showing my age to say this, but I remember being in college and seeing this video when MTV first signed on. It’s a long, long, long time ago when MTV actually played videos. Don’t get me started.

Anyway, that’s not the topic of this entry. The topic is about using videos to educate customers. I love Apple’s video’s showing off the iPhone features and I wanted to do videos to show off MoneyWell (Debt Quencher could probably use a couple too, but it is much less complicated to use and needs them less). Then I read “RTFM is so over” by Bob Walsh and I knew I needed to do it now. Bob’s article reminded me that SnapzProX makes it easy so I had no excuses.

He even had a follow-up article about posting your videos to YouTube. What a cool idea! Use Google’s bandwidth and maybe get some viral marketing out of it. This pushed me to get it done. Actually, this pushed me to talk to Judy about it and she pushed me to get it done.

Recording the video was drop dead simple, but I found that I needed to write a script first (because I kept screwing it up). This also made it easier for my wife to do the voiceover for the video while I ran MoneyWell. It’s really nice to have someone in-house who has worked as a voiceover artist.

When I posted our MoneyWell video to YouTube, the results were less than stellar. The problem is that YouTube shrinks the video dimensions down so much that it’s hard to see the text. This is fine if you’re zoomed into a small area of your program or you don’t have to show fine details, but we couldn’t do that with MoneyWell. I tried the SnapzProX function that pans the screen with the cursor, but even with the smooth pan on, Judy said that it still made her dizzy and sick to her stomach. This made me want to play it back a few more times just to drive her crazy, but I didn’t… I only played it once more.

So, I ended up leaving the video on YouTube, but I’m hosting a better resolution version on my own server. We’ll see how heavy this becomes on bandwidth and if I need to change anything in the future. I definitely want to get more of these videos posted. I agree with Bob that people don’t like reading manuals and step-by-step web tutorials can be hard to follow. We live in a great time of simple recording tools and high bandwidth. Praise God for broadband!


4 thoughts on “Video Killed the Manual Star

  1. Kevin Hoctor

    Mike’s videos at Clickable Bliss are great and a step above what we are doing. We may get up to that level at some point, but for now I’m just excited that we have videos. Thanks for the reminder about his videos.

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