• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



I am a teacher. More specifically, I have the title of Professor, Interactive Multimedia through Humber College's School of Media Studies and Information Technologies” in Toronto. It is a fancy title, but I have never regarded myself as anything more than a simple teacher.

I am also a writer. With this, my fourth book dealing with a Macromedia technology, plus a slew of articles and tutorials for Community MX and The MX Developers Journal as well as my web site at http://www.tomontheweb.ca, I have rediscovered how much I enjoy the writer's craft and how it can be applied to my role as a teacher. Which brings me to this Captivate book.

I write about Macromedia web technologies and have discovered that sometimes it is better to demonstrate a technique rather than write about it. Although there are a number of solutions available, there always seemed to be something missing or a rather steep “learning curve.”

Two years ago, when I was a judge for the EMMA Foundation awards, a company named Ehelp submitted an entry with the odd name of RoboDemo. It wasn't in my judging category, but I was given a quick run through of the product by one of my fellow judges and I couldn't help but think, “This is one seriously neat product.” I then proceeded to focus my efforts on writing a couple of books dealing the Macromedia Studio MX and Studio MX 2004 products. While I was writing those books, Macromedia announced it had acquired the RoboDemo product, and in late 2004, turned it inside out and rear ranged its molecules as Captivate.

Over the course of the years 2003 and 2004, Humbert College dean William Hanna and I engaged in a conversation around distance education and eLearning. From an institutional point of view, there was very little room for a college to grow in the traditional sense. There were no parking lots that could be sacrificed for new buildings to accommodate an increased student population. We had purchased a Macromedia product called BreezeLive that creates a virtual interactive classroom. From my perspective, I felt the only piece missing was the ability to easily add screen captures and movies to BreezeLive presentations.

At the same time, a number of my New Media colleagues were starting to receive inquiries about adding demonstrations, quizzes, and so on to their Flash or HTML Internet or intranet sites. ELearning was also starting to take hold among corporate trainers and educators in both the private and public sectors, and the individuals charged with that task were looking for a solution that was easy to master, feature rich, and easy to implement.

This brings me back to my office where I am about to start writing about Captivate—yet another Macromedia product. If you are a RoboDemo user, you are about to discover that the application has fundamentally changed for the better. If you are new to the product, you will discover that Captivate meets those three criteria at the end of the previous paragraph—easy to master, feature rich, and easy to implement.

What's in it for You?

Although this book can't hope to be Captivate: From A to Z, it is designed to be a handy reference guide if you are familiar with Captivate or RoboDemo. If you aren't, this book will help you develop the skills to use the application to its full potential.

The book is broken into three sections.

The first two chapters comprise the first section and introduce you to the application and how to create a Captivate movie. The first chapter starts with a general overview of the application and the interface. You are shown where various menus are located and, most important of all, the purpose each of the various screens and windows you encounter when you open the application for the first time.

The next chapter essentially pushes you into the proverbial “deep end” of the pool and shows you how to create and edit a Captivate movie. Here you are introduced to the Capture window and many of the powerful features found in the window. After the capture is created, you are shown how the Edit and Story board views in Captivate are used to edit your movie. Along the way you discover how to create and use a Captivate template, set the Captivate preferences, and add playback controls to a movie. You also discover how to add audio to the movie or a slide as well as how to manipulate the captured onscreen movement of the mouse in your movie.

Chapters 3 to 8 form the second section of the book. Each chapter in this section is a detailed exploration of the various tools you use when working with Captivate. As you progress through these chapters you learn how to work with slides, the new Captivate timeline, captions, audio, and how to add audio and Rich Media to your Captivate presentation.

The final section, Chapters 9 to 13, show you how content can be brought into Captivate. Chapter 9, for example, reviews how to create buttons and playback controllers in Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004 for use in Captivate. Being a Macromedia product, Captivate also has the capability to “connect” to Flash MX 2004 or Flash MX Professional 2004. Chapter 10 reviews this process.

Chapter 11 deals with the heart and soul of Captivate—eLearning. This chapter shows you how to use the very powerful eLearning features of Captivate ranging from creating true/false quizzes to connecting the results with an eLearning system.

The final two chapters deal with the complexity and the end game of the process. Chapter 12 shows you how to use the MenuBuilder feature of Captivate to link to Captivate movies. In this manner an entire course, consisting of a number of modules, can be broken into a series of small manageable Captivate movies. The last chapter shows you how to get your final product onto the web, onto CD, into a Macromedia Breeze presentation, and even how to FTP the presentation to a web site… all from within Captivate.

As you move through this book, you discover the power of this application. More importantly, you also discover that the amount of fun you can have with this application should be illegal.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint