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Creating Video Tutorials

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is a whole book. So very often it is so much easier to watch and learn, than read, scrounge around, and discover that you missed a step on page 4. So, video tutorials are very encouraged, but there are some serious drawbacks and challenges.

One of the issue is disk space - the size of video is huge and can take forever to download. Compress it to reduce file size, but if you overdo it the quality becomes painful or illegible. Use a fancy codec and no one else can watch it. Reduce the frame rate at it becomes jumpy.

Another issue is speaker/audio quality, both in accent and dialect, language, speaking rate, volume, and quality of delivery ("Uh, so, I wanna tell yous dudes about, uh, hows to make a really cool deal.").

Those are just general video tutorial issues. Specifically to Blender, a video tut about Blender has its own additional set of challenges. Blender is a very dense graphics application, so you need to show a lot of detail many times. Second, it changes so fast that many tutorials become outdated rapidly. Third, Blender is very complicated and it is easy to gloss over some step, or have it set as your default, that the user cannot replicate what you did.

All of these conflicts are hopefully addressed in this wikibook to give you some guidance on how to make a great video tutorial.


  1. Research your topic and become an expert on it
  2. Draft a very detailed outline of what you want to say and do
  3. Practice
  4. Record your source as a series of takes, obtaining your raw content
  5. Decode your video into frames
  6. Edit your audio track
  7. Cut your video to match the audio
  8. Package with intro/credits
  9. Render as an animation
  10. Distribute

This wikibook will attempt to address each of the above steps.

Source Platform: Linux

XVidCapture is a simple tool to capture a XviD video.

To encode the video, use the XviD codec, which is open source, instead of the DivX as mentioned in the video tutorial on making video tutorials.

For two video tutorials on how to use this program see here; [1] Note; These tutorials are for the 1.1.2 version. As such many of the things in the videos are outdated. However the second video still gives you a good idea of the program.

Source Platform: Mac OS X

There are several screen recording options for OS X. One of the more popular programs is iShowU, there is also Snapper as well. For free alternatives there is jing, although output for the free verison is limited to the flash (swf) format. There is also copernicus (limited to pictures and video only, no audio), and, a browser based screen recorder that uses Javascript.

Source Platform: Windows

For Windows there is CamStudio (GPL), HyperCAM or Camtasia Studio. Another useful tool is Wink that use flash to make light tutorial animations.

There're lots of screencasting tools offering video editing features, compared with those open source freeware. Some of them are aiming at one specific group of users. Take example, DemoCreator is for creating desktop tutorials and web demos, while Fraps is for recording gameplay.

To encode the video, use the XviD codec, which is open source, instead of the DivX as mentioned in the video tutorial on making video tutorials.

A tutorial on creating video tutorials is available. It can be found here:

Scroll or search and find the tutorial titled:

How to Make Video Tutorials which has a file name of vidtute.avi.