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  Captivate
Overview
Macromedia Captivate (formerly RoboDemo) automatically records all onscreen actions and instantly creates an interactive Flash simulation. Point and click to add text captions, narration, and e-learning interactions without any programming knowledge.

Requirements
Macromedia Captivate: Authoring

    * 600 MHz Intel Pentium III processor or equivalent
    * Windows 2000 or Windows XP
    * 128 MB RAM (256 MB or more recommended)
    * 100 MB available disk space
    * Minimum resolution 800 x 600 (1024 x 768 or higher recommended)

Software and Accessories: Publishing and Recording

    * Internet Explorer 5.0 or later
    * Flash Player 6 or later
    * Microphone to record audio
    * Speakers and sound card

Review
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? We had someone inquire about about Captivate and if it would do what they needed so we decided to get a copy and give it a good test and review to see if it would indeed do what the customer wanted. I was rather excited to have the chance to try this out.

Install was very smooth and there is a free upgrade on Macromedia's website to upgrade to 1.0.1 which also ran and installed smoothly. Never having used this type of application before I was most curious as to what the learning curve would be in using it. If being able to use a program for the first time without having to study a manual is your thing, then Captivate is the capture software for you. The only time to date that I have opened the manual at all was to see if there was anything I was missing. I don't know how Macromedia could have possibly made it any easier to capture your on screen demos - complete with voice over.

Formerly known as eHelp's RoboDemo (which we did review some time ago but weren't crazy about), stores information on mouse movements and keystrokes as 'vector' format. Once captured the video/audio is broken up into a set of slides. The slides can then be edited using the many tools and templates available. The best thing is the capture can be exported to Flash format with a single click to add to any webpage.

When doing your initial recording you do not even need to add your voice to explain what it is you are doing as the application somehow knows what you are doing and places text bubbles explaining what you just did for you. I was actually quite amazed at its accuracy. I was able to build a complex demo of a Dreamweaver task in a few minutes and editing was not even needed to complete it. I simply recorded what I was working on and Captivate recorded and explained almost everything for me. However you may want to add your own text into the slides to explain more in detail.

Another great use for this is eLearning. With ease you can create interactive quizzes in which users can take tests or even play trivia games. The possibilities are endless as these interactive sessions are also exported as Flash and easily integrated with any website.

You aren't restricted to Flash out put either. You can also publish to e-mail or as a stand alone presentation. File sizes were amazing small and videos in incredible quality.

Summary
For anyone doing software training or point and click eLearning this product is the easiest and most reliable software I have seen yet. Tech support people will soon come to rely on products such as this and the job that Macromedia has done in restructuring RoboDemo is nothing short of great. You will not find a screen video capture/demo maker/eLearning tool/ than Captivate!

Review ID Number: 144
  Product Details
Macromedia
Review Date: 2005-08-24
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
 
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