Jun 24, 2018

What's missing in most training videos: found!

Five years ago more or less I wrote a post in which I optimistically declared that if I ever did a one-hour webinar I would edit it down to perhaps twenty minutes. The real problem for me was that there was an ever-growing catalog of video instructional material from Kilgray, SDL and other sources but that it was virtually impossible to find parts of a video with specific points of interest without wasting a lot of time. Long teaching videos need a time index.

In a few blog posts after that, I created some manual indices for some of my videos, but all of these required manual scrolling to get to a particular point. And then, while using TechSmith Camtasia to touch up the recording of a recent webinar I did on PDF handling with iceni InFix, I stumbled across a menu item I had not noticed before:

Timeline markers? Hmmmm. Why would something like that be needed? Unless maybe one could build an index with them? And indeed that is the case.

When exporting a local MP4 video file or uploading a video production to YouTube, for example, the dialogs contain options to use these markers and their labels (the blue texts seen in the screenshot above on the video editing timeline) to build a table of contents.

Wow. This is exactly what I wanted to do for years. And Camtasia is used by a lot of people I know, so I wonder why nobody ever mentioned this possibility or how they could all overlook it. The result looked like this on YouTube:

All the blue number codes are hotlinks that jump the video to exactly that play time. This makes it easy to refer quickly to some important point of interest and skip the rest. Now I'm not going to go back and rework all of my old translation tool tutorial videos, but I'll use this feature for any new recordings, and I hope others do the same.

The video of the PDF talk is embedded below, but as you can see, the TOC isn't available with embeddings.

But there is sort of a workaround for that problem, using sharing links that include the starting time:

Click this graphic to go to 21:42 in the video

But that won't control an embedded video in a web page - like the one above. If anybody has a solution for that, I would love to hear it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice tip! And as for embedding a video with the timestamp, this certainly can work with the same link, maybe depending on your software (it works automatically with WordPress's oEmbed, for example).


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