A multimedia application, as its name suggests, can take many forms and the tools used for deployment often require the use of many tools. Even industry leading applications such as Adobe’s Creative Suite, which attempt to provide all of the tools that the multimedia publisher may need, cannot possibly cover all aspects of what a multimedia application may require. The prohibitive level of cost and the learning curve time to produce professional results with many tools, a plethora of types, levels and costs exist as a result. In my experience it not true to say that the level of costs necessarily provides the tool that it easiest to use or cheapest to buy and, as evidenced also by Lai et al (1999) “the impact of bad decision can be high not only in monetary terms but in terms of its impact on management attitude”.
I would like to introduce you to a tool that I have found extremely useful easy to use and also, free: Blueberry FlashBack (http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk). It is so good I bought the Pro version. This screen recording software allows you to record your computer screen during any kind of presentation together with audio. Download.com (2011) put it extremely succinctly in that “Not only does BB FlashBack record all PC activities as AVI, Flash, or EXE files, it also lets you add sound and text comments.”
There are many such utilities available to achieve screen based presentation results however the main advantages of this tool are based around is ease of use and built in best of breed standards which allows the production of high quality results quickly and integration to automatic publication with popular distribution channels (such as YouTube) or to file formats for use on a website or in a stand alone file. Blueberry FlashBack has limitations, as all tools do, especially given that it is free and Blueberry’s aim is to sell its more advanced software to the free version user. Hence, certain useful editing and visual effect tools are restricted until you purchase a more advanced version. This presents its main limitation in the free version in that although you can export a portion of the screed recording and audio you have captured, if you make any kind of mistake during the core presentation, there is no way to edit it and you must re-record it in it entirety, which is initially frustrating until you can produce perfect presentations on the first attempt.
This multimedia tool is especially useful for onscreen demonstrations and training by recording the real-time use of applications, capturing webcam based video and audio and streaming movies captured on a computer screen. Over all and excellent piece of software that I would recommend to your evaluation if you are involved in the above multimedia publications.
If Max OSX is your operating system, QuickTime also has a decent screen recording facility.
Download.com (2011) BB FlashBack Express Free Edition: Publisher’s Comments [Online]. Available at http://download.cnet.com/BB-FlashBack-Express-Free-Edition/3000-13633_4-10365043.html?tag=mncol;3 (Accessed 27 Mar 2011).
Lai, V., Trueblood, R. & Wong, B. (1999) Software selection: a case study of the application of the analytical hierarchical process to the selection of a multimedia authoring system [Online]. Available at http://www.computing.dcu.ie/~roconnor/LaiTruebloodAndWong.pdf (Accessed 27 March 2011).