Blender Tutorial Video Prototype:: Criticism Needed, Please

Hey there!
I’ve been creating a tutorial series for beginners as a college project, and I’ve come up with a basic prototype for how the video tutorials will look - such as the look of the graphics, how the content will be laid out, etc.
Would anyone be kind enough to provide some criticism for this video and offer suggestions for improvement, please? (such as…do you think it needs narration, background music, bigger font, less text and more speaking, or more text and less speaking, etc).

All of this will go towards the product testing section of the project. I appreciate any comments you may have!
Please bare in mind that this isn’t the final/polished product, but it will give you a good idea as to what the final result will be like.
Thank you in advance.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCPUuiKr-wU
[Video is set to ‘hidden’, so only the people with the link are able to see my video. Please leave any comments on here instead of on the video instead.]

Hi there

I don’t want to be too critical and maybe discourage you from giving back to the community with your tutorials.

First off, you’re taking some liberties with the blender logo that are outside the usage guidelines as outlined here:

Specifically item 4:
The logo is used unaltered, without fancy enhancements, in original colors, original typography, and always complete (logo + text blender).

Your motion graphics are fine, but you really do need a voice-over. Having to read a video is not pleasant. Especially when the text goes by so fast and at times there is much to read on one screen.

Slow down the text stills and narrate and you’ll be doing much better.

Hope this helps you.

Edit:
Usage in artwork and community websites

“Making fun and cool versions of the Blender logo is really part your own artistic freedom, and Blender Foundation will never act against such tributes. Just don’t expect us to “officially approve” it, that’s all. :)”

Missed that bit, so I guess you’re off the hook :wink:

No problem! I’m glad you brought it up either way : D
It would in no way discourage me. But good to know that my logo varient is all good!

Darn, only onepiece of feedback.

I think the problem with this tutorial is that it shows things that people generally don’t need help with, such as using a web browser and general use of windows. If a person is at such a level that they need this much help with installing the program and running it, I fear that the actual modeling will be rather overwhelming even with a tutorial.

As aomeoni said you need to do a voice-over or add some sound to the video. It’s quite exhausting to watch a 6½ minute long video that it completely silent.

The wiping effects start getting a bit tired after the third/forth time something is revealed that way. IMO, do it once or twice at the start, and maybe with a few more “major” things from time to time to spice things up, but in general, a straight reveal without any effects would work best.

(I guess this could also apply to anyone who tries to applied fade in/out to every shot, even when cutting a whole bunch of short clips. THAT gets irritating…)

Back in the 1990’s, I wrote, directed and produced industrial and instructional videos. The objective of any tutorial is to get the information across without over-taxing the various limitations of the human mind and its attention span. Cross that line and you’ve lost your audience. With those things in mind, here is an adaptation of the rules of thumb we used…

The most useful tutorials:

  • HAVE voice-over (see most available videos; and if you’re doing the voice-over in your second or even third language and you’re not sure the viewer will understand your accent, you have the option of supplying captions)
  • HAVE ‘section cards’ at the beginning of each discrete segment of the video (see The Guerrilla CG Project)
  • DO illustrate any theory or background covered (see The Guerrilla CG Project and Humane Rigging by Nathan Vegdahl)
  • HAVE a related Blender file containing the final outcome of the tutorial (see Blender Cookie and Blender Guru among others)
  • HAVE high enough resolution (1080p preferred) so the mouse pointer and what it’s clicking can be seen clearly
  • MAKE the viewing fun without being frivolous

There was one set of tutorials I came across (don’t remember what software it was for) that had video bookmarks allowing the viewer to jump to any section of the video by clicking on a hyperlink. Cool idea.

Tutorials need to stay on topic. I’ve watched some where the author offers opinions of various things or talks about issues barely related to the topic. That kind of thing has its place, but why not do a ‘rant’ video as a separate thing? Then you can really let loose.

Also related to topic:
If a tutorial is about rigging (for instance) I’d rather not watch the model being built before it’s rigged. That’s a separate topic and, I think, a separate video: modeling. Starting from a default scene and deleting the cube is seriously going too far.

Even if a tutorial covers only rigging and weight painting, it’s better IMHO to make two videos, one for rigging and one for weight painting. And if part of the weight painting video is about how the tools work, each tool deserves its own section card as do each step of the actual process of weight painting.

Video tutorials should also:

  • NOT back up and redo part of a process because the author went down the wrong road (this is really confusing because, if I’m following along, I have to figure out how many steps to undo to get back to the restart point)
  • NOT say “I’ll pause while I figure this out” (if you don’t know the topic well enough to do the tutorial, wait until you do. And even if you do know it well enough and got confused because of new/moved features, this type of thing doesn’t elicit confidence in the tutorial)
  • NOT use music except during intro credits, over section cards and during tail credits (personally, I love music and if I’m trying to pay attention to a tutorial with music, all my brain wants to do is listen to the music; I end up learning zip, zero, nada, so please, leave out the music)

When I watch tutorials, I can’t absorb the entire thing in one go. Take rigging again as a for-instance: I’ll watch the section on rigging a leg and foot, then go practice it (and likely re-watch that section several times) before moving on to the part about rigging the arm and hand. That’s one reason why section cards are important to me.

All this boils down to: Plan, record, edit.