Just hit record - please

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to post a couple of points to the powers that be about the importance of video tutorials in relation to building the user base of blender. I could go for ages about this, but let me cut to the chase. It’s really really really easy to make video notes, and they make it a hundred times easier for newbies (like me) to get up to speed almost immediately.

I’ll be even more specific, here is what happens when a blender super user decides to post an example of some new cool feature of blender on the blender website.

  • Rough something out in blender using a neat new feature (i.e. hair).
  • Spend an hour or two trying to figure out how to explain what you’ve done
  • Post on blender website

Here’s what should be happening to maximise ease of learning for newbies in blender. The blue bits are the new bits :o)

  • Download camstudio from www.camstudio.org (GPL)
  • Start camstudio and hit record
  • Rough something out in blender using a neat new feature (i.e. hair).
  • Hit stop in camstudio.
  • Post on blender website

Sorry for being a bit cranky about it, but it’s really not that hard. So please, next time you knock together a nice screenshot of some neat new feature for the website, please please just hit record first.

I’ve learned fine from text and image tuts, and I am not about to waste my time downloading massive video tutorials. One vid tut I saw was divided into six or eight 70-megabyte chunks.

If you wish to make a good video tutorial, it’s not as easy as “just hit record.” You need to plan it out, set everything up properly, record it, edit it, and compress it. I think other users here have done a pretty good job with the video tutorials, though they seem to have slowed down.

I don’t really like playing with the unstable releases, but I’ll look at this hair thing. Maybe I could make a vid. :slight_smile:


Blender 2.4 Alpha 2 is really stable, have never crashed.

Blender 2.4 Alpha 2 is really stable, have never crashed.[/quote]

Yes, I shouldn’t have used the word “stable.” I mean the official release; I prefer to wait for the official release. Don’t ask my why, cause I don’t know.


Video tutorials are faster to make than a text tutorial. Yes, you still have to prepare your material, but it’s easier and faster for me to make them, and a lot of people find it easier to learn with them. I can tell the viewer everything I’m doing, and they can see everything–which is a good way to get rid of the “I think they missed a step” in text-based tutorials–so it has it’s perks.

The biggest criticism that I hear people give about video tutorials is the file size. Yes, I’m catering to broadband people. For them, downloading the video is not a problem. My videos are 800x600, and still compressed high enough so that everything is readable, and the file size is about 1MB to 1.5MB (if there’s constant movment) for each minute of video. So, in that regard, people just need to play with their compression settings, and drop the FPS to 15 or 10 (that helps a lot).

And for those that think that we have slowed down a bit as far as creating tutorials, yes that’s correct :). Here are some reasons why.

#1 - Blender 2.40. The interface is changing, and I’m going to wait until it’s officially released so that I’m not making obsolete video tutorials. Yes, I can just keep my outline and re-record them, but it’s still a waste of time, and the release is soooo close.

#2 - Hosting the Files (Mirrors). Video tutorials are death to web servers. They suck up huge amounts of bandwidth. It’s not as easy as “post on blender website” because then there wouldn’t be a Blender website. We’ve had tons of mirrors for our video tutorials, and all of them have dropped out except for one, and that’s Ibiblio (you know, the people that host hundreds of Linux distros for millions of people). Even though mirrors had “unlimited” bandwidth, they still had to drop out because of the load.

What’s the solution? Bittorrent. And I’m going to set up a tracker soon. And people can go on about “please have HTTP downloads” and so forth because they don’t want to, or can’t use Bittorrent, but right now it’s the only way to deliver content in that volume, and let other users quickly give other people access to their files.

#3 - Few others are doing it. And that could be because of the two above reasons, or because they are just not informed enough to make good ones. I started to make video tutorials to start a big community of people doing it. I have a dream to have the entire documentation in video tutorial form. The fact that few are doing it, hasn’t helped my drive to make video tutorials.

The good news is that it hasn’t stopped me. I’m teaching a Blender workshop at my university, and I’m making video tutorials primarily for the curriculum, but also to be released to the public as well.

#4 - Free Time. We have work/college that we have to take care of first. More good news, I’m off-track for the Winter, so I won’t have classes during that time.

So that’s the deal. In about a month’s time I should have the tracker set up, move the video tutorial collection to the wiki (I’ll have to ask them about that), and I’ll have tons of spare time to make videos during the Winter, shortly after 2.40 is released. So things are looking good as timing is concerned.

Interesting thought: I have to learn the material before I teach it, and I wouldn’t have learned it if it wasn’t for the text tutorials :).

And also wait, in some cases, for more expansive documentation than the release notes which are understandably terse.

I’m siting in africa, i’m a student and cost of broad band is still quite high. My collage network is good but only if i manage to get in when everyone else is also draging down net work speeds. I love vidoe tuts but real, keep the text tuts coming, they genrally good and easy for all of us get hold of.

I dream of a day when the internet it self becomes free…not likely though

I agree that video tutorials can be a lot more informative. I tend to steer toward them because - as has been said - they detail every step. With the GPL release of CamStudio (which I use myself) it’s even easier now, and anyone can afford it (since it costs nothing but time). Bandwidth is an issue, but I think that’s where posting cd’s could help (as 3d Buzz started off doing). I would pay for a cd containing tutorials and blend files, much like ‘Gnomon’ makes (but not DVD content), and if I didn’t have broadband it may be the only way to see them.

Just a thought.

Can’t wait Metsys.

I have found the video tutorials much faster to learn from (personal opinion).
I would use torrents, and I hope enough others would as well (to actually be able to get them this year).

Another option is CD’s/DVD’s as Gmanx said. With a service like http://www.lulu.com/help/node/view/1743#cost, you could easily provide this for people willing to pay for it at no cost to yourself.
I know there are other services like this out there, but the guy who did this ran RedHat for a while and I like the company’s philosyphy on the users’ right to keep control of the material.

And if you wanted to take a buck off the top and donate it to Blender, I think people might be willing to support it.

$8.50 +s/h And i get a butt ton of video tuts delivered directly to my house? And i donated to blender? I don’t see a problem with that.

What about shipping time?

You would get what you pay for. More money = faster delivery.

But it would make the tuts available to dial-up users, and worse…to those with no internet!!!

Plus the cost of distibution (bandwidth for video is expensive) would come out of the users’ pocket, not the provider, hopefully promoting more to be made.

Lastly, I don’t claim that everyone is going to charge at the chance to buy it, I was just suggesting it as ANOTHER solution, not as THE solution.

If bit torrent is an option, I will probably use it.
If someone wanted a single repository of video tutorials proffesionally displaying the qualities and methods Blender, they don’t have or are disinterested in loading bit torrent, don’t have access to the internet at home, or has a need to mass produce alot of DVD’s/CD’s containing the tuts(for work or school or whatever) then I would suggest this as an alternative. If it was available.

I do know that the Blender Foundation wants to make a DVD full of tutorials that they can sell. Because, well, that’s where they make their money.

Making a DVD for use with DVD players would be a pain (authoring the DVD, NTSC and PAL, etc.) So, I was thinking about just making a data DVD and put higher quality versions of the videos, along with all kinds of goodies.

So, if we do get around to doing it, that’s probably what we’ll do.