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 :).