Oracle Video Feature Overviews


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Oracle’s PeopleSoft and EPM System Information Development teams creates three-to-five minute Video Feature Overviews to provide recorded demonstrations of new and enhanced functionality in Oracle applications. Customers can find the links to Video Feature Overviews in online help, release notes, press releases, Oracle social media feeds including Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, Oracle technical blogs, articles, and presentations. These successful videos generate thousands of weekly hits on YouTube.

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  • Introduce Dave:Information Development Architect for the Oracle’s PeopleSoft product line. I’ve created about 50 screencast videos in the last two years.Introduce Loren:Information Developer for Oracle EPM products and fifteen years as a technical writer and two years creating videos for two years.
  • We’d like to take our time today to discuss the Video Feature Overview screencast recordings that Oracle has been making for a couple of years now.We’ll discuss how the concept came aboutWhat these videos were originally intended to do, and what they do for our divisions now.The tools we use to create our videos – and some alternatives.We’ll go into a little bit of detail describing the process we use to create the videosAnd we’ll finish up with what we’re planning on doing next.
  • I’d like to ask you to watch a short video from my Boss as he describes our video Feature Overviews.Slide Title: Video Feature OverviewsInterior, Greg’s Office: Hi! – and thanks for your interest in our Video Feature Overviews. I hope that you get a lot out of our presentation today – and our VFOs in the future!Slide: What are Video Feature Overviews?Greg: Video Feature Overviews are short, narrated demonstrations of new and important features in our applications.Slide: Where did the idea for VFOs come from?Greg: VFOs came about because of a sales call. The Vice President for Oracle’s PeopleSoft Division was at a customer site, and it was obvious that the customer had never seen what our products could do. After a short demo, the customer was excited about the possibilities with our products. So I proposed the idea of short, easy-to-produce, professional-looking videos, highlighting new features and functionality. And customers can view these videos at their convenience!Slide: Have VFOs worked?Greg: After two years of making VFOs, all of the feedback has been positive – we link to our VFOs in release notes, our documentation, press releases –the sales team loves to use them for customer demonstrations!Slide: And How do Customers Like Them?Greg: Customers think they’re great! On just the PeopleSoft YouTube channel, we’ve had an average of 8000 views a month, and over 25,000 minutes watched. (NOTE: Need a strong closing statement)
  • (David) As Greg mentioned, the initial concept for VFOs was as an online customer demonstration.I usually begin any description of what our videos are by saying that a VFO is a three-to-five minute narratedrecording that provides demonstrations of new and enhanced functionality in our applications. Since we began delivering our videos, Oracle has started using them as more than simply customer demonstrations. You can nowfind links to VFOs in online help, release notes, press releases, Oracle social media feeds including Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, Oracle technical blogs, articles, and presentations. As Greg mentioned, these successful videos generate thousands of weekly hits on YouTube. VFOs fill the gap between high-level marketing documents and product tutorials. We’ve found that these videos are certainly not the only thing that works, but many business people, when given the choice of how to absorb marketing materials, would rather do their first stages of research—the overview phase, the “what’s different about your product” phase—by watching video.
  • (Loren) We produce our videos in-house. We find that it’s cheaper, faster, we have more control over the outcome than taking the project outside – even outside our division.Oracle has a great internal Digital Media Production team. But even they charge internal clients (like PeopleSoft or Oracle EPM) thousands of dollars for recording. Professional video production houses will often charge thousands of dollars per minute for demonstration recordings. It takes us approximately two-to-four weeks to complete a VFO when it’s done in-house. And our management team can rearrange our priorities to finish production of a video faster. For outside agencies, they’ll normally meet a promised date, but that date is usually one-to-two-months away. And once the contract is made – our management team can’t re-prioritize the work for a faster result.When creating videos, sometimes being familiar with other products in the family helps you focus the concept to better match the messaging in other, similar products. Outside agencies can’t really offer that level of service unless they’ve already done a LOT of other work for you – or the current project has reviewers from a number of other teams.The production quality of the final product is probably the biggest variable. Your in-house talent are generally not experienced video professionals – so the screen capture may be full of cursors moving around the screen, the editing may be a little rough, and the quality of the narration may not be professional standards. For a professional video production company – any of these issues might be cause for your organization to seek a refund.On the plus side, while today’s audience has a short attention span – they also have a mild distrust of videos that are too “slick” or “over-produced” – videos that have a more homemade look are often seen as more trustworthy.
  • (David)Our team currently consists of … well, us.On the EPM side, Loren is the only Information Developer currently working full-time on videos. He is beginning to train other ID writers to write scripts.For PeopleSoft, Dave is the only full time Information Developer, but he has two other IDs that work with him regularly, although their main focus is on other documentation projects.(Loren)We currently use a fairly small toolset to create our videos:Camtasia Studio, by TechSmith, enables us to make screen recordings, edit the video, and produce the final product.Microsoft PowerPoint lets us create static slides for overviews and some basic animation – although Camtasia Studio 8 now provides a lot of simple animations – Camtasia becomes complicated when you have more than a handful of items that need to be animated at the same time.And finally, for recording our narrations and other sounds, we use whatever works for us. For the PeopleSoft side, we frequently use Audacity, which is a free sound recording application from SourceForge.For EPM, we use Apple’s Logic Pro music production application.
  • Here’s a short list of the Video Capture tools available…<CLICK> First of all, we needed a tool that worked on the Windows platform. <CLICK> Next, we needed to be able to record the entire desktop, and edit the final product.<CLICK> And then we wanted products that were already in use, easy for us to obtain – and had a lot of support – both training and customer reviews<CLICK> And finally, we wanted a tool that was relatively easy-to-learn and was designed as a video capture and editing tool.
  • (Loren) While it’s possible to make your recordings using a tool like Camtasia and your built-in laptop mic, we don’t recommend it. The audio editing capabilities of Camtasia are pretty basic, and not user-friendly for things like “patch” edits, overdub takes, and so forth. Also, the sound quality of built-in laptop mics is fair at best, and your audio will include all keyboard clicks and system noise. Therefore, we recommend using an outboard microphone and an audio editing program.You can do good work with a basic USB microphone, such as the Samson model that David uses, or a higher-quality mic such as the Blue. Price range is $40-100. As the name implies, these plug directly into a USB port on your computer. As for audio software, freeware products such as Audacity on Windows or Garage Band on Mac will give you a lot of options, including the ability to change the EQ (equalization/tone) of your audio, edit, and add effects such as reverb or compression. These will require some time to learn, but not as much as full-feature professional audio workstation software.For higher sound quality, use a professional audio mic recorded through an audio interface, which is basically a box that changes sounds into ones and zeros. Price will range from $200 up for amic and interface.For more options, if you or someone in your organization has skills as an audio engineer, you can use a digital audio workstation product like Logic Pro for the Mac or ProTools for Mac or PC ($200-500). I use a mid-range Audio-Technicamic and Logic Pro; I’m also a musician with about ten years’ experience at computer-based recording. It will take time to learn these tools on top of the time to learn your video capture and editing program.We also recommend giving some thought to where you record, and to creating some sound isolation or soundproofing in your space. Don’t try recording in your cubicle. Trust me on this. David uses a storage room with some basic “sound insulation” in the form of packing blankets, plus a small box with soundproofing foam surrounding his mic. I do all of my audio recording at home, where I have pretty good audio isolation set up, though I have to turn off the fridge before recording, as the sound would be picked up in the background. Test your space by recording “silence” for a minute or two, then playing it back. You’d be amazed what sounds are there that you don’t notice. Remember that it’s easier to add effects to your sound track than to remove background noises. There are some good resources online, both from a music recording perspective and from a voice-over recording perspective, on preparing your space for good sound isolation.
  • (Loren) Know your audience when writing your script. Who’s likely to watch your video ? What is the video’s purpose? This is even more important in video than in other forms of documentation, because you can’t search video.A good script is more than just narration – it also describes what is happening on the screen during the narration. Preparing a thorough script enables you to identify and resolve most of the problems with a production. A thorough, well written script establishes a clear path for the production to follow. Producing without a script is like building a house without blueprints.The script’s action details allow you and others to visualize how the onscreen actions, narration, and timing all work together. Indicate the scene changes. Reveal where “dead space” exists. Dead space is narrative that has no on-screen activity to accompany it. Areas with dead space may cause the audience to lose interest. It’s important to remember that attention spans are short these days. We need to present topics that are: • Short• Focused• Informative• Entertaining…in order to keep our viewers’ attention.Let the video do the talking. You don’t need to talk about every detail or step. Instead, show the steps and talk about the importance of the process or workflow that you're demonstrating.Keep it simple, use everyday words, and one idea per sentence. If your script contains a technical term, explain it.
  • We want to find out from our customers what aspects of our videos they appreciate the most – and the leastFor the last year, our average percentage viewed of the videos is roughly 50% -- which is about average for YouTube videos.However, most of our decisions about topics, introductions, and adding highlights have been made due to personal preference or simply anecdotal evidence. We need to obtain some specific recommendations from customers about what they like – and don’t about our videos.(Loren) Also, we’ve somewhat become victims of our own success, and have more demand for videos than we can currently keep up with. So in our group, we’re starting to train others to write scripts, and eventually we’ll expand this to producing videos.
  • Oracle Video Feature Overviews

    1. 1. How Oracle Uses Video to Promote New Features and Functionality 1 @LavaCon
    2. 2. How Oracle Uses Video to Promote New Features and Functionality David Laux and Loren Davidson 2 @LavaCon
    3. 3. Program Agenda • • • • • • 3 Introduction Genesis and History Business Case for VFOs Tools Used to Create Videos Our Processes Future Plans @LavaCon
    4. 4. How We Began 4 @LavaCon
    5. 5. 5 @LavaCon
    6. 6. The Business Case, Briefly… • Initial Concept: Customer Demos • Further Uses: – Marketing materials – Documentation – Training. • Filling the gap: high level marketing materials and product tutorials. • Identifying the need and creating videos to fill it. 6 @LavaCon
    7. 7. Where to Produce the Videos In-House • Cost: – Already budgeted -- the cost of the employees • Time to complete: – Generally two-to-four weeks. – Management can re-prioritize • Existing product familiarity. • Production quality: – Depends on the creator Video Production Company • Cost: – Extra budget item, usually thousands of dollars. • Time to complete – Depends on their schedule. Usually one-to-two months – Management can make anxious phone calls • No existing product familiarity • Production quality: – Good to great quality 7 @LavaCon
    8. 8. The Tools We Use • Camtasia Studio – video capture, editing, production • MS PowerPoint – static slides & animations • Audacity/Logic Pro – audio capture & editing 8 @LavaCon
    9. 9. Video Capture Tools • ActivePresenter • Freeseer • Screenpresso Pro • Adobe Captivate • HyperCam • SimpleScreenRecorder • Bandicam • Snapz Pro X • BB FlashBack • Microsoft Expression Encoder • CamStudio • Nero Vision • Vokoscreen • Camtasia Studio • Pixetell • Capture Fox • QuickTime X • Windows Media Encoder • Epiplex500 • RecordMyDesktop • Wink • Ffmpeg • Screencam • XVidCap • Fraps • ScreenFlow 9 • VirtualDub @LavaCon
    10. 10. Recommended Audio Tools/Technologies • Basic – Recommend an external mic – USB – Freeware audio editing software – Audacity or Garage Band • Advanced – Audio workstation software (ProTools, Logic) – Professional mic & audio interface • Soundproofing 10 @LavaCon
    11. 11. Our Processes • Create a script – Specifying the steps required to demonstrate the feature – providing a complete narration. • • • • 11 Record the on-screen demonstration. Record the narration Edit the video. Produce the final video project. @LavaCon
    12. 12. Our Processes • Creating a script or storyboard – Step-by-step description of onscreen visuals. – Complete narration. – What we ask for: • A step-by-step written demonstration and talking points – What we usually get: • Technical papers. • Outline of features. 12 @LavaCon
    13. 13. Our Processes • Creating an Effective Script – – – – Know your audience and purpose More than narration Identifies issues with flow and pacing Identifies “dead spaces” • Create Scripts that are: – – – – 13 Short Focused Informative Entertaining @LavaCon
    14. 14. Our Processes • Script Template 14 @LavaCon
    15. 15. Our Processes • Recording the On-screen Demonstration – Use the highest resolution you can. • At least 720p (1280X720) but full HD (1080p) is better. – Practice! 15 @LavaCon
    16. 16. Our Processes • Record the narration – Do this separately from recording the demo if you are not the SME. – Practice using your microphone • Volume • Position of the mic • Get comfortable hearing your voice. – Find a quiet location to record – Brush up on your speaking skills 16 @LavaCon
    17. 17. Our Processes • Edit the video. – Our demos run on the fastest computer in the world! • Perform a rough edit before adding your narration. – Use each audio clip to determine what has to happen to the video • Cut any “dead air” – Apply special effects sparingly. 17 @LavaCon
    18. 18. Our Processes • Produce the final video project. – Use 720p HD or higher – We post to YouTube – Production settings will depend on your end use 18 @LavaCon
    19. 19. Future Plans • Measuring customer satisfaction – What keeps viewers watching? – What’s good and bad about the videos • Training others to write & produce – writing is our current bottleneck in EPM 19 @LavaCon
    20. 20. Summary • Useful tool for communicating with customers • Fills niche between marketing materials & documentation • Lower cost-of-entry than professional solutions 20 @LavaCon
    21. 21. Questions & Answers 21 @LavaCon
    22. 22. 22 @LavaCon
    23. 23. 23 @LavaCon