Knowledge Screen: How to Create Rapid Video Learning

Written by Gabe Anderson — Posted in Community, Customers

Online video is everywhere, from the ubiquitous YouTube to the roster of world-class speakers featured by TED.

With Articulate Studio ’09‘s native support for Flash FLV & SWF, as well as QuickTime H.264 video, it’s no surprise that Articulate customers are pushing the envelope to incorporate this increasingly affordable and accessible instructional medium in their content.

Optimizing Video Playback in Articulate Presenter

Knowledge Screen logo Mark Dorosz, Director at Knowledge Screen, a New York-based learning and communications company that combines Articulate-powered rapid elearning with low-cost video production, first appeared on my radar last week when he posted a comment on Phil Corriveau’s blog entry about improving presentation download time.

In particular, Mark was interested in Phil’s pre-loader for embedded video and how it could make his video-heavy content perform even better. Phil happened to be working on an update to his pre-loader to support FLV Flash — a great example of the Articulate Community helping one another out.

(Though Mark found Articulate Presenter’s native FLV video handling capabilities sufficient for this demo, he’s exploring incorporating Phil’s pre-loader in the future.)

Video in Articulate Presenter Demo

Mark’s video demo course is an excellent example of incorporating slide-level video in Articulate Presenter ’09. Behold:

Knowledge Screen Demo

View Knowledge Screen Demo

Interview with Mark Dorosz

I asked Mark a few questions about his experience creating online video and Articulate content:

Online video has been around for years — what’s so exciting today?

With tools like Articulate and green screen video (the magic that puts the weatherman in front of the map), video is finally in the hands of instructional designers. Previously, you needed a degree in streaming media technology and a Hollywood-sized film budget to make this happen. Now, we can pull together a storyboard in Presenter on Monday, produce a professional quality video on Tuesday, and have a rapid video learning course ready for rollout to learners by Friday. Also, the necessary IT infrastructure is in place; there’s a misperception that video places huge demands on your network, but the resulting files are often much smaller than a system demonstration.

Mark Dorosz & green screen

On set with Mark Dorosz and the Knowledge Screen film crew

What do you see as the instructional potential of video?

When done right, video provides the missing link between the passion of a classroom instructor and the scalability of self-paced elearning. People sharing their ideas on camera is the norm, whether you’re catching up with the morning news on CNN, deciding between two politicians, or enjoying an episode of America’s Got Talent. A polished video script combined with a well-rehearsed presenter can add a new level of personal engagement and credibility to elearning that we just can’t achieve with Flash animations. How would you rather learn about sales techniques? From an interactive video featuring your company’s top sales rep, or from an anonymous voice over?

Any top tips you can share with the Articulate Community on using video?

Absolutely. When we first started this project — to combine rapid elearning with green screen video — we had a few hiccups, but our final production process is simple and low cost:

  1. Prepare your speaker: An employee on camera beats a professional actor any day for authenticity. A few hours spent preparing your speaker will save you time on set and make post-production a cinch. You can find out more here.
  2. Keep it simple: With any new medium, our tendency is to go wild. Unless you have a Stephen Spielberg budget, don’t try anything too fancy or you’ll fall short of a professional end product. If your local TV news anchor wouldn’t do it, neither should you.
  3. Remember, this is rapid elearning: Video offers lots of potential for rework. Instead, stay focused on engaging your audience rather than trying to iron out every last little niggle, and you’ll have some energy left for your next project.

Why do you use Articulate products?

We really did our due diligence when looking for a stable authoring platform for rapid video learning. (You know who we’re talking about!) Articulate was the only tool that could handle the transparent backgrounds produced by green screen video (the Alpha channel) and play multiple clips without any issues. Articulate allows us to focus on learning design rather than pulling our hair out over the technical bugs found in competing products.

What are your favorite Articulate features?

We love that PowerPoint is the platform that underlies Presenter ’09. If you can think outside the box, it’s essentially a blank canvass with unlimited creative potential. It’s also great for working with our speakers, as they’re comfortable with PowerPoint and it helps them envision the end product. The notes feature is a huge plus for us: we can do one closed captioning with one click — and that’s something that puts Articulate way ahead of its competition.

How can other companies get involved?

We see huge potential for rapid video learning in corporate education. We’re currently looking for Fortune 500 firms to pilot this approach in their organization. So if you have a Head of HR or a classroom instructor who’s looking to make their video debut in front of your employees, we’d love to give them the star treatment and make them shine on camera.

Thanks for sharing your story, Mark.

Have a case study or featured content you’d like to share here? Let me know.

25 responses to “Knowledge Screen: How to Create Rapid Video Learning”


It’s nice to see Mark step out on his own and pursue his passion around video and learning. He’s put together some great looking samples, has found a growing niche for his product, and has adopted a stable platform on which to build. I’ll enjoy watching this story grow into great case study material for the industry, Articulate, and Knowledge Screen.

Mark Moore // Posted at 1:55 pm on November 10th, 2009

Thank you for a very impressive and interesting article. Mark’s demo is superb! I love the use of the video aspect as well as the overall look and feel of his presentation. I was wondering how he created the presentation window with the title, subtitle, and logo on each screen. It looks very professional, especially with the drop-shadow. Mark, please share this technique!

PinkLady // Posted at 2:13 pm on November 10th, 2009

@Mark Moore
Thank you for your kind words. They’re a real inspiration for getting this up and running!

@Pink Lady
My designer created some simple templates in Photoshop featuring the drop shadow and logo; we then we just added a variety of virtual learning props (whiteboard, clipboard) to create a series of PowerPoint template slides.

Armed with our template slides, it was an easy job to pick and mix them to match our onscreen video. Our goal was to streamline our development process so we could get a module produced from scratch within 2 weeeks. There is huge potential for something more creative but we were equally interested in pushing the timeline while achieveing a polished end product.

Mark Dorosz // Posted at 2:42 pm on November 10th, 2009

What were the video tools and technical process used to go from a green screen video through editing it, exporting it (with alpha channel?), and then inserting that into Articulate?

Andy // Posted at 3:46 pm on November 10th, 2009

The footage was shot using a Panasonic HPX300 HD video camera under professional studio lighting. We shot in High Definition, though in hindsight Standard Definition would have been sufficient and made the subsequent files easier to handle. Audio was recorded with a boom mike; for future projects we will use to a lavalier mic. Studio shoot time was circa 2 hours.

With good raw footage, the clips were processed using Adobe After Effects. Post production included:
– editing the footage
– chroma keying with Keylight
– boosting of the audio

The files were then outputted as FLVs using After Effects at “Million+ of colors” to preserve the Alpha Channel. We found rendering at 312kpbs for the video and 56 kpbs for mono audio produced the best quality without causing excessive loadtime between screens. We experimented with lowering the frame rate to 24fps but achieved no significant reduction in file sizes and stuck at 30 fps. The subsequent FLVs ranged in size between 1.5 and 5 Meg with a total file size under 60 Meg – much smaller than a comparable You Tube video.

Mark Dorosz // Posted at 5:13 pm on November 10th, 2009

@Mark Dorosz
Thanks for the details! One other thing…It looks like the video area you actually used is taller than a normal video aspect ratio (being just the speaker – you)…Did you find that cropping it in export from AfterEffects to just the dimensions you needed helped with final filesize or did you just output at ~720 X 486 and scale it in Powerpoint/Articulate exactly as you wanted it for the final slide? Thanks for all you’re sharing here, btw, and a neat project!

Andy // Posted at 7:45 pm on November 10th, 2009

Can you take a Powerpoint file and open it in Articulate?

Brian Jones // Posted at 10:46 pm on November 10th, 2009

Hi Andy,

Good question and you’re on to our way of thinking!

We cropped to just the area of video taking account of onscreen body movement. We used a consistently sized “video window” to make placement in the final Articulate easier and more polished.


Mark Dorosz // Posted at 9:28 am on November 11th, 2009

Hi Brian,

You could include the original classroom PowerPoint in the attachments section of an Articulate course. Let me know if this answers your question.


Mark Dorosz // Posted at 9:31 am on November 11th, 2009


You have successfully created an interactive and engaging e-Learning course that maintains the learner’s attention. Your technical expertise and the integration of video within Articulate Presenter was exceptional.

Michele Haywood // Posted at 10:13 am on November 11th, 2009

WoW! I want to be able to do this…it looks awesome.

christopher yellen // Posted at 10:51 am on November 11th, 2009

We’ve had a lot of interest from folks wishing to find out more about the mechanics of producing video specifically for Articulate projects. Let us know if this would appeal to other members of the Articulate community, we’re considering running a “Video 101” worskshop as part of a learning conference or as a virtual event. If this is of interest to you, pop a note on this forum and we’ll look at making it happen.

Mark Dorosz // Posted at 9:21 am on November 12th, 2009

Is the rollover slide custom flash? It reminded me of a Captivate interaction. BTW, nice job on the slide template. It integrates well.

Anthony Cook // Posted at 2:08 pm on November 12th, 2009

Hi Mark,

I absolutely vote for a Video Workshop! Let me know if and when you plan on doing it.

Kelly Barrett // Posted at 2:54 pm on November 12th, 2009

@ Anthony
You know your development tools well. The interaction was produced using Captivate for visual consistency. Based on Articulate’s enhanced custom skins, we plan on making more use of Articulate’s Engage capabilities for our next project. I’d love your thoughts on how something like this could be leveraged in a university distance learning program (as part of a blend, it lends itself well to getting the most visibility for your top lecturers).

Let’s rock the vote – our concept would be shoot some video at a conference and get it into an Articulate course all within the space of a 45 minute workshop. We’re up for the challenge if the audience is with us!

Mark Dorosz // Posted at 3:03 pm on November 12th, 2009

For any of the folks that have been thinking of trying out this approach, I have compiled a quick list of the 5 most common myths/inhibitors to using video in eLearning.

Hopefully it will encourage your colleagues to take the plunge with your plans.


Mark Dorosz // Posted at 12:38 pm on November 17th, 2009

I’ll agree with — WOW!!!!

This is a superb video production.

A workshop showing how to quickly put together something at this kind of level would be most welcome indeed.

Please, please do it.

Patrick Mcevoy

Patrick McEvoy // Posted at 9:28 am on December 2nd, 2009

Thanks Patrick. We should do something something funky in your area of expertise – marketing; the legal profession desperately needs better training to combat the waves of compliance “shovelware”.

Have a great weeekend

Mark Dorosz // Posted at 2:57 pm on December 4th, 2009

[…] général en ligne. Mark Dorosz est monté finalement dans l’appareil photo et a produit l’entraînement cet amour des gens! Matthew Cornell a libéré son premier guide de productivité, “Où le !@#% […]


thanks greatly…I have been telling my company this is where we should be going with training…. thanks to you , they are standing up and listening. I have been using the video tools a while now … I am still very interested in a class you would have for the post production. …

Amanda Stewart // Posted at 10:19 am on January 17th, 2010

Mark – utterly brilliant! Please do let us know if you choose to run a “Video 101″…I would love to attend!

Vinnie // Posted at 3:21 pm on January 18th, 2010

That’s what I love about Articulate! It gets people talking about how we learn and the exciting things that are possible rather than Flash coding, off-shoring and overinflated training budgets. This month’s industry awards were well deserved for the Articulate team.

I recently wrote a guide to video learning 101 called “How to Trim Costs- Hollywood Style” for Training Magazine, that’s also available at my blog I hope it gives you some practical ideas for using video for the first time in your Articulate projects.

By all means keep in touch – you can connect with me on LinkedIn, just do a search for MARK DOROSZ.

Happy Articulatingin 2010!


Mark Dorosz // Posted at 11:04 am on January 19th, 2010

Hi Mark,

Really cool stuff! Simple and to the point 🙂
What do you think of a webinar? We could all virtually meet you and also learn more about the video magic!

All the best!

Ali Zaheer // Posted at 4:43 pm on January 19th, 2011

I would love to take part in a video 101 course. We have a lot of vhs video that could be turned into online training but we do not have the basic means to create the video or knowledge. I have been trying to find information of what i would need to create basic video from equipment lighting video recorder and editng programs.

eric mongrain // Posted at 1:02 pm on February 3rd, 2011

Mark with regards to your presentation above do you use a preloader with these videos

Tremaine Kent // Posted at 5:12 pm on February 23rd, 2011

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