Video Production and Screencasts

Video Production

Video creation at UCF can consist of highly-produced, professional-level videos generated in a studio environment, more informal mobile video via personal video cameras, and computer-based videos such as webcam captures (video podcasting) and narrated PowerPoint videos.

Video Resources on Campus

UCF's video resources are concentrated on http://video.ucf.edu, where you can learn about the studio resources, tools, and help available for creating your own videos. There are numerous best practices highlighed as well.

Faculty members wishing to create computer-based videos (webcam captures, narrated PowerPoint lectures as movies) can do so at the Faculty Multimedia Center, or FMC, in the Classroom-1 building.

Video Capture / Video Production Lesson Plans

Ivers, K. S., & Barron, A. E. (2002). Multimedia projects in education: Designing, producing, and assessing. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Available from UCF Libraries, EBSCOhost.

  • Basic “How To” Directions for Popular Tools:
    • Digital Videos: pages 125-126
    • Evaluating / Assessing Multimedia Projects: pages 129-160
    • Sample Video Assignment: “Creating a Convincing Commercial” on pages 208-210

Lehman, C. M., DuFrene, D. D., & Lehman, M. W. (2010). YouTube video project: A ‘cool’ way to learn communication ethics. Business Communication Quarterly, 73(4), 444-449. doi: 10.1177/1080569910385382

  • This article contains both a project description and a grading rubric for a YouTube video production assignment.

Lewis, M. (2013, January 15). Video scavenger hunt assignment [web log]. Retrieved from http://bcast.skyviewlibrary.org/2014/08/video-scavenger-hunt-assignment/

  • This assignment contains a sample video story hunt checklist and shortcuts for using iMovie software. Although the project is focused on video production (rather than content), the project steps can be adapted for a story- or content-based movie project.

Paravazian, D., & Marandino, G. (n.d.). Transforming language learning textbook into virtual travel. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/100899620/Diane-Paravazian-and-Gina-Marandino-Virtual-Travel

  • This virtual study-abroad assignment asks students to engage in a series of smaller tasks that culminate in the creation of a narrated Google Maps video. Other technological aspects of this assignment involve contributing to a wiki.

Sarachan, J. (2013). Digital media, social media: Assignments. Retrieved from http://citadel.sjfc.edu/faculty/jsarachan/comm263/assignments.html

Tools for Capturing/Producing/Authoring Videos:

Screencasts

"Screencasting" refers to a digital recording of the action on a computer screen, and is sometimes called video screen capture. The programs visible on screen, the movement of the mouse, and the speaking voice of the presenter (captured by external microphone) are all part of the video. The overall effect is similar to imagining a video camera over the shoulder of a presenter sitting at the computer, with all on-screen action captured.

Instructional Uses

  • lecture capture, such as a narrated PowerPoint presentation.
  • demonstration of problem-solving, online techniques, or computer-based processes (such as showing how to navigate through a database, use a particular Web site, or utilize a particular piece of software like SPSS or Excel).
  • content delivery: rather than merely augment the face-to-face lectures, it might be possible to consider delivering all content electronically and asking students to view the screencasts before the F2F lecture (in addition to reading the textbook). Such an approach would free up face-to-face time for more interactive discussions and activities.

Many instructors opt to "chunk" screencasts into shorter, more digestable presentations of 15 minutes or less (sometimes as little as five minutes). Such an approach has multiple benefits, including a more narrowed focus and an increased likelihood that students will find the time to view the videos.

Software

Commercial software has been available for years to make screencasts, including TechSmith’s Camtasia ($299) and Adobe’s Captivate ($29.99/mo subscription). These full-featured programs include every editing, mixing, and re-mastering function imaginable, and are very user-friendly. However, they are expensive.

More recently, cheaper alternatives have emerged. The table below highlights several free screencast options:

 

Name
Cost
Features
AuthorPoint Lite
Free
conversion of narrated PowerPoint file into .swf movie; can upload directly to Webcourses; integrated navigation bar. Free client software needs to be installed. No time limit.
iSpring Free
Free
conversion of narrated PowerPoint file into .swf movie; can upload directly to Webcourses; integrated navigation bar. Free client software needs to be installed. No time limit. Easier file integration than AuthorPoint Lite. Also allows for YouTube embed in "regular" PPT presentations
Jing
Free
five minute time limit; download output in .swf
Camtasia or Captivate
Expensive
full-featured software to record screen (or individual programs); editing is possible, add effects and text, add captions.

There are also several commercial products in the affordable range, such as !Quick Screen Recorder ($29), SnagIt ($49), and FullShot ($49).

Instructions for using some of the free software in the table above can be found here.

Screencasting Apps for Mobile Devices

Screencasting tools for creating and viewing videos on iPads and other tablet devices, such as Explain Everything
(http://www.explaineverything.com/) and Educreations (http://www.educreations.com/).

Recommendations, sorted by intended usage

  • Upload to Webcourses: Add files directly to Canvas either via the Modules tab or Files tab. When a video file is selected, Canvas will attempt to play it within the browser (.mp4, .flv, and .swf are typically browser-friendly file formats). Even if the browser is unable to play a certain file, you and students can download the file from Canvas to play in a video playback program on your computer. Keep in mind the storage limit for each of your courses—usually listed at the bottom of the Files frame.
  • Convert presentations to video: AuthorPoint Lite (if the lecture consists only of PowerPoint), or Jing (if more than just PowerPoint); use the .swf output, upload all output files, and link to the .html file.
  • Email to students as an attachment: Not recommended due to file format incompatabilities and large file sizes.
  • Capture on-screen video, such as from a DVD: Not recommended, though Jing (or especially Camtasia or Captivate) can do it. The "framerate" issues mean that the video will be captured in jerky motion. Be mindful also of piracy laws.

For assistance with any of these tools, contact the Faculty Center.

ADA-Compliance

Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act specifies that reasonable accommodations toward an equivalent experience must be made for students with a demonstrated need who request accommodation. In the case of narrated videos, synchronized closed-captioning is the preferred accommodation (an unsynced separate script file, such as MS-Word, may not be considered fully accommodative).

It may be best to originally record your video while reading from a script rather than extemporaneously lecturing (since the latter would give rise to a need to transcribe your spoken words separately). Using full-screen capture (such as CamStudio.org) offers one cost-free way to display the existing video file in one part of the screen, and the appropriate close-captions in another part of the screen, perhaps via Notepad or MS-Word.

The Department of Justice also issued a letter stating that instructional material must be compliant with ADA requirements; see also this FAQ.

See Student Accessibility Services for further information and options.

Recording a Lecture Using PowerPoint and Audio

PowerPoint can record audio and slide timings while a lecture is in a slideshow, and can save this information in the presentation. Instructors can then deliver them to students via Webcourses or another website. To do so for your own course, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the microphone to the computer.
  2. Open desired presentation.
  3. Click on 'Slideshow > Record Narration' to start the recording. Please note that you should not go backwards in slide progression during the recording.
  4. Make sure the box next to "Link narrations to audio" does not have a check by it. PowerPoint will store the audio within the presentation itself, and will not make separate audio files.
  5. Click on 'Set Microphone Levels'. Speak into the microphone as you would use it normally, and the program will automatically adjust the volume levels. Once the volume is at a suitable level, click 'OK' to return to the previous window.
  6. Once you are ready to give your lecture, press 'OK'. Please have the following considerations while recording:
    • When you want to pause the recording, right click anywhere on the presentation and select 'Pause Narration'. When you want to resume, right click on the presentation again and select 'Resume Narration'.
    • If you decide to go back one slide during your presentation, it's recommended to pause the recording first. When you return to a previous slide while recording, you overwrite the recordings done on that slide before.
    • To finish recording, press the ESC key.
  7. Click on 'Save' when asked if you wish to save the slide timings as well.
  8. Save the presentation. You have finished recording your presentation. Close PowerPoint. The PowerPoint file has the audio built-in and saved, so simply upload this file to Webcourses.
  9. Consider converting the file to Shockwave Flash, so that it can play from within Webcourses rather than be downloaded. A free plug in called iSpring Free is recommended for this conversion.
  10. Remember that instructional material must be compliant with ADA requirements; see also this FAQ. You may wish to type captions into the "notes" field of each slide and provide the entire .ppt file (with no audio) if a request for accommodation is made.

Below are listed file types supported by Canvas. There are many factors that affect video file sizes such as image resolution, frame rate, color depth, and length of video. An approximate ratio, is a five minute video is approximately 40 MB. Canvas will accept a 500MB upload, with each course having 1500MB.

File Extension File Format Description
flv Flash Video Windows can’t play this just by double-clicking.
swf Macromedia flash Same as a .flv with extra programming (the player), and includes a whole folder of accompanying material for each video. Upload all of it, and link to the .html file in Webcourses to make the video play within the Webcourses window. File size = roughly 1 MB per minute
asf Microsoft Media
aqt Apple Quicktime Format used by Apple/Quicktime. Most Windows machines can play it, but files are large.
mov Apple Quicktime Format used by Apple/Quicktime. Most Windows machines can play it, but files are large
mpg Digital Video Format
mpeg Digital Video Format
avi Digital Video Format Uncompressed, big files. Often requires codec plug-ins, so playing won’t be universal
wav Digital Video Format
m4v Digital Video Format
wmv Windows Media Double-click will play this with Windows Media Player. Files usually small.
mp4 Digital Video Format File format that can contain any combination of audio, video, and subtitles. MP4 is commonly used in online streaming, and should play within Webcourses.
3gp Multimedia Mobile Format
 

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