Using Learning Technologies to Bend Space and Time

June 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Posted in lecture recording | Leave a comment
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This was the wildy inaccurate title of a talk I recently gave in the School of Chemistry – the subject was really about techniques to record lectures so that students can view them at a time and place of their choosing. This is a particular concern for Chemistry and Phyiscs owing to timetabling problems with their joint Natural Sciences degree.

A recording of this talk is available on Screencast.com, a video-sharing site linked with the Camtasia Studio software I use.

After the break are some details of how I made the recording

I made an audio recording of the talk using a Sony ICD-UX71 MP3 recorder (£70) – its about the size of a small phone – plus a Sony ECM-CS10 tie-clip microphone (£30). The challenge was how to add the MP3 audio to the PowerPoint file and then match that up with the slide changes.  After some faffing about, the easiest method seemed to be:

  1. Set my display to 800×600 resolution, so the video is recorded at the intended production size.
  2. Add the MP3 file to the first slide in PowerPoint and change its settings so it continues playing through every slide – the default is that embedded sounds stop playing as soon as you move to the next slide.
  3. Start the Camtasia PowerPoint recorder, but disable the audio recording. I could hear the embedded MP3 playing and click to advance the slides at the correct moment. Note that this meant that I had to listen to the entire talk again – 25 minutes of in this example.
  4. When I’d finished recording the presentation using Camtasia, I chose the Edit option. Unfortunately, my sound card does not allow Camtasia to record ‘internal’ sounds such as the embedded MP3 – so my recording had all the right timings, but no sound at all.
  5. I added a second audio track and imported the MP3 file – which matched the timings of course.
  6. I produced the video in the normal way
  7. I uploaded the MP4 file to my Screencast.com account

Well, that took at least an hour – so is clearly not a viable option for everyday use. This really emphasises the need for a simple solution such as Camtasia Relay.

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