As in many of my posts I have discussed the constant development of resources and making them available online. In this case I have been working with the subject librarians to assess the possibility of recording a session and making it available online. The aim was to not only computer the speaker presenting the material in video form but also the material itself, in this case lecture slides and navigating web pages. My assessment of this would look ant the ease of doing this including postproduction the quality of the material captured and how quickly it can be distributed.
This is not the first time that I have looked at Camtasia I have done a considerable amount of work with the software testing its capability in producing quality presentations. In this case however was the first time that I have gone out and captured a full teaching session using Camtasia with a live audience with all of the equipment that I wanted. My initial testing of the software was an imperative learning process that has lead me to the decision that I have made on what equipment that I have used to create the final product. And I will start by looking at these.
In essence Camtasia captures three elements simultaneously, one video feed one audio feed and everything that is happing on the desktop of the computer. The first time I recorded a lecture (in my blog on final cut pro) where I recorded a lecture via digital camera and recorded sided using Cam Studio. As described in the post it required a lot of video editing to create the final product. With Camtasia this is not the case because on piece of software is recording all of the elements of the presentation there is no need to synchronise the video to the slides. From what I had learned from my previous presentations I went with a pretty similar setup (shown below)
Laptop with Camtasia: At the moment Camtasia is only available as individual purchases rather than a site licence.
DV Camcorder: I wanted to have a video of the presenter to accompany the slides that they were presenting. Even thought most laptops have built in web cams in the top of the screen they do not provide the best viewing angle or very good quality. I decided to get a digital Video (DV) camcorder so that I get the best angle of the presenter. The DV camera also has a video out connection that allows the video feed to be streamed directly to a computer via a firewire cable.
5m Firewire cable: I bought this length of cable to give me the ability to place the DV camcorder freely; also the 10m cable was 4 times the price.
As this was being recorded in font of a live audience the technology setup needed to not interfere with the students in the classroom but be good enough for the audience viewing at home. I set up the laptop and connected to the projector and mirrored the displays (both laptop and projector showing the same desktop). I then setup the camera on a tripod in the audience, opened the display and turned it round so that it faced the presenter. I did this so the present could see if they were going to walk out of shot, I though it would look more professional if the camcorder wasn’t continuously moving side to side.
I then opened Camtasia selected the Camcorder as the video input (by default it always selects the webcam if there is one) the built in microphone (I was using a Mac an their built in microphones tend to be very good quality. If I were using any other brand of computer I would have connected a Logitech USB microphone). By default Camtasia selects the primary display to capture in this case this was fine, as I had mirrored displays.
The setup was quick and all I had to do then was click the big red record button. As this was the fist time I recorded a live session I remained in the room to deal with any technical problems that may occur but eventually I want this to be easy enough that I could loan out the equipment so that the whole session could be managed by the presenter themselves.
The presentation began smoothly with minimal differences to a normal presentation (Macs have a slightly different way of displaying presentation than Windows machines) the unforeseen problems occurred once the presenter finished with the presentation and wanted to demonstrate some elements of the presentation on the Web. As the presenter was not accustomed with OSX she did have some difficulty navigating the system. I originally thought that the presenter was only going to use PowerPoint and was not expecting this. I have used this Operating system for some time now and I forget how alien it can be to people especially non-technical people.
When it came the recording had some minor glitches, it appeared that the software hadn’t recorded the slides correctly as they were displayed on the projector. I had never experienced this issue before but I think it was something to do the integration with the PowerPoint as this did not occur once the presenter started to use the web. Generally I was happy with the video and sound quality, the room was not designed specifically for recording and there appeared to be relatively little background noise in the final recording.