CHAPTER EIGHT – TECHNOLOGY FOR CREATING VIDEOS
8.1 Technological Tools for Creating Videos
There are a number of different methods that you can use to make a video. Each method suits different purposes and comes with advantages and disadvantages. Some of these are described below.
● Screencasting is a simple way to make videos. In order to screencast a video, the instructor must download an app that enables the recording, editing and uploading of videos. Camtasia is an excellent app for screencasting videos. Once the app is downloaded, the instructor opens their presentation on the computer (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi, Slides) and records while providing a voiceover. Often, screencasting apps have screen-within-screen capabilities, whereby there is an image of the instructor in the corner of the screen; this means that students can see their instructor and the presentation simultaneously. Screencasting apps also contain editing tools for the instructor to cut, edit, highlight and annotate their presentation. It is also possible to add clips from other videos. Once a video has been created, it can be shared to a video-hosting site, such as YouTube, or to Google Drive.
● To create a video using a document camera, you need to download software that enables the instructor to make a recording onto your computer, then connect your computer to the document camera. To make a video, the instructor can place items under the document camera and the computer records an image of the item along with the instructor’s narration. This is also a useful way to record mathematics lessons, as the instructor can work through equations by hand under the camera while narrating the process.
● Lightboards are an effective way of making videos. Lightboards are glass boards which are lit up and have a black backdrop behind them. The instructor stands behind the board. A camera stands on the other side of the glass board, with a wire connected to a lapel microphone on the instructor. Then, the instructor simply gives their presentation while writing on the board with fluorescent pens. During the editing stage, the image is reversed so that the writing appears correctly. Lightboards can be built or purchased from lightboard.info.
● A pencast is any hand written or hand drawn content digitized for internet distribution. To make a pencast, you will need a drawing tablet and a pen. Write your equation or draw your diagram on the tablet, and narrate as you are doing so. Your voice is recorded in synchronisation with your drawing.
8.2 B-Labs for Creating Videos
For CEPHEI courses, it is recommended that videos are made in specially designed B-Labs. B-Labs are video recording and post-production studios which have been designed by the CEPHEI Project and built in all partner universities. The aim of B-Labs is to provide a professional space for instructors to record and edit videos for their CEPHEI courses. One of the advantages of creating videos in a B-Lab is that you can use greenscreen technology. This involves the instructor standing in front of a green background when recording his/her presentation. Afterwards, a separately filmed background can be added to the final image. This may be a PowerPoint presentation or an animation or video clip. After you have completed shooting your video, it will be edited and made available as soon as possible by the technicians.
Figure 13 shows an example B-Lab.
Figure 13: Example B-Lab
B-Labs have four main components: equipment, software, staff, and procedures. Regarding each of these components, the following recommendations are given.
● Professional camera
The choice of camera depends on your needs. Mainly there are two types of camera. The first one is body + lens type photo shooting cameras. You can shoot low budget quality videos with these. However, for shooting videos longer than 20-30 minutes these types of equipment have a battery and heating problem. The second type, professional video shooting cameras are useful if you want to use your camera for longer hours and for live video streaming. Do not forget to buy a decent tripod which is as important as the quality of your camera.
● PC or Laptop
Whether you choose a PC or a laptop depends on processing power. Rendering high quality videos requires a lot of time and this time depends on whether there is enough RAM and processor power. In addition, do not forget to have Terabytes of cloud and local storage.
Having greenscreen is a must. You will always need to put some visuals and text alongside or behind the presenter.
For presenter mode, a wireless lavalier microphone is a must have. Most studios use the brand Sennheiser.
If you have a greenscreen, then you must also have a teleprompter. You can use a small 20-25 inch teleprompter, but if your budget allows, 35-40 inch and above screens are better for the presenter.
● Smart Whiteboard, Graphic Tablet and Pen or Lightboard
You need one of these if you want to interact with the materials you are presenting. A smart whiteboard gives presenter the flexibility to play with materials during shooting. However, one disadvantage is that you will need to turn your back to the screen and lose eye contact when writing on the board. A graphic tablet and pen are useful if you are presenting in tutorial mode – this means you can see your video in bottom corner of your computer screen. A lightboard allows you to write on the board while keeping your face and body towards your viewers. Lightboards are useful when you want to explain your topic with shapes and relations, for example, writing on a live concept map. It is also preferred for mathematical operations.
This choice is directly dependent on your budget. You can find lights from €200 to €5000-10000. The distribution and angles of the lights in the studio are also very important.
● Additional Equipment
Some additional equipment may be needed depending on your needs, such as speakers, video mixer, audio mixer, live production system, etc.
Adobe Suite is the preferred software for media production. It includes all the tools you need to create a quality video. FilmoraPro is also a good alternative with fewer functions but more budget friendly.
There are three main jobs regarding media production. For these, ideally you need a cameraman, a video editor and a CG editor. Depending on the setup of your studio the number of required staff can change. Some “one button” or “self-shooting” studios require a student or a part-time technician where the editing is done by the instructor.
You will require a handbook for B-Lab use, and an online reservation process. In addition, before putting the studio into service, you must define some rules and best practices which will help instructors. Creating a website and a scheduling tool or an email is recommended.
Advice for Using B-Labs
When recording your videos in the B-Lab, there are some practical issues that you need to deal with. However, if you come well prepared, your video can be recorded in less than an hour. Remember, when you visit the B-Lab, you will be supported by experts, such as the recording technician, who will take care of the camera, sound, lights, teleprompter, and greenscreen, leaving you to focus on delivering your presentation. In this section, we provide some information on what to expect when you visit the B-Lab.
What to Bring
You need to provide the technician with the slides for your presentation.
● Video Script
You also need to provide the technician with your video script. Your slides and script must correspond. Your script should also contain markers to indicate where the slides should advance.
What to Wear
Remember, you will be recording in front of a greenscreen. This means that everything that is green will be substituted with your slides. This means that you must not wear anything green or greenish. If you do, parts of you will be seen as transparent when the slides are added in. It is also recommended that you do not wear black, white, clothes with thin stripes, or clothes with small patterns. Instead, wear muted tones, earthy tones or pastels.
Accessories, such as necklaces, shawls, bracelets, watches, etc., should be kept simple so that they do not interfere with the microphone and the audio.
What to Do
In front of you will be a camera. This is where your audience is. When presenting, you should speak directly to the camera.
In front of the camera, you will see a teleprompter. On the teleprompter, you will be able to see your video script. This will scroll as you are talking. Read your script as you present.
Stand in front of the greenscreen. This is where your viewers will see your slides, in real time, once they have been added by the technician. You can find further advice on using greenscreen in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=98&v=A0h_BVLRSeI
Quality Control Checks for B-Labs
Once B-labs have been created, they should be checked for quality by an external assessor using the following checklist (Table 9):
Table 9: Quality Control Checklist for B-Labs
Name of the university where B-Lab exists:
Do they have a professional camera?
Do they have a professional microphone?
Do they have professional lights?
What is the average price of the lights?
Do they have a green screen?
Do they have a teleprompter?
Do they have dedicated PCs or laptops and storage?
Do they have a...?
● Tablet and Pen
What software do they use for editing?
Is there a website for the B-Lab?
Does online reservation option exist in the B-Lab web page?
Statistics for B-Lab monthly usage should also be gathered using the following questionnaire (Table 10).
Table 10: Questionnaire for Gathering Statistics on Monthly B-Lab Usage (people and hours)
How many hours was the B-Lab used for recording this month?
How many people used the B-Lab this month?
How many videos were created using B-Labs?
What is the average duration of the videos created this month?
How many hours the staff (Full-time, Part-time, students, TAs, etc.) worked for video editing? (if applicable)
What was the average satisfaction rating given by the instructors who used the B-lab?
5 (extremely satisfactory)
8.3 Adding Subtitles to Videos
In order to add subtitles to a video, YouTube Studio allows you to add subtitles free of charge once you have uploaded your video. This method is valid for these languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The best working option is English.
To add subtitles to your video, follow these instructions, or watch this video:
- First, upload your video to the YouTube Studio using the ‘private’ option.
- Next, click ‘Creator Studio Classic’ in the left menu.
- After that, go to your ‘Video Manager’ by clicking on your account in the top right > Creator Studio > Video Manager > Videos.
- Next, go to the video that you wish to add your subtitles to and click the drop-down menu next to the ‘Edit’ button. Then, click on ‘subtitles/CC’.
- Automatic captions may not be ready at the time that you upload a video. The processing time depends on the complexity of the video's audio. Once your video’s automatic captions are ready, they should be displayed under the blue box of “add new subtitles or CC” like this:
Note: These automatic captions are generated by machine learning algorithms, so the automatic captions might misrepresent the spoken content due to mispronunciations, accents, dialects, or background noise. You should always review the automatic captions and edit any parts that have not been properly transcribed.
- After clicking the automatic caption box, click ‘Edit’ to fix any incorrect words.
- Save your final captions after editing.
- From the action menu, select ‘.SRT’ file type to download the subtitles. Note: it is still possible to make changes on the ‘.SRT’ file after this point.
- You can now go to Edunext Studio and go to the relevant video and click ‘Edit’.
- On the ‘Basic’ panel, click ‘upload new transcript’ located towards the bottom, and save changes.
- Now your video, complete with subtitles, is ready.
Next Chapter - ASSURING COURSE QUALITY