All entries for Friday 12 December 2008

December 12, 2008

Video podcast seminar presentations with Videocue and Screenflow

At the Warwick Network Day event yesterday, Chris Coe and I taught a workshop that, amongst other things, demonstrated the kind of video presentations that the E-Squad do with Screenflow. We got the participants to choose a series of web pages, and then to write a short script. Screenflow recorded them reading the script, while moving around the web pages. With the big Apple 24" screens, we could have the browser on the left and the script on the right. When edited, this produced a video presentation about the web pages, with a "talking head" style inset.

The scripted approach works well. Apart from the obvious advantages, it offers the additional pedagogical benefit of encouraging participants to develop the presentation as a structure. And therein lies something of value to be exploited in teaching. How about if students were to develop their seminar presentations in this way? Not only would it help nervous students, and those with little experience of doing presentations, it would also improve the structure of presentations. I've already had discussions with teachers, and we have plans to try this out next term.

There is, however, one useful feature that is missing in Screenflow: an autocue. And so I had a look for such software that I might be able use. One such tool is in fact made by the same people as Screenflow. However, it goes further, overlapping in functionality with Screenflow.

Videocue plays a script at a selected speed, and records input from one or more sources. In the screen grab below, you can see the script, and to the right of the script is a timeline onto which the required sources are placed. So in this case, it starts with the video from the iSight camera on the Mac, then shows a photo, before moving back to the iSight. Further sources could be used, including other cameras (meaning that it would be possible to structure an interview or discussion) and video files (for example, sequences from Screenflow). When the record button is pressed, the script is read through with the appropriate source combined into a .mov movie.

A screen grab of videocue

There are also options for transitions and chroma key (for example, use a green screen to make it look like you are in Pompeii).

I'm going to trial this with some students.

It will publish to a blog or as a podcast. If I could get it to post directly into Sitebuilder and Warwick Blogs, that would be excellent. An AIR version would be even better.