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.

- 12 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Steve Ranford

    Another benefit of scripting, is that you have already gone a long way to making your video accessible and searchable with metadata in the form of a transcript! It’d be interesting to see if VideoCue could output the script in a feed format with approximate timings for captioning etc. I can see the potential for this to all happen very simply too. Nice find Rob.

    12 Dec 2008, 11:04

  2. Robert O'Toole

    It can overlay the script as captions, or export it separately.

    12 Dec 2008, 11:13

  3. Steve Ranford

    Yet another reason why we need a mac here!

    12 Dec 2008, 11:41

  4. Sue

    I remember (it was a few years ago now) my sister was talking about some work she’d been doing and my Mum interrupted her to say “What is a powerpoint presentation?” and me sister said “Oh, it’s just something that people do and make a big fuss about but there’s nothing to it really.”

    12 Dec 2008, 12:02

  5. Robert O'Toole

    Easy for digital natives, until they get to university, at which point doing a presentation becomes the most terrifying ordeal possible.

    12 Dec 2008, 12:04

  6. Sue

    I think it depends on how you approach it. If you can try and see the whole thing not as a matter of life and death, you start to get things into perspective. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter that much.

    12 Dec 2008, 14:52

  7. Steven Carpenter

    Have you never heard of the term ‘Death By Powerpoint’? It’s a serious topic.

    12 Dec 2008, 19:39

  8. Robert O'Toole

    I want to be Dr Evil. I want to build a version of Powerpoint that actually is lethal. When bullet points appear accompanied by machine gun sound effects, I want real machine guns to fire real bullets into the audience. Why not? Keynote does it. Come on Microsoft, you’re so lame.

    12 Dec 2008, 21:13

  9. Steven Carpenter

    Powerpoint does that, but the sound effects are .wma. I have an inherent dislike of .wma.

    13 Dec 2008, 20:40

  10. Robert O'Toole

    What’s worse? WMA or being machine gunned?

    Or perhaps being machine gunned in WMA?

    15 Dec 2008, 14:10

  11. James Bateman

    Looks cool I’d like to do that and am therefore extra pleased that I do not have a Mac and am therefore impotent. But….perhaps you could get people to work on the PR.
    I’m not sure I would welcome a visit form the E-squad in the middle of the night they sound a bit menacing. How about the E-duvet or the E-friend.

    22 Dec 2008, 11:37

  12. Robert O'Toole

    Thanks James. You’re welcome to come to the E-Squad studio if you want to make a movie. The E-Squad are really friendly, apart from Catherine, who can be quite terrifying.

    23 Dec 2008, 09:44

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