Video - Multimedia Recording Studio

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This entry relates to Video.

'green room'

The Multimedia Recording Studio (‘the Studio’) is a self-service video and audio recording studio at the Sturt Campus available to all staff. The Studio offers green screen technology (hence its nickname 'Green Room'), where the presenter/s is filmed in front of a green wall (as per the image) which is replaced with a backdrop of your choice – PowerPoint presentation, images, video, websites (live) or even Skype or WebEx calls.

This room is easy to use and requires no post-processing of the video (other than simple trimming) as all the video mixing magic happens live during the recording.

Benefits of using the Studio

The Studio provides a professional look for video recordings by ‘immersing’ the presenter in the recording (like TV news weather presenters standing in front of the weather map), making it more visually appealing to the audience.

In learning and teaching, there are many benefits to providing online videos to students in FLO sites:

  • content or instructions are provided to students for review prior to face-to-face sessions, allowing for more interactive and collaborative tutorial/lecture time
  • recordings can be paused and reviewed as many times as needed, suiting different learning preferences and language competencies
  • provides flexibility to students in accessing learning and attendance requirements
  • provides rich visual media to explain concepts to students
  • videos are reusable for future delivery of other topics and/or to other audiences.

Planning tips for creating high-quality videos

To create high-quality video recordings:

  • consider chunking content into segments shorter than a standard lecture. If a concept takes longer to explain, find natural breaks and create multiple videos
  • motivate the audience by explaining what they will get out of watching the video
  • make sure your presentation has a beginning, middle and end (the flow of your ‘message’ is an important part of a recording), explain the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’, and if possible provide real examples to further support deeper learning 
  • consider adding questions or prompting reflections within your video. This gives the appearance of 1:1 dialogue, making the video more personal and possibly promoting deeper level thinking.
Creating and designing a video presentation

If using PowerPoint (or if you are going to demonstrate websites or explain specialist software), try to follow the following basic guides:

  • Set the aspect ratio of your presentation to 16:9 (widescreen mode) – this makes maximum use of screen real estate in the studio recording system. The older 4:3 ratio (originally intended for 35mm photographic slides) leaves ugly black bars down both sides of the final recordings and hence leaves less room for your text and graphics.
  • Slides need to be clear with sharp high quality images and limited amounts of words (this should already apply if the presentation was previously used in a lecture theatre live presentation). Complicated and busy slides overwhelm the audience.
In general, rules about PowerPoint slide design apply equally to green screen studio recordings:
  • Make your slide content look visually interesting, but keep slides neat, tidy and simple.
  • Use colour instead of just black and white – a good combination is dark blue backgrounds (with or without simple patterns or gradients) with yellow main titles, and white for remaining text. Always consider visually impaired audiences; try to make your backgrounds and text visually contrasting.
  • For readability ensure a minimum font size of 24pt – your final video may eventually be viewed on a phone (or even a watch) and small text font size will be impossible to read on such devices. Always test your final video on as many devices and platforms as you can.
  • Keep the look (background/fonts/font colours) consistent across all slides or screens in your presentation (limit yourself to just one background and one or two fonts overall).
Write a clear and concise script for your recording and then rehearse what you are going to say. Rehearsal will improve your performance, your video will appear more relaxed and natural, and you will be able to focus more on audience engagement, rather than just reading from your notes. It will also shorten the editing process later on (to remove outtakes and errors). Please note that the Studio does not have teleprompter/auto-cue technology.

If you are using resources in your recording that you did not create yourself, check whether they can be included in your recording and eventually republished in FLO (eg a YouTube clip cannot be recorded as part of a Studio video). If you need help deciding what may or may not infringe copyright, please contact the University's Copyright Librarian for guidance.

Book the Studio 

First-time use

We can arrange familiarisation sessions to discuss requirements regarding PowerPoint file styles, fonts, colours, clothing etc, and expected outcomes, including a brief training session on how to use the Studio. 

You can submit a Service One (FLO) request to arrange a familiarisation and training session. Your video does not need to relate to learning and teaching, although this is a common focus.

How to book

You can book the Studio using the Outlook calendar system (Room - U_STS_418_Multimedia_Recording_Studio).  Simply create an appointment in your own Outlook calendar and invite (or add by 'room') the Multimedia Recording Studio (Room – U_STS_418_Multimedia Recording_Studio). Check the room’s availability before sending the invitation using the Outlook calendar scheduler, as any attempted double-bookings are rejected. 

If on-the-day support is needed, please include a note with your booking.

You will receive a confirmation email once the booking is accepted.

On subsequent bookings of the studio, eLearning Support will record your Staff ID card number and arrange with Flinders Security that you can access  the room using your own staff ID proximity/swipe card. 

On the day

To access the Studio, you need to collect a swipe/proximity card from the eLearning support office, Sturt precinct, 4th floor, West 401. If the eLearning support team are out of the office at the time of your recording they will ask that you collect the swipe card the day before (or whenever is convenient). 

You will be required to sign out the swipe card, and sign it back in when you return it after your recording session.

If this was not your first booking of the studio, and if eLearning Support have recorded your Staff ID card number, you won't need to pick up a swipe card first - you can open the studio door using your own Staff ID card.

Arriving more than 15 minutes late for a booking may lose that booking and transfer the Studio time to another user – the Studio is in high demand. If you think you might miss your booking, please either adjust your booking in your calendar to a different date/time or delete the event from your calendar. This will send a cancellation email to the Studio’s calendar, making that date/time available to another user.

Go to the self-service recording Studio (Sturt South 418), tap the swipe card to open the door, and record your video/presentation. At the end of your recording session, take your recording on your USB storage device (and/or upload the video recording to FLO), and shut down the system. Return and sign in the key card to the eLearning support office (or to the College reception desk if the support office is unattended).

Technical support

As this is a self-service recording studio, on-demand technical support is not always available. If on-the-day support is needed, please arrange this with the eLearning support team when making your booking.

Before recording the video

Consider what you wear in the Studio and how that will look when immersed into your presentation backgrounds. Of course, do not wear green!  A bold single colour looks better on camera. Avoid patterns and thin stripes and also stark white, and do not wear lanyards or shiny jewellery that can rattle against the microphone, or reflect the green wall and hence be mistakenly chromakeyed. Wear clothing that contrasts with your slide backgrounds, so that you do not 'disappear' into the background.

Close down any other software programs on the computer you are not using during the recording to prevent pop-ups or audio interruptions (eg email notifications) – this can be an issue when trying to demonstrate/record websites.

Magnify the text size of the computer screen you are using as background to your recording whenever you can – webpages and Excel in particular.

If possible, learn and remember the short-cut key commands to navigate through your presentation during the video recording, and avoid going back to previous slides to re-explain a concept (students can review the video as many times as they need).

Good audio is crucial to engagement. Always check the microphone is working correctly before starting your recording. The Studio has no fixed room microphones, so if you do not attach one of the lapel microphones to yourself and switch it on, no audio will be recorded. Run the microphone cable under your clothing if possible to hide it from the camera and avoid getting tangled with your hands during your recording, and place the radio transmitter unit in a pocket/belt using the attached belt clip.

Place your phone on the floor or stool in the studio. Switch it off or to silent/vibrate mode.

Tips for recording  

  • The Studio camera is your connection to your audience – good camera interaction is important. 
  • Think about connecting and engaging with your audience through body language and expression. 
  • Make sure you maintain eye contact with the camera keeping your head still. It is distracting if your eyes are roaming. This is one reason why the Studio currently lacks a teleprompter/auto-cue, as you are tempted to look at the teleprompter/auto-cue screen rather than at the camera, which disengages the audience.
  • Show enthusiasm for your subject through facial expressions, voice and hand gestures and include humour where possible (making sure it is culturally inclusive).
  • Speak clearly at a consistent volume, and at a moderate speed.
  • Stay in position in front of the camera so that your audience can read your body language. Although moving back and forth across the stage can add to the entertainment value of your recording, try to avoid overusing this stage effect.
  • Use explanations of concepts that have worked well with your students in the past, preferably with strong and relevant visuals as support. 
  • You can use annotation and animation within your presentation to add to your explanations and the visual engagement.
  • When explaining or demonstrating websites or specialist software, move your mouse slowly and allow time to show hover hints or popups. The mouse cursor in your final video may end up being very small, so the added benefit of the Studio is that you can point to items on the wall 'behind' you with your hands.
  • If you muddle your words, start the sentence, or even the whole section or PowerPoint slide, again. You can edit the mistakes out later. When restarting, compose yourself and leave a few seconds of silence and no movement before starting speaking, to facilitate the editing process later on.
  • If you use a script, consider how you are going to read the script and maintain eye contact with the camera. Do not read large slabs of a script looking down at notes on the lectern etc. eLearning support staff can provide support in mimicking a teleprompter/auto-cue, but it is still better to be well rehearsed than rote reading multiple paragraphs of text from paper or screen.
  • An alternative to personally reading blocks of text is a text-to-speech simulator which you start 'talking' and then leave the stage (get out of shot) while the text is read, so there is nothing on the screen but the text being read. Once complete you step back into shot, and continue your presentation. This allows the audience to focus on the words, and not on you trying to read the text off a screen or piece of paper.
  • If recording two people conversing (for example an interview with an invited content expert), the presenters can alternate between looking at each other and the camera – this engages the audience as the 'third person' in the interview/discussion.

Edit the recorded video

Depending on the number of mistakes and outtakes in your raw video recording, you will need to allow some time for the editing and upload process. Editing can take 5-10 minutes for every one minute of the original video.

MyMedia (Kaltura) has a simple built-in editor that allows easy trimming of the start and end of a video to remove the bits where you are getting into position, and when you finish your recording and have to walk to the wall mounted control panel in the Studio to press the Stop button. Your video will look much more professional if you edit out these parts. If you need more extensive editing within a video, you may need to do so at your desktop PC using desktop video editing software such as Camtasia. Your local eLearning support team can provide training with Camtasia, but also see the TechSmith tutorials.

You do not need to be a perfectionist; if the video demonstrates passion and provides a clear explanation, students will understand and accept the odd word stumble, ‘umms’ and ‘errs’.

If you are not confident with the video editing process or software, review help guides and videos available before making changes to the original raw video. Always save your edits to a copy of the original file, never overwrite the original.

Always play back the entire final edited version of your recording before publishing to your FLO site to check for errors or glitches etc, and if possible, ask another person to review the final edited video before making it available to students on FLO.

Upload your video to FLO

Ensure your students can view/play your video via FLO from a variety of devices, platforms and browsers by uploading to My Media (Kaltura), then embedding your video within a FLO activity in your FLO site. Avoid using YouTube or other video streaming services to house your video, as they are out of our control and may not play on all platforms and personal devices, or may require special browser plug-ins or add-ons.

Take care where you put the videos within your FLO site. Make sure they are in a logical place and if online discussion or reflection is encouraged after viewing, then ensure students can easily access the location in FLO where this collaboration will occur.

Whenever possible, upload a PDF 'handout/notes' version of the presentation (PowerPoint etc) to the FLO site which students can download/print and/or use to add handwritten notes while viewing the video. 

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