ALT Webinar: Video on a Shoe String

ALT Webinar: Video on a shoestring, 15 October 09

Archive available in the ALT Open Access Repository


Rob Hubbard


James Clay


Example videos:

Rob Hubbard filmed these on a MacBook Pro camera with a desk lamp and used Photobooth and Garage Band – it was all done in three hours.


Used external microphone and sync both together – audio is a common problem.

Mp3 recorder can record audio separately

A blue tooth microphone is useful for speakers who want to walk around a room eg. in lectures.

Cameras:  sanyo xacti  ca9, which costs around £220, is a good all round camera – robust, waterproof, MP4 format. The downside is that it’s automatic. Therefore, can be useful in learning activities.

Sony HDR XR520, costs around £750 – Can take 4 days of video and has an extended battery.

iPhone G3S allows automatic upload to YouTube

Nokia N95  allows live broadcasts  – can set video on camera and auto stream to web and can upload on web too.

Tricaster (£15000 + cameras!) allows live streaming – connect the device you want and it will be recorded as a digital file.

A green screen  allows you to add a background in afterwards:

LiteRing (available from reflecmedia)


iMovie for editing, which can export to a wide range of formats.

Also Soundforge and Goldwave

Adobe Premiere is useful if you haven’t got a Mac with iMovie and also windows movie maker.

On Screenr you can create instant screen casts for Twitter It si also possible to save as an mp4 and add easily into iMovie.

Jing and screentoaster are free screencasting software.

Media Convert converts most audio formats to or from mp3.

YouTube converts just about any format to Flash – but it doesn’t like you uploading Flash format videos.

Zamzar is another free encoder.


Keep camera rolling, have a shot list, tilting and transitions add gloss, music transforms the piece but shouldn’t be intrusive.

Always film to the highest quality as this provides more options later.

Match your exported file format to your audience.

Avoid zooming when recording and the pointless slow pan.

Don’t encourage people to act up for the camera – natural is best!

Use a tripod, make sure you have adequate lighting (outside is always best).

Placing of the camera is important – don’t point the camera at a window.

Avoid transitions and special effects (unless intentional). Be consistent.

A key thing to remember with video is that it’s not the equipment that’s most important –  it’s the actual filming.

To avoid the problem of lecturers walking in front of the whiteboard markers can be put down.

It’s important to consider the accessibility of videos and include options such as subtitles and transcripts.

The Guardian guide to making video

BBC Good Shooting Guide – The Basics

Further guides also available from Films for Learning

JISC Digital Media contains introductory guides aimed at education users.

Rob Hubbard recommended the book “Get Started in Short Filmmaking” by Chris Patmore

Remember to get filming permissions by asking participants to sign a rights release form and then store with video.

When using video in presentations it tends to work better with Keynote (on a Mac) and not PowerPoint.

Always check rights before uploading to a third party site.

Video sharing/ Distribution

Vimeo is good quality and has no adverts (unlike YouTube) and has a password protected option

Also Jamendo, iStockphoto and Sounddogs are useful for free music, sound effects and music available under Creative Commons.

Advance search for images on Flickr (James Clay)

James Clay recommended incompetech as a great source of royalty free movie style music.

On YouTube it is easy to share and embed videos, but quality can be an issue.  RSS feed of videos, which can be distributed to other sites.

On WordPress and Videopress the quality of video is maintained.

Pixorial enables you to edit your own videos online.

The Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) is a unique collaborative approach to encouraging, supporting, expanding and promoting mobile learning.

James Clay uses Ustream for streaming video from the computer to the web.

File types

Mpeg4 is good compressor for video.

AVCHD – 720P, MPEG4 for exports (depending on your audience), WMV

Advantages of using video media in learning

To share knowledge, show demonstrations, practical, assessment, role play, case studies.

When videos are made available on the VLE students can review it again and again.

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