Monday, 10 August 2015

Thing 9: Video

When it comes to video recording technology, there are many options for capturing, editing, sharing and watching these days. In Thing 9: Video, I will describe some of the technology available for you to use. In particular, I will introduce you to screen capturing and sharing on YouTube.

Hardware/software options

Your choice of equipment will vary depending on personal preference and the tools you have available to you. Most smartphones, tablets and many computers now have video cameras built-in, so there is a good chance you already have the hardware you need. To complete the activity in this Thing, however, a normal desktop computer connected to the internet will suffice.

Editing options

If you are capturing video on your mobile device, there is a good chance that it has video editing software built-in. As everyone's device will be different, I will focus on editing videos on a platform that we can all freely access: YouTube. In the sections below I will show you how to add subtitles to your YouTube video. These are a great asset to have, especially if your viewer has any hearing difficulty and/or they are in a quiet area where they cannot turn up the volume. The good news is, adding subtitles is very easy in YouTube.

Sharing options

Social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus allow us to upload and share video content either with a selected group, or to the wider public. For truly global sharing, however, a platform such as YouTube or Vimeo is the best route. This means that your video can be published beyond the set of people in your immediate network.

Of course, let's not forget about email! You can copy and paste a link to any YouTube video and send it in an email too. Sometimes, if your target audience is a small or very particular group, emailing your video might make way more sense than publishing it to the whole world.

Decide on the context of your video and then choose the most appropriate manner to share it.

YouTube or Vimeo?

There are pros and cons, as usual, when choosing a video sharing platform. On the one hand, YouTube is completely free, but places adverts on your videos. Vimeo does not do adverts, but for a completely ad-free experience on Vimeo you have to pay for their "plus" upgrade (Currently about €50 per year).

The advertisements are really the only restriction that YouTube has in place: all the advanced statistics, editing and video management functions are completely free. For equivalent functionality in Vimeo, you will have to pay for the upgrade. To help you choose a platform for hosting your videos, have a look at the following link:

YouTube vs Vimeo comparison

In keeping with the ethos of Rudai23 providing free training using free tools, I will be focussing on YouTube only with this Thing. If you choose Vimeo, the concepts in the rest of this post will be useful, but the exact manner of using the technology may differ slightly from YouTube.

Screen capture

Your task for this Thing will be to produce a short screencast. A screencast is a recording of your computer monitor which also captures all the movements of your mouse, any windows or tasks that you open and interact with and any audio sounds.

This kind is technology is very useful if you want to capture how to perform a task on your computer so that you can share it with colleagues or friends. For example - creating "how-to" videos for use in Information Literacy classes.

It can be used in any context, however, and you might find that it is a useful way to help out a friend/family member that is new to a particular piece of software or procedure on a computer. When your screencast has been captured, you can share it to YouTube, or simply email the video to the intended audience.

Which screen capture software should you use?

Again, I will give you a couple of options here, and then show you my preferred tool. If you want to have a look at a shortlist of options, have a look at this link. It is a 10-15 minute read, and you can consider it optional if you are short of time. I am very familiar with two of the tools described on that webpage, so I will share my thoughts with you on those.

The first is called Jing. This is a free tool, and it works by downloading a small application to your computer which you can then open whenever you want to record your screen. It is very simple to use, and is worth checking out. The downside to Jing is that with the free version, you are limited to a 5-minute long video. The free version also limits the file type of your video to a format that does not play on every device.

The second free option is Screencast-O-Matic. For this one, you can sign in to create a free account, which becomes a "host" for your recordings. With the free version, there is a limitation of having only one downloaded video on your computer at a time, so a free account to keep your videos is a good idea.

One major advantage of Screencast-O-Matic over Jing is that in the free version you get 15 minutes of recording time, and the video files can be saved in a more useful file format. Have a look at both of these options and see which one suits you best. My preference is for Screencast-O-Matic, simply because I feel that the 5-minute limitation with Jing is just too short. It might suit you just fine, though, depending on what you want to do.

Using Screencast-O-Matic

Using this software is very straightforward. You do not need to download anything, although there is an option to download the recorder if you wish to use it while offline.

Simply go to the Screencast-O-Matic website, create an account if you wish to keep numerous recordings, and click on the "Start Recording" button. This might prompt you to download the latest version of the software, but you can simply use the "Old Recorder v1.0" option......this will give you the exact same end result as the newer version, but it is a web-based app, rather than something you have to download to use.

To give you a quick preview of what the process looks like, take a couple of minutes to watch this video. Your next step is to just have a go at recording your screen and voice-over. Take your time to play around with how it works, and don't worry if you make a mistake: no one will see anything until you are happy to share your work.

When you have made your recording, you will have to decide what to do with it: the options are to either download it as an MP4 file, upload it to the Screencast-O-Matic hosting site, or send it directly to YouTube. All of these options are fine, but in the next section I am going to show you how to upload it to YouTube after downloading the MP4 file to the desktop.

If you want to, you can explore the option to upload it directly from Screencast-O-Matic to your YouTube channel, if you already have that set up. It is quite self-explanatory, so give it a go if you wish.

Sharing to YouTube

In Thing 1 (Blogging), you were introduced to Google Apps, and YouTube is another application owned by Google. If you already have a Google Account, then getting up and running with YouTube is very simple. If you do not have a Google Account, but want to use YouTube to publish your videos, then you will need to create a Google Account first. This video from Thing 1 will show you how to do this, if you have not already done it.

In the screencast below (recorded using Screencast-O-Matic), I will show you the process of how to upload your screencast to your YouTube account, and how to perform some basic editing. When the edits are done, the video can then be published. This will form the basis of the task part of this Thing.

There are many more advanced video editing tools in YouTube, and I will link to some of those in the "want to know more?" section below.

Your Tasks for this Thing 

  • Record a screencast, it doesnt have to be very long - 2 minutes will suffice.
  • Upload it to YouTube and share the link to it in your blog
  • Have a go at adding subtitles if you want to. 
  • Write a blog post about using using video, do you think it could be useful?

If you are recording your screencast at work and/or you do not have a microphone, you should simply record it without sound anyway. In the "want to know more?" section below, I have shared a video with you that shows you how to add "annotation" to your video. This is a very simple process, and is a good way to get a written message onto your video if you cannot/did not record yourself speaking on the screencast.

Want to know more?

Conveniently, YouTube is a great place to find video tutorials on how to use YouTube! Some advanced edits that you may wish to look at and try out include adding annotation, music and/or embedding links to your video. Have a look at the links below if you want to know more.

Adding annotations to your video (especially useful for this weeks task if you could not record audio)

How to share your YouTube video

Overview of even more editing options


  1. I've managed to upload my video on to Youtube and even add a couple of annotations but when I tried to add subtitles it's not giving me the option of English (automatic) just English (UK) instead I have options to type the transcription myself or upload them from a file. Where am I going wrong?

    1. Hi Mairead,

      I have seen it happen in the past where the automatic option is not available. At times it has seemed almost random on my video screencasts (I have about 50 on my channel) whether the captions would work or not. I'm putting this down to Google, as I've always used the same technology, software (and voice!) for my screencasts.

      I did have a look at Google Support for the issue and this is what I came up with:

      "Even if you haven’t added captions to your video, YouTube may use speech recognition technology to automatically make captions available.

      Since these are automatically generated, the quality of the captions may vary from video to video. As the video owner, you can always edit the captions to improve accuracy, or remove them from your video if you do not want them to be available for your viewers.

      If your video does not have automatic captions, it could be due to one or more of the following reasons:

      *The language in the video is not yet supported by automatic captions
      *The video is too long
      *The video has poor sound quality or contains speech that YouTube doesn't recognize
      *There is a long period of silence at the beginning of the video
      *There are multiple speakers whose speech overlaps"

      All I can suggest for you to try, is have another go at making a screencast and upload that to YouTUbe and see if it works.

      Let us know how you get on.

      The Rudai23 Team

  2. Reading some of the blogs Wayne, and everyone loves this task, screencast o matic is a winner :)


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