Category Archives: audio

Online Video Conversion Tools

I have mentioned video media conversion tools before, but most of them have been applications. These are fine for example if you have the right computer (you need a Mac for VisualHub) or you have administrative rights to install the software on your Windows computer (which in institutions is generally not the case).

So if you can’t install a conversion tool on your computer, how do you convert video files, well I have been looking at online video conversion tools for a while now.

The one I have used and found the results work well on mobile devices is Media-Convert.

Media Convert

It’s quite simple, you upload a media file from your computer, and an online conversion converts into the file format of your choice. It can handle a large number of file types including text and audio as well as video, and has a range of possible output file types.

It can be used to create PDF files which is handy.

The user interface could be better, it is covered in Google ads, but it is free and they need to make money somehow.

I was impressed with the quality, I took a large Quicktime movie and converted it into an MP4 file that could be used on my Nokia N73, and the conversion was done very well.

I was recently told about another online media conversion tool, Zamzar, however the site is populated with pop-ups and you also need to enter an e-mail address which smacks to me that my e-mail might be harvested and passed onto third parties.

BBC Review Four Wifi Media Players

The BBC has published a review of four of the top wifi capable media players currently on the market.

The Sony PSP, the Nokia N800, the Archos 605wifi and (of course) the Apple iPod touch.

Gadget lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to portable media players, with an increasing number offering web access through wi-fi connections. We take a look at four different players – Sony’s PSP Slim, Archos 605wifi, Nokia’s N800 and the Apple iPod touch – and assess their strengths and weaknesses in different categories.

Their winner, well it’s only fair that you check out the article, but it doesn’t surprise me.

Adding and embedding audio into PowerPoint

In a recent post I mentioned about embedding audio into a PowerPoint presentation which you wanted to share or distribute (say on a VLE).

This is proving to be quite a popular post, but I did think that some people may be looking at it on how to add audio to a presentation in the first place.

You can add audio clips to a presentation or record audio for use in the presentation. You can even play a track from a CD, though you will not be able to embed a CD audio track.

To add audio to a PowerPoint presentation (this is using PowerPoint 2003) from the menu.

Insert > Movies and Sounds > Sound from File…

Adding and embedding audio into PowerPoint

Continue reading Adding and embedding audio into PowerPoint

Archival Audio Recordings

A new source of music and audio recordings which can be used for educational purposes is the British Library Archival Sound Recordings.

The Archival Sound Recordings service is the result of a two-year development project to increase access to the Sound Archive’s extensive collections. When complete, it will make 3,900 hours of digitised audio freely available to the Higher and Further Education communities of the UK.

Part of the JISC Digitisation programme there is a lot of audio and music..

music

Note you need to be licensed to hear and download the clips, but it is free to FE colleges (and HE Institutions) to get licensed.

Embedding audio into PowerPoint presentations

If you have created a PowerPoint presentation and added some audio files, say an audio track or a recording from the British Library Archival Sound Recordings collection you may find when you upload the presentation to a website or your VLE that the audio files are now “missing”.

This is because PowerPoint has an option that for files bigger than a certain size it will link to them rather than embed them. This is fine if you play the presentation from your laptop or computer, but rather annoying for a learner who has downloaded the presentation from the VLE and is attempting to play the presentation at home.

In PowerPoint 2003

Tools > Options > General Tab

Embed files screenshot

Link sounds with file size greater than <insert a number which is larger than the size of the audio files being used>

I tested this on our Moodle VLE and it worked a treat. I would guess that later and earlier versions of PowerPoint have a similar option.

Policy for filtering

I have heard that quite a few institutions are blocking or thinking of blocking mp3 files. The reasoning that “all mp3 files must be pirated songs and thus violating copyright and therefore should be blocked”.

I am assuming they also block other audio formats such as

AAC
WAV
OGG
MOV
WMA
AIFF
TTA
FLAC

In my opinion, filtering should be based on the content not the file type.

A blanket filter makes life easier for administration and creates problems for other users.