Category Archives: video

Streaming video LIVE!

I am currently at the JISC RSC SW HE Conference in Bristol today. I am trying out a new video streaming service, Qik.

Qik allows you to stream live video to the internet from your phone. Qik also records and stores the video so you can view it later.

Both the live video stream and the recorded videos can be embedded into a web page or a blog post in a similar manner to Youtube videos.

Unlike Shozu which allows you to post a recorded video from a phone online, Qik allows you to stream the video live. So as you film, it is available online on the web.

It is similar to Ustream or Stickam, however those services generally use a computer to capture and stream the video, Qik uses a phone. I am using a Nokia N95 with a 3G data connection to do this and works quite well. The Nokia N95 also has wifi capability so you can use wifi if you have that connectivity available.

You can see all my Qik videos here.

BBC launches iPlayer for iPod touch and iPhone

The BBC launches a version of its iPlayer video on demand service for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch.

The BBC has launched a version of its iPlayer video on demand service for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. It is the first time the software has been available on portable devices. The software, which allows users to download programmes from the last seven days, will work over a wi-fi connection but not over the mobile network.

Read more.

I am really pleased to see this happen. I do use the (flash version) of the iPlayer on my Macs now and again to catch up with the odd BBC TV programme either I miss or my EyeTV misses.

This will allow me to catch up either at home or say over lunch at work (on our new learner wireless network).

Obviously from a licensing perspective we can’t use this within the college to show BBC programmes to learners, but this does now allow learners who have an iPhone or an iPod touch to watch the useful or interesting BBC programme on the iPlayer.

Connecting your PSP to a Projector or a TV or similar…

One of the new features of the 2000 series of the PSP is that you can now purchase an AV cable which allows you to watch video or view photographs through your TV (or through a projector if it has composite video inputs).

I recently got hold of a cable, it is available through Amazon, but initially I tried at my local Sony centre (well the PSP is a Sony product and it’s an AV cable and the store has lots of big tellies) well no luck there. Nor at Dixons (well dot Curry Digital’ish aren’t they called) in the end I tried Game and found one on the bottom shelf nearly hidden away.

At £12.99 it’s not expensive, but it’s not cheap either, but it does work very well.

Connecting your PSP to a Projector or a TV or similar...

Initially I tried the cable with one of those small portable Toshiba LED projectors and though I couldn’t get any audio it worked much better than I thought it was going to.

Then into a classroom with a projector, all our rooms at Gloucestershire College which have Activboards (which is virtualy all of them) as well as a computer also have an amp and speakers allowing you to play audio very easily in the classroom, so quickly connected to the AV cable to the video input and the amp and there was video form the PSP playing through the big screen.

Also tried PowerPoint slides saved as images which worked well, and a Keynote presentation saved as a movie file complete with audio track which worked even better.

One concern I did have was that there was a warning on the packaging that the PSP could only output in NTSC format only and of course here in the UK we use PAL, so when I got home I connected it to my TV, which is an older Sony CRT model and it worked really really well.

Overall I was impressed with the cable and the quality of the output. It certainly is one option for presenting audio and visual content through a projector or a TV and therefore useful not just for teaching staff in presenting learning resources, but also for learners with accessibility issues in accessing PSP content on a small screen.

Full Resolution Video on the PSP

If you have a PSP with firmware 3.30 or later you can now (much more easily) play full screen h.264 video.

Prior to firmware 3.30 adding video to a PSP was a bit hit and miss.

Full Resolution Video on the PSP

When I first got a PSP I was very disappointed with the quality of the video I encoded for it using either EyeTV or Toast, more so when I compared it to the demo video I had on the demo UMD disk which came with it.

It wasn’t for some time that I didn’t realise that the PSP did not support full resolution video from a Memory Stick.

You also had to convert the video to a specific MP4 format and importantly change the name to something unfamiliar like M4V01011 and then find the obscure \MP_ROOT\100MNV01\ folder. You were restricted to a 368 x 208 resolution. If you wanted a thumbnail you had to create a jpg file and then rename it as .thm all quite complicated though there were quite a few tools that allowed you to do this quickly and easily (I used Toast quite a bit). One problem was working out what video files  were what (easy on the PSP, more complex on a computer).

With the release of firmware 3.30 this changed.

Encoding full resolution h.264 video for the PSP is now possible, this means that you can use the full 480 x 272 resolution and the excellent quality and compression of h.264.

However when I started to encode video for a PSP with firmware 3.30 I did initially have a few problems.

I tried to encode some full resolution video using VisualHub and the in-built settings and then some settings from a forum. However in both instances the video would not play on the PSP.

I initially thought it was maybe because at the time I was using the trial version of VisualHub (which has a two minute limit). However using the default low res settings it encoded and played fine.

I even formatted the Memory Stick wondering if that would solve it, it didn’t.

So I encoded the video in the original pre 3.30 firmware specificiations. As I copied over the video to the \MP_ROOT\100MNV01\ folder when I noticed a Video folder in the root of the Memory Stick.

So I copied the full resolution video over to this video folder, and guess what, yes full resolution h.264 video on my PSP.

Really impressed with the quality.

Really impressed with VisualHub.

So if you have firmware 3.30 or later ensure that you use the PSP to format the memory stick and then you will have a video folder into which you can copy the video files without having to worry about any naming conventions and be able to have full resolution high quality video.

Digital Video Tools

At a recent HE Academy event I presented at I offered to provide a series of links relating to digital video and podcasting. Here are the digital video tools.

Windows Movie Maker

This is part of Windows XP (and Windows Vista) which allows simple video editing.

With Windows Movie Maker, you can use your computer to create and edit home movies with a few simple drag-and-drop moves. Then you can share your movies through the web, e-mail, your computer, or CD.

iMovie

Part of the iLife suite which comes pre-installed on every Mac. It is a quick and easy video editing application.

I have not used the latest version (part of iLife ’08) however it should be noted that this new version has a very different workflow compared to previous versions.

iMovie ’08 makes viewing and working with video as intuitive as enjoying your photos. A built-in library automatically organises your video, so all the clips you’ve captured and movies you’ve created are just a click away. With its revolutionary interface, iMovie makes it quick and easy to browse your library and create new movies. And iMovie is built for sharing. In just a few steps, you can add movies to your website, publish them on YouTube, and create versions for iPod and Apple TV.

I also mentioned Keynote which is the Mac presentation software, presentations can be saved as movies or can even be sent direct to YouTube.

VisualHub

An excellent tool for converting video into various different formats, very useful if converting video for mobile devices and Windows PCs, note this is Mac software.

VisualHub bridges the gap between numerous complicated video formatting standards, and people that just want to get the job done.

Roxio Toast

Primarily a DVD burning application, it also have video conversion functionality.

Media-convert

Online video conversion tool that doesn’t require you to install anything. I have also been recommended zamzar.com, however due to the plethora of pop-ups and the fact you have to give an e-mail address means that I for one would not use it.

YouTube

The infamous video website that allows users to upload and share their video.

TeacherTube

Like YouTube but for teachers.

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.

Nice selection of animated “how to” guides

Russell Stannard has posted a range of online animated guides that demonstrate various ways in which you can incorporate learning technologies into teaching.

These videos were created for teachers to help them to incorporate technology into their teaching. My own background is in teaching English, so some of the sites are specific to ELT and are grouped separately. The rest are for all teachers and there is also a section for those interested in more difficult multimedia products like Flash and Director.

The cover how to use iTunes, PowerPoint tips, creating blogs and many other things.

He has used Camtasia to produce the video guides. Personally I am a fan of Captivate which does a similar job, for those looking for a free tool, Wink is certainly one option which does work quite well.

Well worth a look.

Showing Digital Video Recordings

Here in the UK in order to show television recordings to your students you may need a licence, this is run by the Educational Recording Agency (ERA).

One thing I have found that a lot of people don’t realise is that the ERA licence only covers specific broadcasts from the following broadcasters.

BBC television and radio
ITV Network services (including ITV2 and ITV3)
Channel Four and E4
Five television
S4C

It does not include for example films or adverts or commercial radio.

However this is not an issue (except for labelling purposes) to quote the ERA:

However, if you record these broadcasts for non-commercial educational purposes your recordings will not infringe copyright, unless a certified Section 35 licence applies. This is because Section 35 (1) states that where works are not covered by a certified scheme, then educational establishments may reproduce and communicate them electronically on-site without infringing copyright. You will need to adequately acknowledge, i.e. label, any broadcast recordings you make under Section 35 (1).

So you can record adverts for showing for instructional purposes, or as one college I am aware of recorded The Terminator for a media lesson, without needing a licence.

Note to those who wish to hold digital recordings of tv shows, the ERA licence for ERA licenced recordings only covers the on-site computers and therefore you can not stream to students at home for example.

Digital recordings stored on-site, e.g. on an establishment’s central server, may only be accessed from on-site terminals. A suitable security or password protection system needs to be in place to ensure recorded material is not accessed by students at home or anywhere off-site, as this is not permitted under the ERA Scheme or any part of Section 35.

Usual disclaimer applies, all material in this posting is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. In all copyright matters, consult a legal expert or lawyer.