Tag Archives: quicktime

Top Ten Blog Posts 2018

This year I have written only 17 blog posts, in 2017 it was 21 blog posts, in 2016 it was 43 blog posts, in 2015 I wrote 24 blog posts. In 2014 I wrote 11 and in 2013 I wrote 64 blog posts and over a hundred in 2012. In 2011 I thought 150 was a quiet year!

Do signs work?

The tenth most popular blog post in 2018 was asking So do signs work? This article from 2013 described some of the challenges and issues with using signage to change behaviours. So do signs work? Well yes they do, but often they don’t.

The post at number nine was my podcast workflow, published in 2011, this article outlines how and what equipment I use to record the e-Learning Stuff Podcast. This is only one way in which to record a remote panel based podcast, and I am sure there are numerous other ways in which to do this. I have also changed how I have recorded over the two years I have been publishing the podcast due to changes in equipment and software. It’s probably time to update it, though I am not doing as much podcasting as I use to.

Dropping three places to eighth was 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip. This was a post from July 2011, that looked at the different comic tools out there on the web, which can be used to create comic strips that can then be embedded into the VLE. It included information on the many free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet out there. It is quite a long post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE.

The post at number seven, climbing one place, was Comic Life – iPad App of the Week. Though I have been using Comic Life on the Mac for a few years now I realised I hadn’t written much about the iPad app that I had bought back when the iPad was released. It’s a great app for creating comics and works really well with the touch interface and iPad camera.

Sixth most popular was a post from 2018, called “I don’t know how to use the VLE!” This blog post described a model of VLE embedding and development. This post was an update to the model I had published in 2010.

In at number five, is also a post from 2018, Why does no one care about my digital strategy? This post described some of the background to the leadership briefing I wrote with Lawrie Phipps on the digital lens.

digital lens

Holding at fourth, is Can I legally download a movie trailer? One of the many copyright articles that I posted some years back, this one was in 2008, I am still a little behind in much of what is happening within copyright and education, one of things I do need to update myself on, as things have changed.

Dropping one place back to third, was Frame Magic – iPhone App of the Week, still don’t know why this one is so popular!

FrameMagic - iPhone App of the Week

Back in 2015 I asked I can do that… What does “embrace technology” mean? in relation to the Area Review process and this post was the second most popular post in 2018, last year it was in sixth place, so it’s getting more popular.

Once again, for the sixth year running, the number one post for 2018 was the The iPad Pedagogy Wheel.

The Padagogy Wheel

I re-posted the iPad Pedagogy Wheel as I was getting asked a fair bit, “how can I use this nice shiny iPad that you have given me to support teaching and learning?”. It’s a really simple nice graphic that explores the different apps available and where they fit within Bloom’s Taxonomy. What I like about it is that you can start where you like, if you have an iPad app you like you can see how it fits into the pedagogy. Or you can work out which iPads apps fit into a pedagogical problem.

So there we have it, the top ten posts 2018.

Some more Screencasting

I have written and spoken before on this blog about screencasting. Three years ago I went through some of the possible applications that you can use on the Mac for screencasting. This is a bit of an update to that post and added ideas on screencasting for Windows.

Last year I posted a video on how to use the free online service Screenr. Screenr is a very clever free service that I use a lot for demos and training. However it is limited to five minutes, you need to ensure you get a perfect “take” as you can’t edit the resulting screencast and one further downside is that it is public, though it is possible to “quickly” download the Screenr recording as an MP4 file and then then delete the online screencast!

JISC Digital Media have a lot of resources on screencasting including tips and advice. I embedded their 6 Quick Wins presentation into the blog a few weeks back.

I also recorded a podcast with Gavin and Zak from JISC Digital Media in which we discussed what is screencasting, what can you do with screencasting, what tools are there for screencasting, top tips on making screencasts and delivery of your screencasts.

In Snow Leopard and Lion it is now possible to record screencasts using the built in Quicktime tool.

However as with Screenr you need to ensure you get it in one take, or stitch smaller videos together.

For a little more flexibility than the whole screen you get with Quicktime, another application IShowU gives you a few capture options, such as ½ or ¼ size. It also allows you to capture part of the screen, whereas Quicktime captures the whole screen.

iMovie on the Mac, which is usually used for video editing can be used to edit screencasts from recordings made from Screenr or Quicktime (or any of the other tools too).

One tool that I know a lot of people use for Windows is CamStudio.

CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)

CamStudio can also add high-quality, anti-aliased (no jagged edges) screen captions to your recordings in seconds and with the unique Video Annotation feature you can even personalise your videos by including a webcam movie of yourself “picture-in-picture” over your desktop.

It’s open source and free to download.

One tool I do use for Windows is Captivate. This is very powerful software from Adobe that allows you to not only capture what is on the screen, but also edit the capture afterwards, add further audio, more screen capture and add captions. The main difference I feel with Captivate is that it is less reliant on making the screencast as a pure video file. You can add interactions and even quizzes to turn a simple screencast into a learning tool.

For the Mac I use Screenflow and this has been recently updated to version 3.

Get your video on the web with Telestream ScreenFlow screencasting software. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, microphone and (with optional components) your computer audio. The easy-to-use editing interface lets you creatively edit your video; add additional images, text, or music; and add transitions for a truly professional-looking video. The finished result is a QuickTime or Windows Media movie, ready for publishing to your Web site, blog or directly to YouTube or Vimeo.

Use ScreenFlow to create high-quality software demos, tutorials, app demos, training, presentations and more!

Again one of the reasons for using Screenflow is that you can go in and edit the screencast, add more screen capture if needed, annotations, captions, subtitles. You can add audio, stills and video to enhance the screencast. You can also capture video at the same time, to add a picture in picture to your screencast.

If you rarely make screencasts then spending £70 on Screenflow is probably not good value for money. However if making screencasts is something you do on a regular basis and you have a Mac then I can recommend Screenflow as a useful and powerful tool.

Camtasia is another tool that is available for both Windows and Mac. Though for some reason the Mac version is much cheaper than the Windows version!

Create eye-catching training, presentation, and demo videos…the easy way. Camtasia for Mac screen recording software is streamlined, intuitive, and makes you look like a pro.

Easily record onscreen activity, Keynote slides, camera video, microphone or system audio—all with sparkling clarity. Record in front of a live audience or at your desk. Edit to perfection. Turn it into a stunning, HD-quality video at the perfect size to share on popular video sites, Apple devices, your website, blog, or anywhere you like.

A very similar tool to Screenflow and one that I know is used by a lot of people, especially on the Windows platform.

There are many ways in which screencasting can be be used to support learning and having covered some of the tools in this blog post, I hope to cover some of the ways in which it can be used in a future blog post.

Can I legally download a movie trailer?




Disclaimer: ALL information containing in my post is for informational purposes only and should never be construed as legal advice. For proper legal advice you should consult a lawyer.

Imagine the scenario if you can, you are a Media Studies teacher. You wish to use some movie trailers in a classroom session, so that the learners can analyse the content and structure of the trailers and compare the features and similarities between each one.

Now you could use a computer suite and each learner could access the relevant movie site and view the trailer online. However this doesn’t really help as the video plays once and sometimes you want to see part of the trailer again and again. Now if only the learners could download the trailer, or even better could the teacher download the trailers and make them available to all the learners via a local network server, so enabling fast and easy access.

Well technically this is possible, however is it legal?

Can I legally download a movie trailer?

There are many tools available online which allow you to download videos from sites such as YouTube (usually through a Firefox extension or similar). They basically “scrape” the code for the video link from the website and then download the video file, providing you with a Flash based FLV file, some tools will convert this on the fly into an AVI or WMV if required.

However this article makes for interesting reading on the legality of doing this.The website in question (which is quite a respected tech blog) had given instructions on how to use video downloading tools to download streaming video from a site such as YouTube.

From the article YouTube states quite clearly that:

Currently, YouTube is a streaming-only service. We do not permit users to download the videos we host on our site. We believe our Terms of Use are clear on this point, but in light of the confusion which came to our attention today we are considering revisions to our Terms of Use to avoid any further confusion. It is important to many of our users who have uploaded and licensed content to YouTube that their content is authorized for streaming-only.

If a site streams a video to you, generally you don’t have the right to download that video as they are only making the video available as a stream.

Media-Convert.com which I have mentioned before, use to do this via it’s web based video conversion service, enter the YouTube URL and before you could say “is this legal” you would have a video in the format of your choice. They were soon stopped from doing this.

So downloading a streamed Flash based video is not an option, what about Quicktime based trailers from the Apple website?

For personal use, I can use Quicktime Pro on a Mac (and on Windows as well). What Quicktime Pro allows you to do is to save a Quicktime video to your hard drive. Once the trailer has loaded onto my computer in the browser I can save a copy to my hard disk for later viewing. I can even download the 1080p HD versions which look very nice even if they don’t fit on my computer screen as it’s too BIG.

Quicktime Pro is not the free video viewer but the paid for upgrade, which is about £12 per license for educational users (it’s £20 for “normal” individuals). There are other things you can do with it as well, I use it for making video and audio recordings on my Mac for example. I have also used it to trim audio recordings and some of the export functionality does make life easier…

Note the term “personal use”, most film trailers online are only available for personal use only. I would be surprised by any movie site which would allow a teacher to download movies for use in the classroom.

Apple in their terms of use for example make it quite clear what you can and can not do with any trailer you download from their website:

…no Content may be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, publicly displayed, encoded, translated, transmitted or distributed in any way (including “mirroring”) to any other computer, server, Web site or other medium for publication or distribution or for any commercial enterprise, without Apple’s express prior written consent.

This would mean downloading and distributing it to students in a classroom situation would be viewed as illegal unless you had the permission of the movie trailer copyright owner.

Similar guidance is available on most other movie sites I checked. For example on Warner Brothers website is says:

You may access and display Material and all other content displayed on this Site for non-commercial, personal, entertainment use on a single computer only. The Material and all other content on this Site may not otherwise be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted, distributed or used in any way unless specifically authorized by WB Online.

You could write and ask for authorisation and permission, sometimes this may be given, more often than not it won’t.

Legally students could download their own individual copy for their own analysis. However this may not always be possible, especially if you have network congestion or a slow internet connection.

So is there a solution, well yes, if you go for an alternative solution which is forgot online and go back to broadcasting.

Now an easier way would be to digitally record the trailers from the TV and use digital copies of them. You won’t even need an ERA licence, as the ERA does not cover adverts from the TV. Though if the trailers are part of say a film programme then these programmes probably are covered by the ERA licensing scheme and appropriate action should be taken accordingly.

However if it is an advert, under the Copyright Act you have a statutory right (therefore can not be taken away from you) to show recordings of TV broadcasts for educational purposes.

From the ERA website.

Are there broadcasts I can’t record under the ERA Licence?

Yes, only broadcast material owned or represented by ERA Members is licensed through the ERA Scheme for off-air recording. This means that some contents of certain broadcasts and material included in them, such as advertisements, are not covered by the Licence because ERA Members do not own or control the rights in them.

However, if you record these broadcasts for non-commercial educational purposes, your recordings in the ways relevant to the ERA Licence 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).

Also worth look at the ERA restrictions as well.

I have made recording just like this using an EyeTV device on a Mac (I have also used a Windows Media Centre as well, but never again…) I just set the video to record for a few hours (takes GB of space mind you) and then go through the adverts until I find the one I want (or one that’s similar). For movie trailers I would recommend recording the adverts during film programes on ITV or Channel 4, or during films.

If you do have an ERA licence then recording film programmes will help, as some of these will have trailers in them.

My Elgato EyeTV device captures from Freeview so I get a really good quality digital video file, it’s roughly the same quality as DVD. The editing tools make life really easy well to trim and edit the video you need. There are Windows TV Capture devices, some of them are just small USB sticks which slot into any USB port.

Though there are legal barriers that are getting in the way of the learning here, there are also solutions as well.

Photo source.

Video on the VLE

I have over the years looked at how we can store and use digital video to support and enhance learning. Generally small video clips seem to work better online (just look at the success of YouTube) rather than whole programmes.

Though having said that I am currently enjoying the BBC Archive trial and the BBC iPlayer beta and on both of those I am watching full length programmes. However I am watching it for entertainment rather than educational – raises another question, is there a such a stark difference between entertainment and learning these days?

We are storing video clips we use on the VLE (we use Moodle) using the Flash Video format. Though some staff are using YouTube or TeacherTube.

Our Flash video generally streams “okay” both inside and outside the college.

I have found that using Quicktime H.264 encoded files results in a similar file size, but much better quality. This was particularly evident with the Italian Language programme I used as my example, where the audio was out of sync with the video when using Flash video which would have proved difficult for language students to follow the foreign language.

h.264 video

However it does require that the client have Quicktime installed and though this is a free download for users outside the college, the Quicktime player we have installed on college machines is not capable of playing H.264 content.

The main advantage of encoding H.264 was the time it took to encode the files. Though quality and final file size were also advantageous.

To encode a 15 minute MPEG2 Freeview recording took around 15 minutes on my iMac.

To encode the same 15 minute MPEG2 recording as a FLV file took about five to six hours… and then I needed to create a Flash object which contained the FLV video file.

We now have a 15 minute limit on files just because anything longer will take too long to download. For those video recordings/files we put them on DVD and allow the students to view them via a DVD player.

Longer term for larger videos we are aiming to have a media/video server, but this will be mainly aimed at streaming internally.