Thursday, 31 May 2012

Recording presentations

There seems to be a developing (or established) expectation in CSLLD that eLearning entails getting handouts and readings online, recording face to face presentations, and hosting online discussion forums. Hopefully we can move our creative imagination toward the ideas that the online learning environment is quite different to face to face, and simply replicating face to face formats into an online environment will not result in much progress toward new and effective practices.

That said, I was asked to record Glen Speering's talk about research, that he gave to the Preparation for School Leadership participants. Our wireless lapel microphone broke a few days prior, and the video cameras we have access to are either cumbersome and complex, not available when we need it, or not up to the task of recording good picture in situations of poor lighting. These all-too-familiar limitations of shared specialist equipment was a blessing in disguise for me though, as I was able to somewhat demonstrate more DIY techniques that I hope the presenters themselves will learn to do.


To produce a record of Glen's presentation, in a range of media so that people wanting access to the recordings have options according to their bandwidth and preference of use. Ie. a video file, an audio file, the presentation, a photo, and published on a popular publishing service (Youtube) and backed up on a reliable archive service (

The method:

  1. Before the day of the presentation I asked Glen to wear a shirt with a top pocket and a collar. 
  2. A moment before the presentation, I dropped my smartphone in his top pocket with the audio recorder going, and wrapped the headphones under his collar so that the microphone was close to his neck.
  3. While Glen was talking, I used my tablet to take a photo of him talking.
  4. At the end of his talk I "shared" the recording and photos to my Google Drive, using the Google Drive App.
  5. When I arrived back at the office, I asked Glen to share his slides with me on Google Docs. Unfortunately he created the slides with Microsoft Powerpoint, using presentation features that needed correction in Google Docs.
  6. After I had corrected the presentation in Google Docs, I exported each slide as an image file, creating an image stack.
  7. I imported that stack into Windows Live Movie Maker.
  8. The audio file format recorded by my phone (3GA) isn't recognised by Windows Movie Maker, so I used SuperC to change the format to WAV.
  9. After importing the WAV audio file to the video editor, I then matched each slide image to the audio by adjusting the duration of each slide.
  10. I then exported the video to Window's movie file (WMV) and uploaded it to Youtube, assiging a Creative Commons Attribution copyright license.
  11. I also then uploaded the video, the audio, the presentation and the photo file to, where they would be copied into open standard formats, and links would be available for each of the files to be downloaded from any other site. (Emma had to upload to Archive for me actually, because she is on CDU Network while I'm on NTG DET where the network settings prevent me uploading to Archive).
  12. Finally, I updated the Google Drive folder with the final copies, ready for moving into our local archive on DET shared drives and repositories.


Video on Youtube

Video, audio, presentation and image files, converted to open standard formats, on

MP3 Audio File (10 Meg)
Ogg Vorbis Audio File (4 Meg)
Windows Media Video file (43 Meg)
H264 MP4 Video File (28 Meg)
Ogg Theora video file (60 Meg)
PDF (165K)
JPEGs and Animated GIF video previews also available


It seems like a lot of work, but really, its less than if we used a professional camera and microphone. The recorder is in our pocket anyway, and the other tools are freely available to us wherever we may be, also making the method replicable. The real issue in my mind, is how to get us thinking creatively within these limitations. Low bandwidth, short attention spans when online, flexibility and re-usability, accessibility, and good practice in terms of simple replicable production, with good backup, and archival to open standard formats.


  1. Leigh,
    this is really excellent documentation of an event with some extra useful information -- BUT, it looks like there is a new problem for us to solve. YouTube seems to timeout after less than a minute into the presentation. This has been happening to me a bit lately -- do you think there are issues with DET monitoring or something else?

  2. Yes, it is DET.. and another reason we have to offer the alternatives such as downloadable files, audio only, or just the presentation.