Looking for ways to use video in our courses

Hey everyone,

One of the things we're trying to include in our courses this year is video. We purchased some small, Flip cameras for our on-site SMEs. Right now they're just getting familiar with the cameras, but we want to formalize the process for capturing video to use in our courses. Before we can do that, we need to know ways to use the video.

We know we want interviews with SMEs and some process videos demonstrating hands-on tasks. What we dont know is how to integrate those with regular e-learning.

Some questions from the team:

Do we use video only in certain courses?

Do we use video on one slide and text/graphics on the other?

Can we use video and text/graphics together on the same slide? ( I know video is always above text/graphics so not sure how we could use them together)

What are some creative ways others are using video in their elearning?

Specs and formats: what do we need to know?

I know that's a lot so whatever you can offer will be appreciated!

24 Replies
Carla Stewart

Boy, you weren't kidding -that's a big question! 

One way we've used video has been during times when we had next to no time for development. Video works really well in Presenter so we would film a talking head, 5-15 minutes, and go live with the footage. Now, those were times when things were moving too quickly to sit down and put appropriate dev time into projects.

But now days, we use video to bookend our courses. We use it at the beginning of each course and let the SME introduce the course and at the end as a conclusion. We track the views the videos are always watched a couple times in each course. I think people just like looking at other people.

So that got me thinking...how can I get the SMEs to inject some learning content into their opening and closing videos

Ardi Collins

We give FLIP cameras to all SMEs and often have them record their notes like they would giving a presentation. Our team then goes through the clips and pulls out the context that's often hard to get out of SMEs in formal interviewing.

Sometimes the clips are so well done we just use them in the course.

Robert Kennedy

If bandwidth is not a great issue, I like using them video for short intro, exit and in between cue clips.  I also like using them on the results slides in quizmaker...just as an encouragement.  NOthing like a live word of encouragement .  THere are lots of good ways to use video.  But my suggestion is short spurts seem to work better not only for user attention, but also for pre-loading and size considerations.

James Brown

Videos can quickly jump in size so you definitely need hard-drive space and bandwidth. However that honestly was not your question. You wanted to know what to use them for. The quick answer to that is self paced training to simply show how to accomplish a process. Basically a monkey see, monkey do type of scenario would be a good use. Here would be an example.

Say I wanted to show how to use a fire extinguisher. Yes I can do an image to show the steps, but why not show a video. However if I wanted an interactive exercise where I want the user to click through the steps at their own pace, i would most likely not use a video. However there is a new approach to videos that I have seen emerging and that is branching videos where the videos play to a point and then the user must decide in which direction they wish the video to proceed.

Example Videos

Saving Princess DOT

Interactive Date

Flash Example

Tea Cups

Documents

Branching Video PDF

James Brown

Just a reminder. If you do a video, you should always storyboard it. I found storyboards allow you to keep the message strait and to the point and give you an overall idea of the finished product. Plus it's a great way to see resources used for the creation of the project which is very handy when it comes time to project the overall budget costs.

Jeff ("JP") Redman

Slightly off topic, but related to when to use video is, my question, HOW to use video.

I use video frequently. Almost always to demonstrate how to do something... fill out a form, adjust fuel injection, hook up a smog check system, or frame a wall. That sort of thing works fine in the slide or in the display area at the upper left.

We would very much like to put video of a "host" moving around over the Powerpoint backgrounds and graphics into our Presentations. You know pointing to things or simply introducing concepts and then walking off camera and letting the graphics and audio take over, until they need to reappear to clarify a point or reengage people's attention.

But so far I am not able to find a way to do so. How do you create a "alpha key" aka transparent background in a video format that will drop into Presenter?

We do alpha keys in video all the time, but every time I try to use one of them in Presenter the background turns either black or white.

I am looking for a complete answer, not the usual "you just use AfterOurs to crumholtz the figgit and it drops right in."

Help will be appreciated.

David Anderson

Hi Jeff!

Did you see see this article from Knowledge Screen? http://www.articulate.com/blog/knowledge-screen-how-to-create-rapid-video-learning/ They share their process about mid-way through the article:

[quote]With good raw footage, the clips were processed using Adobe After Effects. Post production included:

– editing the footage
– chroma keying with Keylight
– boosting of the audio

The files were then outputted as FLVs using After Effects at “Million+ of colors” to preserve the Alpha Channel. We found rendering at 312kpbs for the video and 56 kpbs for mono audio produced the best quality without causing excessive loadtime between screens. We experimented with lowering the frame rate to 24fps but achieved no significant reduction in file sizes and stuck at 30 fps. The subsequent FLVs ranged in size between 1.5 and 5 Meg with a total file size under 60 Meg – much smaller than a comparable You Tube video. [/quote]

Here's a simple example I put together using some alpha characters. You can see the green matte around them. http://articulate-community.s3.amazonaws.com/david/TransparentPeople/player.html

Robert Kennedy

Found the post.  Here it is: http://www.articulate.com/forums/articulate-presenter/19331-video-transparent-background-possible.html.

In case it gets erased in the transition,

Hi JP,

There are many ways to create a video with transparent background.

First, you need to shoot green screen.

Second, you need to chroma key the fottage. You can use software from iMovie, to Final Cut, to Adobe Premiere and AFter Effects to make that happen. I like AFter Effects Chroma Keying features. Here is a tutorial that I used to figure it out: How to Use Chroma-Key on Adobe After Effects | eHow.com.

Last, you need to save to FLV with the Alpha Channel using the On2 VP6 codec. Go here: Creating Transparent Video with Adobe After Effects CS4 > Keying in After Effects. I couldn't find the tutorial I originally used. But if the link is complex, pretty much, after you have Chroma Keyed, Go to Composition>Add To Render Queue. Go to the Render QUeue, beside output module, click the dropdown and choose FLV with Alpha (this is CS5). Once you do that, click the FLV with Alpha link, and make sure that in the Video output section, it says On2VP6 under Format Options. Click OK. Then Click Render. It should save fine and now you should be able to import your transparent FLV file into Presenter. You might need to play around with the size & quality settings a bit to fit your bandwidth requirements. But that's the basic rundown. Hope that helps.

Robert

Jeff ("JP") Redman

Thanks everyone for the replies.

Specifically to David Anderson:

The "How to Create Rapid Video Learning" link did not help with the alpha keyed video. It has lots of interesting and useful info on other subjects, but was this very blog post I was thinking of when I said "you just use AfterOurs to crumholtz the figgit and it drops right in". BUT your other link is a perfect example of what I want to do and will be very helpful.

AND to Robert Kennedy:

This is exactly the kind of specific information I was looking for and it will be extremely helpful.

Now that you've all been so helpful, it's time for me to get to work.

Thank you all so much.

Shelly Cook

Chris Norton said:

Hey everyone,

One of the things we're trying to include in our courses this year is video. We purchased some small, Flip cameras for our on-site SMEs. Right now they're just getting familiar with the cameras, but we want to formalize the process for capturing video to use in our courses. Before we can do that, we need to know ways to use the video.

We know we want interviews with SMEs and some process videos demonstrating hands-on tasks. What we dont know is how to integrate those with regular e-learning.

Some questions from the team:

Do we use video only in certain courses?

Do we use video on one slide and text/graphics on the other?

Can we use video and text/graphics together on the same slide? ( I know video is always above text/graphics so not sure how we could use them together)

What are some creative ways others are using video in their elearning?

Specs and formats: what do we need to know?

I know that's a lot so whatever you can offer will be appreciated!

Circling back around to the FLIP cameras.  We have several circulating around our organization and although they are handy, it doesn't necessarily mean that the video is a quality video.  I'd love to mandate that anyone using a camera also be required to use a tripod, unless of course, the point of your video is to make everyone sea sick .  Another problem that we have is quality editing of videos and frankly, many of ours are simply too long.

Another tip is to use the video in the presenter box instead of taking up real estate on the slide.  It's pretty easy to manage the audio of the video and still have narration for the slide - you just have to know the timing.  Vidoes can be a great tool, but like with every thing else, there is a time and place to use them.

Shelly Cook

Seems like we used a FLIP camera recently that had the mounting screw place on the bottom of the camera...  I think our issue is the videomaker "thinks" they are holding the camera steady but it is clear that they weren't perfectly still when you see the footage.  I'm sure there are some filming experts out there who may disagree, but for our use (keep in mind the end product is usually takes up about 2"X3" on the screen, most of the $100-150 cameras work fine.

Believe me, our problem is generally not the quality of the camera, but the rookies (myself included) pretending to me Steven Spielberg that are the problem.

Robert Kennedy

@Adam & Shelly, I have used the Flip and it works just fine.  If you are concerned about audio quality extremely then you will want to make sure its quiet.  But, its really not bad for interview type stuff.  Yes, it does have the screw to mount to a tripod.  I ALSO purchased a Kodak zi8.  It shoots up to 1080p.  Now, you may be disappointed if you expect truly HD out of this pocket cam but it actually still shoots pretty well.  I actually used the Kodak the other day to do a green screen with my daughter and it came out superb.  The great about the Kodak as well is that it has an input for an external mic.  Unlike the flip, it uses an SD card that you can take out  so you don't have to plug in via USB, however it does also have a USB plugin like the Flip.  In some instances, I actually like the Flip picture better.  But for the price of these cameras, (both in the $160 range when I bought last year), I'm getting some really good work.  Let me know if you want to see a quick example or two of what I have recorded with these two cams.

BTW, love the Steven Spielberg reference, Shelly.

Robert Kennedy

@Adam, The Kodak has both an internal mic and a 1/8 inch connector for an external mic.  I bought a cheap wireless lapel mic from Radio Shack and it actually does pretty decent.  Really sensitive though.  Would prob be better if I actually invested in a decent wireless/lapel.  I will PM you a couple examples a little later.

Ranjana Verma

Hi Chris,

I am presently designing an e-learning course based on a long and boring interview shot on a kitchen table with two talking heads.

Here are few answers to some of your questions about the use of video:

I broke the long interview into smaller clips, I used Final Cut Express to edit the video.

I am bringing smaller sized clips where appropriate for the e-learning

So far I have placed the videos as a web object, or in Quiz Maker where I wanted to include text on the same slide and wanted the user controlled Play or Pause of the video.

Hope this was helpful.

Specs and formats: what do we need to know?