Thing 12: Making and sharing media

You will NOT need to make or upload a podcast or video to complete this thing, but this post should give you some idea of the tools available to do so. Please take some time to explore these tools and think about how they might be useful to you. If you’re feeling brave, we do encourage you to try them out – even if it’s only for a brief screen capture or a video to introduce yourself.

Making your own podcast or video can be fairly straightforward, and there are lots of free tools to make it easier and add bells and whistles. For now, we’ll deal separately with screencasts, which offer a video recording of action on a computer screen (with or without an audio track) and standard videos.

Screencasts

Screen capture tools allow you to make a video, often narrated, showing how to do something on a computer. They record your mouse as well as everything you click on and show on your screen. Screen capture is a great way for showing students, colleagues or a wider audience how to use an online tool.

There are a number of screencasting tools available, both free and for purchase. An example of this is Adobe Captivate, which has some great features, but it isn’t free. It certainly isn’t necessary to spend lots of money to make a good screencast, however, and we’ll cover a couple of free tools that do the job.

Some general tips:

  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Write a script and run through what you’ll be demonstrating in advance

Screencast-o-matic

Screencast-o-matic is fairly intuitive, so you can get started right away. You may want to create an account (so that you can store and keep track of your videos), and you can also watch a short demo that walks you through the recording steps.

To begin, press ‘Start recording’ on the top right. A frame will appear (make sure Java is enabled – if this is an issue then you can download an app); you can drag and resize this frame to suit your needs, and you’ll also see some options for size, etc. Once you’re ready, simply press the red button and go. If you don’t want to record anything, make sure you mute your computer’s microphone (otherwise you’ll get a lot of white noise).

When you’ve finished, press the ‘done’ button and choose where to upload your video

Jing
You can download a free version of Jing. You will get a ‘Sun Launcher’ button on your screen.

Hover over the sun and choose ‘Capture’. Click and drag to select a portion of your screen, and then release the mouse when you are happy with the image you have selected.

From here, you can do two things: 1) take a still screenshot or 2) make a video. You can annotate your screenshots with text or arrows. When you’re happy with what you’ve done, click the ‘save’ button.

Other free screencast tools:

Video and audio recordings

If you want to make an audio podcast, you just need a relatively modern computer and a microphone. Many computers have built-in mics that will do the job, although you may find that investing in an external mic is worth it for the improved sound (use a USB mic designed for the job if you want to avoid extra purchases like an external sound card). You can use any standard tool on your computer to record your sound; Windows Sound Recorder on Windows is free, and many Macs come with Garageband. You can also download a free tool like Audacity, which will also give you tools to clean your recording up a bit (this can be useful if you’ve made any mistakes or want to piece together parts from different attempts). The JISC-funded Steeple project has a great tutorial on Audacity.

If you want to do a video podcast, you’ll need a video camera. This could be a simple USB webcam or something more expensive; you can even use your smartphone. Again, you can use Windows Movie Maker or iMovie if you want to stick to free tools.

Publishing your video or screencast

You can put your video up on a video hosting site such as YouTube or Vimeo, and these are often the best place to start. Once you’ve uploaded a video there, it’s easy to grab a code snippet that allows you to embed your file in a blog, on WebLearn or on another website.

Other helpful notes

If you need copyright-appropriate images, clips or sounds/music to use in your podcasts, videos or presentations, there are some great search tools out there:

Further reading

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