Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Need help with video

I have dipped my toe in the pool of video making. I have several faculty members who will be using Second Life this semester and a request was made to produce a few “how to” videos the instructors can assign their students the first week of school. This way, when we meet as a group the second week they will be well on their way.

The first video to make is obviously how to sign up for an account. I’ll follow that up with how to change your password, how to down load the application to a computer (or flash drive), and how to navigate the start of NMC’s Orientation Island.

I’ve never made a machinima or video like this before. I’ve toyed around with doing it, but never actually tried to make a real nice one. So today, I set down to make a video of how to sign up for your account.

Here is the result:

This is what I did to create this video.

First, I downloaded Snapz Pro, the 14 day free trial, and shot the sign up process. I then imported the resulting .mov file into iMovie. I created the introduction, added the titles, music, sound effects, and then saved it. Then I SHARED it as a QuickTime file and saved that to my desktop. That is what I uploaded to YouTube.

The first time I did it I used the WEB option, but that was SO small, and unreadable, so I then saved it as WEB STREAMING. You see the result. The only other option I saw was “ORIGINAL”, which would have made the file too big to upload to YouTube.

I don’t know why it is so fuzzy. Any help anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. We really need it to not be fuzzy and I have more to do for classes to start next week.

It would be useful to the community to post your comments here; however, if you’d prefer, you are welcome to email them to me directly.


Barbara (Grinn Pidgeon, SL) said...

1. On the SnapzPro, in the first window that shows up, did you select a framerate of 30?
2. from iMovie (the newer version, looks like a star) did you Share to the MobileMe gallery? or you could Share--Export using Quicktime. That's what I usually did, but you need QT Pro. You can see a few of my (very amateur) videos here: http://gallery.mac.com/barbarap2#gallery

Barbara (Grinn Pidgeon, SL) said...

P.S. those videos in my MobileMe gallery take a long time to load.


Robin Ashford said...

I'm not a pro on YouTube or videos or anything but I've played around on my mac with iMovie too. On one of my videos I failed to compress it before uploading to YouTube and the quality suffered. Perhaps the fuzziness is related to that?

I am teaching an into to 2nd life course for grad education students and faculty this semester as well. I am playing around with Jing Pro and working to create some very short 1-2 min SL tips for my group.

Jing Pro also allows one to upload to YouTube now but there is a bug with using a mac that affects the audio sync. But once that is fixed it may be worth taking a look.

(You can also upload for free to screencast.com which works with Jing and share a link to it that way.)

Good luck with your faculty! -Robin

Alan said...

That's so neat AJ you are making a video for using our site, nice favor!

Your fuzziness has less to do with compression then how it is shot. You need to shoot in more "close-up mode"

You have some challenges since you are shooting something that looks like full screen resolution (on the order of 1024x768 or 1440x900) yet when video gets compressed it is going to be less than 1/2 to maybe 1/3 of that. You cannot expect YouTube video to capture all the detail you see when looking at your screen.

The usual approach is to only capture a much smaller portion of the screen; I don't use SnapZ, but do use iShowU which has an option to set a sub portion of the screen that is in the "frame", so you will essentially have a much more zoomed in view than you tried.

Another approach, since this is voice over screen, might just be to use a series of screen capture stills (much closer views of the sections of the form) and record and audio, import to iMovie, and sync it to the stills.

Or... I've done a few screen casts using FlowGram (http://www.flowgram.com/) which actually lets you capture "live" web pages (links are functional) that you record a voice over to match.

For anything you create in iMovie, you want to upload to YouTube a much higher quality version than what the simple share options offer. If you upload a 320x240 video, YouTube is going to squash the quality and render it even worse since the frame size is larger.

I've done a few ones in iMovie for YouTube, and you pretty much want to have QuickTime Pro, and use its expanded feature (the "expert" settings when you share), to save as MPEG4 or MP4, and I save it as a 640x380 size. This will get you better video when "YouTubed" and provides the "high quality" version on the movie page.

Al Tucker said...


The ability to zoom in to certain areas of the screen might help visually clarify key points. You can set your Mac to do this using the universal access settings in system preferences.

Under the seeing tab - choose ON for zoom. Then you will be able to zoom in and out using command-+ or command-minus shortcut keys. Barbara's framerate will help with the overall quality.

AJ said...

A few updates. I've tried Jing, not the pro yet, but I like Snapz better. I've had problems with Jing in the past in regards to the format the end result comes out it.

I went back into Snapz, upped the frame rate to 30, make the area to record smaller, and re-recorded.

Important the .mov file into iMovie and its still really fuzzy!


Chris said...

The quickest and easiest, high quality screencast I've done is with Jing uploading to screencast.com. It does have a five minute limit (not altogether a bad rule of thumb anyway), and the free screencast account has very limited bandwidth.

We're going to be doing something similar in the very near future; we're planning to leverage Torley's videos first and then fill in the gaps.