Thursday, April 10, 2014

Make it so!

  It seemed so simple during the planning sessions.  Teachers would shoot video in their classrooms, upload the video clips to the web and then our PLAEA consultants would review the video clips.  As long as the teachers have access to a smart phone or an iPad, it should be easy as pie.  Shoot, upload and view.

  That was our plan.  Now, as Captain Jean-Luc Picard used to say, "Make it so!"

  Then we started getting phone calls and emails from the teachers who were attempting this feat.  The videos they shot were taking forever to upload, sometimes several hours.  Sometimes, the website would "time out" and the entire process would come to a screeching halt.  What is the problem here?

  After some investigation, we discovered that the file sizes of those video clips were just too darned big.  For example, an iPad shoots video in high definition, so even a 20 minute video clip is nearly 3 gig in size.  That's right, 3 gigabytes for 20 minutes.  How can you shoot a 50 minute classroom presentation and then upload it to your Dropbox account that has a maximum capacity of 2 gig?

 My suggestion was to use video conversion software to convert the video clips to a more compressed format.  Using video conversion software also lets the user downsize the resolution from HD to SD.  Changing the format and downsizing the resolution will shrink the size of the video file, sometimes dramatically. That 3 gig video clip became a 725 meg clip after conversion and downsizing.  That's small enough to easily fit in your Dropbox or Google Drive account.

 Different cameras and computers require different software to achieve this file compression.  So I'm producing videos to address that.

  What if you are using a Flip camera and transferring that video to your Windows 7 computer?  I suggested our team use Any Video Converter.  That's freeware that is available from CNET.  Then I recommended the converted clip be uploaded to a Google Drive account.

 Here is the video I created to explain the process. 

 If you are using an iPad, then it's even easier because it can all be done with your iPad.  Two apps, GDrive and Video Slimmer, allow you to compress your video clip and then upload it to your Google Drive.

 Again, I produced a video to demonstrate the process.

  That's not all of the camera and computer combinations out there.  But these two procedures and the accompanying instructional videos should help our classroom videographers to successfully shoot and upload their projects.  As additional instructors contact us, I'll search for solutions that apply to their specific hardware and computer operating systems.



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