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1.3 Evaluate common capturing techniques

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Self-capturing content requires some preparation. Both hardware (microphone/ webcam) and software (to record your screen) needs to be properly set up to ensure a smooth capturing experience. This guide addresses common self-capture formats (tablet capture, screen capture using PowerPoint, etc) and provides hardware and software recommendations for each format. If you are looking for how to self-capture, please see an Overview of how to self-capture (and share) course content.

This guide assumes that you already have a computer/ tablet available for use, and are just looking for what tools are needed to enable self-capturing on that device 

This guide covers the following self-capture methods: 

  1. Capturing a Computer Screen 
  2. Capturing a PowerPoint Presentation 
  3. Capturing a Tablet Screen 
  4. Capturing Handwritten Notes 

Hardware recommendations for all self-capture methods 

  1. Audio Hardware 
  2. Video Hardware

If you need to order hardware, do so early in the project! Lead times can be unpredictable and can delay the project.

1. Capturing a computer screen

Capturing a computer screen will allow you to record what is happening on screen. You can record any program/ window of choice. You can record a PowerPoint presentation, a website, or a demo on another program - whatever you can put on your screen, you can record!

1.1. TechSmith Snagit (Windows and MacOS)

TechSmith Snagit is an institutionally licensed screen recorder, compatible on both Windows and MacOS. It allows you to record your screen, microphone, and webcam, and also trim parts of your video. However, if you are looking for a more featured editing experience (splicing clips, manipulating audio, etc), consider looking at TechSmith Camtasia, which is not licensed, but has education pricing.

1.2. Quicktime player (MacOS)

Alternatively on MacOS, Quicktime player is an option for recording your screen, microphone, and webcam as well (though recording both webcam and screen can be tricky to set up). It also features a slightly richer editing experience, allowing you to split, trim, and cut clips together.

2. Capturing a PowerPoint Presentation

Directly capturing a PowerPoint presentation allows you to record your webcam, record audio, annotate over, and even embed screen recordings into each slide. Recording of outside windows can be done with other methods though, as seen in the Capturing a Computer Screen section of this guide.

2.1. PowerPoint (Desktop App)

All you need for self-capturing a PowerPoint presentation is the desktop PowerPoint application, included with U of T’s subscription to O365. For more information, check the information Commons Help Desk article on Office 365 installation and Microsoft’s guide to recording a slide show with narration and slide timings.

3. Capturing a tablet screen

Recording a tablet screen allows for easy annotations and note taking while narrating. Similar to capturing a computer screen, capturing a tablet screen will record everything that’s happening on screen - whether that’s a PowerPoint, notifications, or any other program/ window.

3.1. Microsoft OneNote

If you are planning to write notes in your content, you’ll need a program that you can markup. Microsoft OneNote is a popular cloud-based app, part of the University’s O365 license, that will allow you to share your work live and keep all your notes in one location. However, other options include Sketchbook Pro and Smoothdraw.

3.2. Screen Recording Software

3.2.1. QuickTime Player (if you have an iPad and a Mac)

If you have both an iPad and a Mac computer, you’re able to use QuickTime player to record your device’s screen - all it requires is a physical connection to your Mac computer via cable.

3.2.2. Built in Screen Recorder

If you have an iPad running iPadOS, you can use the built in screen recorder to record your screen and audio. This will often just save the videos to your device, so be wary of storage space. If your android tablet supports screen recording (this varies based on manufacturer) the steps to set it up will differ and will need to be verified individually, but the general idea remains.

3.2.3. TechSmith Snagit (if you have a Windows tablet OR an Android tablet and Windows PC)

If you are using a windows based tablet (eg. Surface Pro device), you can simply use Snagit to record your screen just like any other computer. However, if you are using an Android tablet with a Windows PC, the process is a bit more involved. It requires you to project your tablet screen to your PC, then use Snagit to capture that window. One thing to keep in mind with this method is that not all devices support wireless projection, so compatibility might be an issue.

3.3. Stylus

If you are going to be writing notes while you present, you’ll need some sort of writing utensil compatible with your device. For example, this could be an Apple Pencil if you have an iPad, or a Surface Pen if you have a Microsoft Surface device.

4. Capturing handwritten notes

4.1. Document Camera/Webcam

To record your handwritten notes, you’ll need a camera of some kind to capture your notes. This can be a dedicated document camera, or a high quality webcam. At the very least, you’ll want a camera that can record (and stream) in HD.

Recommendations from the ETO:

  1. Smartphone: Most new smartphones can capture excellent quality footage
  2. Webcam: Logitech C290s HD Pro Webcam
  3. Document Camera: IPEVO V4k Ultra High Definition USB Document Camera

4.2. Video Recording Software

Once you have your webcam/ document camera, you’ll need an application that can capture video from that device. This can be done from just your built in video recorder on your device, but there are other programs available that may offer more features.

4.2.1. Use UofT's Instutitionally licensed tool (TechSmith Snagit)

Snagit (download here) also has the option to record just your webcam, which is a quick and easy way to get a video recorded.

4.2.2. See if your camera comes with software

Depending on your webcam, it might have a first party program that can record video. For example, compatible Logitech webcams can use Logitech Capture to record video, and the IPEVO V4k Document Camera has the Visualizer app. This is fully dependent on your webcam, as not all webcams will have standalone software.

5. Audio Hardware

Good quality audio is one of the best upgrades you can make to your self-captured content. Ensuring a quiet recording environment is key to a good recording experience, but investing in a high quality microphone also can provide huge improvements to sound quality.

Some options for microphones are:

  1. Blue Yeti Nano Premium USB Microphone
  2. Audio Technica ATR2100x USB Microphone

Another option for audio hardware is a headset, which can make for more consistent audio since the microphone moves with you when you shift your head. One option for this is the Logitech H390 USB Computer Headset.

Before buying any microphone or webcam, see if the microphone or webcam integrated onto your computer will do the trick. Record a 10 second clip and watch it back - is the audio and video quality good? Can you hear any background noises? Are you happy with the angle of your webcam? Sometimes, even if you’re satisfied with the quality, investing in a microphone or webcam can provide a better audio and visual experience, and offer more flexibility when it comes to recording.

6. Video Hardware

If you plan on appearing on video, whether for a demo, quick video, or for capturing handwriting, investing in a good webcam can make it easier to record high quality video. Good webcams can be had for a fairly affordable price, but you do want to make sure they they are capable of recording in high definition (See our full guide to cameras).

Recommendation from the ETO:

  1. Logitech C390s Pro HD Webcam
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