Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

5.3 How to self-film live activities using a camera (e.g., smartphone, webcam)

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This guide will provide an overview of how you could film yourself, with the support of another teaching team member, teaching assistant, or other helpful person in a physical space (e.g. classroom, lab). This mimics the FASE Lecture Capture Program in style by providing instructions on what to consider when bringing a camera into a space and filming the activity (this guide does NOT provide instructions on livestreaming or screen recording; both of those are possible but would require extra set up and planning).

This guide will review the major steps to this type of process, from planning and buying hardware, to in-class set up, and how to share the recordings with your students. This guide provides recommendations; you will need to tweak them for your specific teaching style and the type of activity you will be recording.

Before you begin

Decide if this decision is right for you

Before you choose this modality, consider:

  1. Do you have your own hardware (e.g. phone or camera)? This recording/capture solution does require that you have available your own recording hardware kit. We always recommend fully practicing and testing your set up prior to using this process.
  2. Are you teaching in an LSM-classroom with a teaching podium? If you teach digitally, LSM's OpenCast (OCCS) (see the ETO's guide on how to administer OpenCast) solution might be a good fit! After enabling, it will automatically capture your audio and what is projected through the podium computer and share this recording to your students via Quercus. Caveats are that you do have to be in a LSM classroom with the appropriate hardware installed. See if your room is eligible using the LSM Instructor Portal.
  3. Do you have the time to edit and upload your video? This solution requires that you edit (if needed) and upload your recording to a video host. If your classes are scheduled tightly, consider if you have enough time to complete this each week (if your goal is to have students watch the recording before the next class).
  4. Do you have (human) in-class support? In a best case scenarios, this would be assisted self-filming and we do recommend that you have some support while doing this type of self-filming; as a live event, you want to make sure someone is keeping an eye on the recording.
  5. Are you filming in a lab? If so, you might also want to check out our guide specifically directed at filming in a lab.
Consider the benefits and challenges of this technique

The benefits of this technique are self-set up (ok for those technically inclined, less so for those who are not or who have other set up requirements at the start of class), ease of recording and upload, and inexpensive hardware purchases to get up and running.

The negatives of this set up are lower quality footage (e.g., a lack of panning/zooming while filming, lack of re-use from term to term), having to use your own equipment (e.g., phone, wireless Bluetooth microphone), and self-set up.

Review when this technique is commonly used

This style requires hardware, manual set up, and editing to be successful. This technique is recommended for:

  • Capturing non-digital (e.g., demonstrations, chalk n'talk) activities
  • Providing an accommodation for a sub-set of their class
  • Offering in-class activity capture for a limited time (or for limited activities)
  • Courses that were not able to be scheduled as part of the FASE Lecture Capture Program

1. Planning for self-filming

This recording/capture solution does require that you have available your own recording hardware kit and we always recommend fully practicing and testing your set up prior to using this process. It is not a small amount of work to set up for self-filming at the start of each session (another reason why it's helpful to have an extra set of hands).

1.1. Choose your camera option

This particular solution involves setting up a recording device (e.g. phone, camera, webcam) in order to capture a video feed of a live activity.

Common set up options:

  1. Phone
  2. Computer with webcam
  3. DSLR or other stand alone camera

See our guide of entry, mid and high end cameras suitable for self-filming. Also included is your your phone to record.

1.2. Select a microphone

For best quality audio, you'll want to have a microphone connected to whatever device that you are using to record. The key things to think about here are your budget, your existing devices (what does your new microphone need to work with?) and any adapters or other connectors that would be required to make this happen.

If you're someone who wants to walk and talk, a wireless option is a must.

Cost Microphone Compatible with Good for Things to consider
Low Petiparkit Wireless Lavalier Microphone | Buy it! Amazon ($36.79) PC or Macbook (Windows/ Mac), Android phone, Camera, PS3, PS4. No driver or external power source is needed.
Receiving signal range up to 65 ft
3.5/5 star rating on Amazon with only 4 reviews.
Medium Wireless Lavalier Microphone, Comica CVM-WS60 | Buy it! Amazon ($235.00)
iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, Android Smartphone, DSLR Camera
Working distance up to 196ft (open area) and 98ft (closed area)
When used with a smartphone, requires an TRRS audio adapter (approx. $10) (iPhone option | Android option)
High NEEWER Wireless Microphone System, CM22 | Buy it! Amazon ($205.99)
iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, Android Smartphone, DSLR Camera
Single or double wireless recording.  Wireless transmission distance up to 150 meters 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon.

Rode Microphones WIRELESS GO II Wireless Microphone System | Buy it! Vistek ($409.00) Cameras, mobile devices and computers, extended range (200m line of sight) and improved transmission stability, on-board recording capabilities
For short to long range distances; also compatible with LSM teaching podiums
For the “invisible mic” look, you would have to include a lavalier ($109; Vistek).

In addition to your camera, you'll want to think about:

  1. SD Storage Card. Filming takes up a lot of digital storage. Do you have enough hard drive or other storage to capture your full session? See our recommendations for SD Storage cards (remember to confirm compatibility).
  2. Extra Battery/Charging option. Filming uses a lot of battery power. What devices are you using and do you have enough power to last the required time?
  3. Camera Tripod. Useful not only for stability, they also help avoid accidental tip overs and add consistency to your filming (if you note and reuse the settings).

See our full guide of recommended filming accessories.

2. Set up in the space

Are you using an LSM room for filming? If you have any questions about room set up or compatibility, please contact the Learning Space Management team using [email protected]. While the EdTech Office can offer some general advice, LSM is the team that can help you with your physical set up.

Once you've selected and purchased your recording hardware, you'll want to think about how you'll be setting it up. This will be specific to the space in which you are filming (see our guide specifically geared to filming in labs) as well as the hardware you selected and how many people you have to help you set up (our advice - if it's only you, keep it very simple).

While you testing and practicing your set up, consider:

  1. Does your camera need a power source? If yes, consider setting up where you can be plugged in. It's likely not a good idea to run extension cords across high traffic area.
  2. Do you need to take a desk/table space to get a good frame? If yes, consider blocking off this desk space in advance to provide enough room for you to set up.
  3. How long does set up and take down take you? You'll likely have to set up a tripod, load the SD card, check the battery, connect the microphone, and attach the microphone to yourself - do you have enough time, in your transition to do this? What will happen if during this time, a student approaches you to ask a question?
  4. Does your set up rely on wifi? If yes, test this set up in the physical space; sometimes wifi or blue tooth connections work fine in offices (or at home) but it does not work in the classroom (with more devices and different networks).

Take a photo of your set up! When visiting your space to test and practice, take note of your set up to remind you for next time, or to help someone else mimic your set up.

3. Edit your recording (after your session)

After you've completed filming, you'll want to edit the video. Some videos will require minimal editing (e.g. lecture capture style videos) while some will require heavy editing (e.g. open educational resources intended for re-use).

When preparing to edit your footage, consider:

  1. What type of software you will use for editing your content? See our guide to no-cost software editing tools as well as our guide to paid editing tools.
  2. Is your project a candidate for the FASE Remote Editing Service? The goal of this project is to offer quick turnaround for videos; to accomplish this, we are keeping the video editing light (think trimming, cutting, combining tracks, and graphical emphasis but not a complete re-design and enhancement of your materials).

If you have any questions about how to edit your videos or if the remote editing service is right for you, please book a consultation and we'd be happy to assist you.

4. Sharing recordings to your students

You are almost there! After filming and editing, you're ready to share the video with your students. To do this, you'll select where you'd like to host the video (see a Beginner's Guide to Video Hosting) for playback (this decision depends on your preferences regarding permissions and access, how you'd like to archive the videos, and other playback features that vary from host to host). Please do not post the videos directly to your Quercus course.

When sharing your videos to students, ensure that you:

  1. Select a video/hosting streaming service (e.g. MyMedia, MS Stream). This guide will walk you through your options and help you pick the right hosting service for your project. A benefit of uploading the videos to a host is that they are archived for you; you'll be able to reuse these videos for many terms to come.
    1. If you are using MyMedia to host your videos, we recommend requesting a new MyMedia account for your course that can be shared across your teaching team.
  2. Copy the share link for your videos into your Quercus course. This guide contains instructions for both MyMedia and MS Stream.
  3. Use Quercus to provide access to the videos. You can do this in multiple ways but a common one is to create a Page in Quercus and paste the links into a table (or other organized structure) using the rich content editor (see How do I upload and embed media from an external source?).

DO NOT UPLOAD YOUR VIDEO FILES DIRECTLY TO QUERCUS. Not only will this chew through your course's storage quota, Quercus is not optimized for video playback and does not archive your videos for re-use. If you have any questions about how to add your videos to your Quercus course, please book a consultation and we'd be happy to assist you.

Previous Article 5.2 How to use SnagIt to self-capture in person activities
Next Article 5.4 How to set up ad hoc mixed modality sessions (using a webinar tool)
Still have questions? Contact the FASE EdTech Office