Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

1.5 Overview of how to self-capture (and share) course content

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This guide takes you step-by-step through how to self-capture a video on your computer (or tablet) from your location. Self-capturing content allows you to author your own content to be used in your courses. 

To do this, you need both hardware (a webcam/microphone are required) and software (both to author content and to record what is happening on your screen) installed and tested. After you're done recording, you'll need to "render" (produce) your video and then share it back to your class using a video streaming website (see our comparison table to evaluate which video hosting service is right for you).

 If you are looking for support during this process, please review if the EdTech Office could help support your video production via the Remote Editing Process.

When should I use screen capturing? Screen-capturing is ideal for asynchronous situations (e.g. providing on-demand or self-paced access to content).

1. Before you Begin: Create your Content

Before you can start recording, you will need to have created the baseline content for the screen capture video. A self-recorded screen capture video records whatever is happening on your display, while you talk over it. There are many ways to generate content and this decision is largely decided by the type of videos you'd like to make. (All of the below choices make use of voiceovers.) This software is what you'll use to create your lecture content. It is not what you'll use to capture this content.

Before you begin:

  1. Review how to plan and create efficient and effective screencast content.

Commonly used software to create content:

  1. Powerpoint (This is part of your O365 account.)
  2. Sketchbook Pro (Used internally by the EdTech Office; this is a popular but paid annotation application.)
  3. SmartDraw (This free software used for Khan Academy videos.)
  4. OneNote (This is part of your O365 account.)

There is no one tool for content authoring that is preferred above others. The most important thing is to pick something that you feel comfortable using. If you typically lecture with slides, do that! If you usually write everything on a tablet, stick to that. You could even film yourself writing on a piece of paper. What translates through any video is authenticity - preserve your style of voice, speak to your students, and do not worry about being perfect.

2. Set up your hardware

In order to create videos, you'll need a device that displays what you are planning to record (capture) and devices that will allow you to record your speaking voice (audio). Most often, this just means capturing what is displayed on your computer monitor or digital tablet and using a webcam and/or external mircophone. If you are planning to capture yourself while annotating your content (e.g. a slide presentation or a OneNote notebook), you will also need your stylus.

Commonly used devices to create content (self-select based on type of video you intend to create):

  1. Computer
  2. Tablet (Surface Pro, iPad, etc.)
  3. Stylus (for writing/annotation)
  4. Display Pen Tablet

Required devices for audio recording (you will need one of the following):

  1. Microphone or headset (if you are planning to record your voice)
  2. Webcam (if you are planning on recording yourself)
  3. Built-in options (These are more likely to be available if you are using your lap top.)

Don't be afraid to use your built-in options! Most of these are now high quality. If you can, control your environment by recording in a quiet space, where you know you won't be interupted.

3. Set up your screen capturing (recording) software

The next step is to think about capturing/recording your content. There will always be light editing that is required when you capture content, so you need software that will allow you to do this (ex. trimming the ends of the video). While there are free lightweight screen capture options, it is recommended that you use editing software that allows you to save your files on your computer and to generate HD video output.

Commonly used software:

  1. Techsmith Camtasia (Available for purchase; not institutionally licensed; used for screen capture and editing)
  2. Techsmith SnagIt - Link to download (Institutionally licensed; used for screen capture only)
  3. Quicktime (Built into Mac OS; used for screen capture only)

Curious about which recording tool is right for your project? See "What video recording and editing software is right for me?" to help you make that decision.

4. Record your screen

Each recording tool functions a little bit differently, but in general, set up for recording follows these steps:

  1. Open the file that you'll be recording.
  2. Open the screen capture tool that you will use to record what is happening on the screen.
  3. Test that your microphone is enabled and is recording (usually the tools will show an audio wave that indicates that sound is being captured).
  4. Start your recording.
  5. After about 15s, stop your recording, and play it back - did the audio record? Is the intended part of the screen being captured? What does your cursor look like? You'll want to confirm these small details before you record a longer video.

U of T licenses the screen capture tool, Techsmith SnagIt, and it is available for download using your UTORid and password.

4.1. Tips to make recording your screen easier for editing

These strategies can be used while you are recording your content to ensure that editing the videos is more technically feasible (see strategies to make editing your video easier).

4.2. Tips to create strong instructional video content

Before you create your content, we recommend reviewing our tips on how to create effective video content designed to promote deep learning and engagement, while still being technically feasible to implement. The key part - you have to do this from the ground up, while you are building your slidedeck or other foundational content.

5. Edit and render (publish) your video

When you are finished your recording, you'll want to:

  1. Stop the recording.
  2. Save the generated file. Please note: This is NOT your video file - this is usually a proprietary file that is generated by the software that you used to record. It is what is called a "working" or "editable" file.
  3. Review the video for editing.
  4. Publish the video by rendering it. Please note: This is when the video file goes from "working" to "published." At this stage, you'll likely generate a .mp4 or .mov file. These files are easily uploaded to either YouTube or MyMedia.

6. Upload your video content to a video hosting and streaming service

Once you've created, edited, and produced a video, you'll want to share it. Videos are large files, which means that they should be uploaded to service that specializes in playing videos (and not uploaded directly to Quercus). When selecting your video streaming service, you can choose the privacy setting of your video (e.g. it could be limited to your class or could be shared publicly).

Common Sharing Options (see "Which video hosting site should you use?" to help you decide):

  1. (Create your own channel; can specify access to those with link (e.g. unlisted) or can allow public access)
  2. MyMedia (U of T hosting service; can limit access to those with UTORids) 

After you upload your video to a streaming service, a custom URL for that video will be generated. You can take this URL and add it to your Quercus course (e.g. on a page that lists all your videos or, if using YouTube, you could create and then share the channel). This is how students will access the videos.

Why can I not just upload my videos to Quercus directly? Videos are large files, which means that they should be uploaded to service that specializes in playing videos and has the server capacity and redundancy to ensure lag-free playback.

Looking to create a different kind of video? While this guide deals specifically with creating content independently, wherever you are (e.g. in your office or at home), you might be interested in the options that the Education Technology Office can help you produce. Don't hesitate to give us a call (416.978.1234) or email ([email protected]) if you have any questions.

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Still have questions? Contact the FASE EdTech Office