Posts Tagged ‘Video Production’

Learning in a Pandemic Year

February 2, 2021

For my faithful blog readers I apologize for my absence.  As you can imagine I was called to serve Denver Public Schools (DPS) for long days weeks and months supporting online learning.  Now that I have a moment to catch my breath (not that it’s over) I thought it would be helpful to share things I’ve learned over the past year.

1.  Google Meet Enterprise is just as good as Zoom for meetings and learning.  With the enhancements Google added to its Enterprise version the playing field has been leveled.  Take a look at this chart I created for the side by side comparison. 

2.  Just because you know how to use an online tool, doesn’t mean the learning will be effective.  We are still in need (if not more so) of training/development for facilitators of synchronous and asynchronous courses.  I’ve been active at DPS creating support materials, models, and starting two communities of practice that meet monthly.  One  is focusing on our LMS-Schoology-and the other group concentrates on synchronous delivery in Zoom or Google Meets.

3.  Non-verbal cues become very important in managing meetings online.  Especially in larger meetings protocols using hand gestures make online meetings run more smoothly and quickly.

4.  Two monitors are better than one, for catching non-verbal cues but also managing a presentation and meeting tools at the same time.

5.  Blended/hybrid professional learning will return.  I predict that after we emerge from COVID restrictions the value and efficiency of blended/hybrid learning will remain a viable delivery system.

6.  Video and audio production skills come in handy and still sound. Top five pieces of advice I give out are:

a. Use landscape format on your phone

b. Record in a quiet room/space

c. Get close to the camera

d. Avoid bright backlight (e.g. windows)

e. Add light to your face if needed (with lamps)

7.  The time for short and engaging webinars has arrived (thankfully).  For years I preached the benefits of shorter webinars and the importance of engaging the attendees throughout the session.  I believe the benefits of these practices have been made evident.

8.  We need breaks from technology too!  Spending all day at our computers in online sessions can be draining on our bodies and minds.  Don’t forget to take a break!  Now that you’ve finished reading this blog post, it’s your turn!

Hanging Out on Air

August 19, 2016

googleplushangoutonair-300x207Dear Faithful Readers,

Sorry it’s been a while since posting…this summer has been hectic.  But the good news is that I have plenty to share over the coming weeks!

First, I want to talk about the streaming broadcasts that I hosted for the DEPLA (Digital Educator and Personalized Learning Academy) event this summer.  I volunteered to handle all streaming from one of the classrooms.  My challenge was to find equipment to support a panel discussion and to select the best free streaming platform.

In regards to selecting the platform, I chose Google Hangouts on Air and was pleasantly surprised by the ease of scheduling, automatic recording, and even stats for attendees and recording views.  I highly recommend it for these features.  Thanks to the static urls, we were able to publicize the links before the sessions (for live attendees) and afterwards for viewers of the recordings.  Here is our page of links to the recordings.

My biggest challenge was to find a usb audio mixer for the streaming room since my other mixer was being used in the cafetorium (yes, that’s what they called it, a combination of cafeteria and auditorium).  I purchased a Alesis Multimix usb audio mixer for this event.  This is  a mixer I would highly recommend for it’s affordability, ease of use and high quality sound with no noisy channels.  This mixer made me very happy over the two days of streaming panel discussions.

The lessons I learned to improve my streaming for next year are:

  1.  Try to use a better webcam or video camera
  2. Try to get a backdrop for the panel to avoid distractions and
  3. Look into a virtual or physical video mixer to run more than one camera

Here are photos of one of the panels and my humble streaming rig:

panel at deplamy streaming rig at DEPLA 2016

 

Always Have a Backup Plan

May 3, 2016

 

Leo Reynolds flcikr creative commonsLeo Reynolds Flickr CC

I’m on a committee planning a wonderful event called the Digital Educator and Personalized Learning Academy (DEPLA) to be held in June.  I volunteered to create a commercial to promote the event.

I was really excited to reach into my video production skills which were somewhat dormant.  With my coproducer Candy McGregor we developed an engaging storyboard and script.  My good camera and wireless mic were charged up and ready to go. An energetic coworker (Sarah Peterson) volunteered to act and we received permission to shoot on location at the coffee shop in the lobby of our building-which is run by older students who are learning job skills.

story arc

storyboardandscript

When we arrived to record during our lunch break, the coffee shop manager looked at our props (unusual coffee ingredients) and stated flatly that we couldn’t use them.  He said that they misrepresented what was served at the coffee shop and that people might become confused and start requesting these unusual ingredients.  (Producers Note: we deliberately chose these ingredients to bring in an unexpected element to the commercial-see Made to Stick.)

Rather than put up a fight with the manager or drop this engaging idea, I quickly shifted to plan b-the ever awaiting backup plan ingrained into my life.   We headed upstairs to a staff kitchen and quickly rewrote the script and storyboard.  Gone was the dialogue with the barista, now replaced with a monologue. A new establishing shot/sequence was created and newly found props were incorporated.  Here is the finished product:

Lessons learned:  Always have a backup plan. Always be ready for improvisation.  Work with folks who are willing to collaborate and improvise with you.

In creating a second commercial this week, we decided to build from the original video.  We used the ingredients metaphorically as Sarah read the new lines in a voiceover.  To add to the continuity (Nita would be proud of me) I shot still phoots of all the ingredients in their originally viewed bowls and re-used the tag appeal by another volunteer- Dale Downing who has an awesome announcer voice.  Here is commercial #2:

By the way, for video persons out there who might want to know, the first commerical was edited with Adobe Premiere and the second one with Camtasia.

Do you have questions or comments?  Please add to this blog or contact me directly.  THANKS!