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I presented an Information Session (iPad Lecture Capture: Information Session I-3) at the 30th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning (2014). The presentation took place on Wednesday 13th August from 10:30-11:15 a.m. This was part of the Technology,Tools, and Media track.

The presentation can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Introduction


It has been said that the best camera is the one you have with you. Educators carried laptops with them that allowed for the creation, presentation, and recording of lecture material for online and blended teaching. Now many educators carry an iPad rather than the heavier laptop. This in-depth session will demonstrate how educators can record both live and pre-recorded presentation material via their iPad.

Overview


iPads are, for some educators, replacing laptops for both the creation and presentation of lecture material. Educators frequently have a need to create pre-recorded lecture material for online and blended classes, and sometimes to record live lectures. Recording material is not as straightforward on the iPad, but five methods of lecture capture are demonstrated and evaluated:

  1. Jailbreak and Display Recorder
  2. Dedicated Screencasting Apps (Ask3, Doceri, Doodlecast Pro, Educreations Interactive Whiteboard, Explain Everything, Final Argument, ScreenChomp, ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard)
  3. Epiphan VGA2USB converter and Camtasia/ScreenFlow
  4. AirPlay (AirServer, Reflector) and Recording Via PC
  5. Dedicated Hardware (AVerMedia - C875 LGP)

Objective


For several years I have recorded my live presentations, as well as pre-recording reusable learning objects, for the classes that I teach. With live presentations, my aim is to faithfully capture the classroom experience and make this available to students. With pre-recorded content, my aim is to create something more than a narrated PowerPoint – I want to create an engaging video that truly explains and educates. My process for achieving this has typically revolved around presenting on a MacBookAir, using ScreenFlow to record, edit, and export. This process worked both inside and outside the classroom, and I wanted to see if I could create a similar process that relied upon the iPad.

Jailbreak and Display Recorder


Ryan Petrich created an iOS app by the name of “Display Recorder,” which records both audio and the content that is displayed on the iPad screen. At first glance, this seemed like the ideal solution but the App is blocked from the Apple App Store, and can only be installed by jailbreaking an iPad and purchasing from the Cydia store. Jailbreaking can violate the Apple warranty, so this is not a practice that I recommend for institutional purchases, or for those with a lower degree of comfort with technology.

Dedicated Screencasting Apps


The iPad has a plethora of screencasting Apps. These can be used to teach live, or to create pre-recorded material. Some are free, some cost a few dollars. The principle limitations to some of these Apps come in two areas:

  1. Recording outside of the screencasting App is not possible. This can limit options, particularly where you might need the flexibility to bounce between various Apps, or demonstrate content from a website.
  2. The exported recordings may only be available to students via a third-party website, rather than being files that educators can save locally and choose to distribute via a preferred channel (for example iTunes U, YouTube, Ooyala, etc.).

Some Apps (for example Doceri, Doodlecast Pro, Explain Everything, and Final Argument) save recordings directly to the iPad, which avoids the second limitation. However, use of a screencasting App forces the presenter to stay within the confines of the App.

Doceri Example


Doodlecast Pro Example

Educreations Example

Explain Everything Example

ScreenChomp Example

The original ScreenChomp example created a webpage with embedded video. This page offered the ability to download the video as an mp4 file.

ShowMe Example

ShowMe videos can be downloaded as mp4 files from the video author's account.

Epiphan VGA2USB converter and Camtasia/ScreenFlow


Devices like the Epiphan VGA2USB converter allow the iPad’s video output to be routed into a computer (Mac or Windows), which can then be recorded using traditional screencasting programs such as Camtasia or ScreenFlow. With this setup, anything that is displayed on the iPad screen can be recorded. Using a setup like this limits the mobility of the presenter - walking around a classroom, iPad in hand, is not possible. Additionally, audio recording takes place via the computer, not the iPad. However the significant advantage to this approach, over that of using a screencasting App, is that all content presented on the iPad (websites, videos, etc.) can be recorded.

AirPlay (AirServer, Reflector) and Recording Via PC


This approach is very similar to using the Epiphan VGA2USB converter, but uses Apple’s AirPlay service to wirelessly mirror content from an iPad to a nearby computer. The advantages of this approach come in cost and mobility. The software (AirServer or Reflector) that allows a computer to receive and display AirPlay content is significantly cheaper than the Epiphan VGA2USB hardware device, and leveraging AirPlay allows the presenter to move around a room. Since WiFi is used to broadcast the iPad display, both iPad and computer must be on the same network. In areas where WiFi is congested, this might reduce the quality of the broadcast and result in artifacts in the visual display. In situations where the presenter is highly mobile, I have found that equipping the presenter with an independent microphone (such as a Sansa Clip) is the best approach, and then importing the audio recording into Camtasia or Screenflow afterwards.

Dedicated Hardware (AVerMedia - C875 LGP)


The AVerMedia - C875 LGP is a device for gamers that is traditionally used to record console games – for example a gamer might record how to complete a game like Call of Duty, and then share this video via a service like YouTube for other gamers. The device sits between the console and a television via an HDMI cable. Getting this to work with the iPad can be a little convoluted, Apple employs HDCP (a copyright control) on the HDMI output from iOS devices, so a VGA Out and VGA to HDMI converter is required to get video to the AVerMedia device that can be recorded. Additionally, this setup does not record audio unless a microphone with USB out is used. In tests, I have found this option to be a less than ideal approach due to the complexity of the setup. Additionally, this option lacks visual feedback that informs the presenter that recording is taking place.

Conclusion


To date, I have not found an entirely simple approach to recording content from the iPad that works for all needs. The safest and most convenient option for educators wishing to present and record in the classroom is to use an App like Doceri, Doodlecast Pro, Explain Everything, or Final Argument that saves directly to the iPad and exports as a downloadable file.

The best route for recording outside of the classroom is to use AirPlay to mirror iPad screen content, and then to record on a nearby computer using a program that displays content (such as AirServer or Reflector), and a screencasting program like Camtasia or ScreenFlow to record both video and voice.

FAQ and Additional Notes



What was the name of the portable router you used?
The HooToo® TripMate Wireless N Portable Travel Router with 6000mAh Battery Charger. A very useful device to have.

Is there a device that can record a moving presenter?
Yes - Josh Lund (FITS) came across an interesting product at the NMC conference recently. The Swivl is an iPhone/iPad/camera base that sits on a table or mounts to a tripod, and then enables you to use your mobile device to record video. The recording can combine slides from your computer with the camera feed. The camera follows the remote control, so you can walk around the room doing a presentation and stay in frame.

Update



The recent versions of Screenflow and Camtasia now make it unnecessary to use AirPlay or dedicated hardware to record directly from the iPad (providing you have a Lightning connection). At present, Screenflow would be my recommendation over Camtasia.
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