Green Screen

I moved on with Veescope (recent post) and tried an actually green-screen – so much easier, quicker and better results. The kit I used had:

  • Two stands
  • A crossbar
  • 3 screens
    • Black
    • White
    • Green
  • Carry bag

These are surprisingly quick to put up, less than three minutes in fact, the green-screen (creased from being folded) worked perfectly (no ironing required). The fact that the small investment in time to put up the green-screen up and down, as opposed to finding and filming against a ‘clean’ wall, is far outweighed by the quality of the final recording. I thought that it was worth of seeing how much these actually costed – only £30 (from ebay) with clamps for the material – not a fortune but I wondered if I could find a cheaper alternative…

A recent recording (when experimenting with Microsoft Mix) at home had me hanging a an old ‘blackout’ blind, that had loitered in storage, as a backdrop to hide the kitchen behind me. A spend of  £6 and an aerosol spray can of ‘Canbrush C67 by Orientus Industry’ paint later and I found myself in the garden spraying one side of the blind. It works but I soon ran out of paint, only 75% covered and about 50% of what was covered being patchy and in part pain had run (note to self: lay blind down not hang up next time).  So two things came from this:

  1. The paint was perfect for small areas or items (I have seen people use the inside of pizza boxes for small projects)
  2. buy a green screen kit

The cost of the kits are very similar but found for a smaller increase in price (£40 from ebay) gets you cotton muslin screens that have a stitched pocket for sliding the horizontal pole into, rather than needing clamps, the cloth is woven and better quality and the cheaper non-woven and can be ironed and washed (unlike the non-woven versions) and have a high tear resistance and is long-lasting. Currently at time of writing this post I am awaiting delivery.

Update: Screen arrived, great quality, glad i bought better woven screen. I have no criticism other than it would be nice to have a storage bag for the whole lot (£6 from ebay “speaker stand bag”)





Microsoft Mix (for PowerPoint)


At last “Microsoft Producer” is reborn! A long loved add-on that was dropped some year ago (last developed for PowerPoint 2010) that was dropped all-so-quietly about 3 years ago, not that it was marketed all that loud! What Producer allowed you to do was to either record alongside a PowerPoint presentation, or upload a pre-recorded video, and it would synchronise the timings of the video with the presentation. Meaning that it would play the necessary video portion relation to, say, slide 2. It would then pause, and continue only as you progressed to the next slide. It also allowed a small range of “templates”. I missed this and thought that it was great free plugin that wo0uld benefit so many resources, especially in light of FELTAG and online learning, certainly it would have reduced the complaints of re-inventing the wheel!

But oh so quietly (have you heard of it?) they have re-imagined it. Gone are the templates (not such a bad thing given how dated they did look) but the functionality that it offers in return are great:

  • Recording of video (and closed captioning!!!!! [ see here ])
  • Video controls for play and pause
  • In-built volume control
  • HD video
  • Audio (you don’t have to have video!)
  • Annotation
    • line thickness
    • line colour
    • entire annotation delete [restart?]
  • Screen capture – selectable area
    • desktop video
    • desktop screen capture
  • Interactivity through apps
    • open question
    • multiple choice
    • poll
    • true/false
  • Insert pre-existing video/audio
  • Export
    • Video (no interactivity)
    • SCORM package for
    • Upload to MS MIX Server

Now although this seems great there are a few wrinkles…

  1. You cannot wipe out individual annotations (although you can manually wipe them out if you have a plain background to your slide in one of the annotation colours!)
  2. You cannot have a video on the same slide as an interactive quiz or a screen captured video
  3. SCORM is not fully functioning, certainly it is not working with Moodle, although MS are now working with Moodle on a Plugin! [ see here ]
  4. It does not seem to like it when you try to annotate using just audio & inking or just inking – seems unstable. Fine when using video throughout
  5. The inking lends itself more to touchscreen than mouse

Now when I say fully functioning as a SCORM if your not using the interactive quiz functions its fine as you can just upload as a presentation anyway. But if you are then you are going to want to upload to the MS MIX server… as you get analytics! oh and a discussion board, oh you can also open to the public and class a distributable and editable under creative commons!

So want to see my first effort? be kind! [ find it here ]

So you want it for yourself? [ go here ] or if you work for the same organisation as I do (if your reading this on DAVE then you do) then you can find it from the….. (it is easier than it looks)

  • Select “find additional applications from the applications catalog”, located top right under the search bar
  • Select “learning technologies” from the webpage on the right-hand-side
  • Select “office mix” from the list
  • select Install at the bottom on the right

Are you brave enough to let me see you first attempt?

An upcoming post is likely on “things I have learnt when videoing myself” including “holiday stubble!” 🙂