Creating internet video (or audio): from the idea to the web.

Brian Teaman, Institute for Foreign Language Research and Education

http://flare.media.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/english/listening/vu.html

 

This is the web-based version of my presentation at JALTCALL 2001 in Gunma Japan. (see www.jaltcall.org for more information.)

Thanks to comments from participants I was directed to a great link http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/ that should be very helpful and covers some of same issues that I have here, however it is from the perspective of using video for research whereas this one covers issues more related to video for teaching. Lots of overlap though and good ideas to be found their too.

Also please remember that this was written as an in-person presentation and might not stand on it's own very well. Of course, I expect to update this and make it more stand-alone, as I am able. Apologies in advance for the lousy formatting. I went directly from Macintosh Word 98 to HTML. It doesn't do a very good job. I thought it better to have the presentation on line then to wait until I had the time to make it beautiful.

If you want to cut to the chase (and you have a high-speed connection, try this link). This will pretty much show you where the information given in this presentation could lead to:

http://flare.media.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/english/listening/questions/university.html

 ABSTRACT: In this presentation I will demonstrate the steps needed to produce high quality web-based interactive video. After introducing the rationale for my project, I will talk about the technical issues related getting optimal sound and video recordings. Secondly, I will show how the video and sound are moved to a computer and then edited and processed for the web. Finally I will present how the digitized material are then transferred to the web and an interface is built around them.

0.0 Introduction

This workshop will go through the steps of getting video (or just plain audio!) onto the web for creating or making available language learning materials. There are many ways to get your materials to the web. I will go through the steps emphasizing the hardware and software that I use. Not everyone has the same resources available so I will point out as far as I am able other possibilities for doing this. This presentation will familiarize you with the basic issues so that you will be able to at least ask the right questions when it comes to doing it yourself even if you don’t have the same equipment.

Please interrupt at any time to ask questions.

Why video?

Why the web?

Defining the project.

Streaming versus Downloading.

 

0.1 Background to the project presented here.

  1. Birth of the Virtual University (VU) and this project: the English component of VU (VU-E)
  2. The buying frenzy that ensued.
  3. Getting it all to work
  4. The developing curriculum

 

0.2 The steps needed to create web video:

  1. Define the project
  2. Test the project!
  3. Create/obtain video
  4. Upload video from camera to computer.
  5. Edit video
  6. Convert to web-based video format
  7. Upload to a server.
  8. Create links on a web page that allows access to your materials.
  9. Creating supplemental materials.

 

1.0 Defining the project

1.1 What are your teaching goals and your technical constraints?

You need to have a good idea of your final project matched with the technical limitations of your system before you begin.

1.2 VU-E Teaching goals

Target Audience: Hiroshima University undergraduates taking first and second year required English classes.

Objective: To provide targeted students with extensive exposure to the native speech of their non-native peers on common topics. The course can be seen as a stand-alone listening class or as providing supplemental materials to listening, speaking or other English classes.

1.3 VU-E Technical constraints

WINDOWS setup

Hardware: SONY VAIO, PCVRX61K (386Meg Ram, 1Gig processor, DVD-Read Only, CD RW, IEEE 1394 in/out (=i.link/firewire)) (about 300,000Yen for the box, extra memory and all software listed below)

Software: Premiere 5.1 LE (video editor) DVGATE (video in).

Macintosh setup:

Hardware: Macintosh G4 (512Meg Ram, 800MHz processor, 55Gigabyte HD, Superdrive (DVD/CD RW) IEEE1394 in/out (=i.link/firewire)) (about 300,000Yen for the box and the hardware).

Software: Premiere 6.0 Academic Version (video editing), includes CLEANER 5 EZ (compressing video for the web) and Total Training CD-ROM on how to use Premiere and Cleaner. These are three great programs (60,000 yen well spent!)

Server:

We have RealServer Plus and a tons of server storage. There are currently no practical constraints on how much we can put on the server. (note, you don’t need RealServer Plus to be able to run Real Audio and Video).

Camera:

SONY DSR-PD150 (290,000 Yen for the camera 10,000 yen for the "optional" but absolutely necessary! accessory kit), Audio Technica ATM15a Battery/Phantom Powered Lavalier Microphones (2).

1.4 Your Teaching Goals?

What you might want to put on the web:

        1. An introduction of yourself to your students.
        2. A weekly or monthly program for your students.
        3. More extensive materials of you teaching
        4. Native speaker database (VU-E).
        5. Movie clips (disclaimer: check out the legal issues before you do this of course)
        6. TV News clips (note legal disclaimer above)
        7. Tell me your ideas, let’s talk about it.

1.5 Your Technical Constraints?

You need a fairly modern machine to work smoothly. You can do lots of editing with less than 256 memory, but most people I’ve read seem to feel that 256MB is quite sufficient for most amateur work. A fast and big hard drive is best, but you can get by with a couple of gigabytes. It all depends on what you want to get onto the web.

You need a server. How much memory is available? Here are some ideas of the memory you will need on your server for about 10 seconds of video:

2.0 Test the project!

Take a short clip and do the whole process from definition to supplemental materials and get it working on the web. Check with different browsers on different machines at different bandwidths. Keep in mind who your enduser is and what kind of platform they will be working from.

LINK (This was our first mock-up, to test the basic system):

http://www.riise.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/~sumi/video/test5.html

 

End-user testing should be done as soon as you have enough materials to do a pilot test.

You will probably need to reform the project once you’ve done the testing. Go back to step one and revise. This will likely be an ongoing process, so get used to it. Make some great materials! The web is full of half-baked ideas.

3.0 Creating/Obtaining Video and Audio

Methods of taping materials are a good subject for a full-length video workshop. If we have time, we can talk about this as much as you want. However I want to emphasize audio because this is about language after all. As far as language goes, face and body movements carry lots of information. If you can get this to your students, all the better. However, speech is where the bulk of the information is. If you doubt this, try talking on the telephone with the volume turned down to zero.

Audio for video (This is language afterall, speech will be primary in most projects, so it should be of as high a quality as possible).

3.1.1 XLR connectors on your camera.

To get the best sound you need to use excellent microphones which require XLR connectors. Most on-camera microphones and/or mini-plug type external microphones are not up to the task. They are generally omnidirectional and usually pick up lots of camera noise. I know of no decent directional microphones with mini plugs. Microphones above the run-of-the-mill level are not usually worth looking at unless they are about 25,000 yen ($200.00USD) and up.

3.1.2 Most consumer or even prosumers only have mini-plug microphone connector (input). To attach the highest quality microphones get an adapter by XLR Pro (http://www.signvideo.com) or by Beachtek (www.beachtek.com). These are not available in Japan but you can easily get them from the U.S. by mail. From my research each have their advantages and disadvantages, but through discussions with a few people in the field who have experience with both, my impression is that the XLR-Pro is the best choice all around. A relative newcomer, which I own and have found adequate to the job is XLR-BP (http://www.studio1productions.com/xlr-pro.htm), although similar to XLR-Pro it does not make camera-specific mounts. Beachtek makes camera specific models which mount under the camera, while the XLR-PRO and XLR-BP are universal models to be used with virtually any camera with a mic jack. The XLR-BP is belt mount, while the XLR-PRO can be mounted under the camera or on the belt. Furthermore, the XLR-PRO uses transformers, while the BP does not. This limits you to mic level inputs and to using only short cables. The BP is in a plastic case and thus the circuit is not shielded. While it may work fine most of the time, provided you don't get it close to the camera motor, sooner or later you're likely to pick up interference and ruin a soundtrack. This is fine for home videos or for stuff you know you can reshoot without much trouble, but not for professional work. Ironically, the XLR-BP-PRO is also in a plastic enclosure, making the "pro" a bit of a contradiction. Note that both SignVideo XLR adapters and those by Beachtek are in metal enclosures.

3.1.3 Recommended cameras: SONYTRV-900 (200,000 yen range), SONYVX1000/2000 (250,000 yen range) SONY DSR-PD150 (our camera, has XLR). The PD150 gives you the best audio potential out of the box, however the DVCam format is less used and may not be supported by low end digitizers (even SONY’s own DVGate doesn’t!). Fortunately, it shoots in regular mini-DV too.) I belong to a public University. We buy SONY. There are other great cameras (better according to some) by CANON, Panasonic and others. Do your research, you don’t have to buy SONY and put up with their smug attitude. Note, however that DV formats can differ from maker to maker so there might be compatibility problems with other cameras and decks. Check this out before you buy the wrong player for your camera. You don’t absolutely need a player, the cameras work just fine for most work (we have only a standard VHS deck for downloading stuff to the internet). Any other format should work perfectly OK (Beta, VHS, Digital 8, VHS-8 etc.) because your final project will be much lower quality on the web than any of these formats. We bought Hi-end because we could afford it and wanted archival quality tape for posterity’s sake. We might be able to use these later on the web in a much higher quality format when bandwidth improves.

3.1.4 There are countless microphones out there. I found shopping for a microphone quite time consuming and in the end was limited to what I could easily get from my distributors here. I found Shure hard to get but anything from Audio Technica and SONY rather easy to do. I made lots of calls to the U.S. to really talk about these issues and make a good choice.

Issues for microphones:

directionality: omnidirectional, cardiod (directional) and hyper-cardiod

power: phantom/powered

Type: clip on, camera mounted (make sure you have a quiet camera), handheld, microphone stand.

Another great all-around directional mic. is the Shure 80 a handheld. Shure also has a nice series of mini-microphones with changeable cartridges for different directionalities.

4.0 Uploading video from camera to computer.

1. DV camera to hard drive (capture card)

    1. Analog camera to hard drive. (A/D converter)
    2. Clips from a VHS player.
    3. There are many programs for capturing, old macintoshes come with Apple Video Player that allows recording from Analog RCA or S video inputs.

 

5.0 Edit Video

Excellent programs are MEDIA 100, Premiere 6 (Premier 5 is weak), iMovie (Free on new macs, basic but great for beginners), Final Cut Pro (Hefty pricetag but rave reviews (180,000 yen was my quote for the English version)

Premier 6.0 (I was able to get a local distributor to come up with an English Academic Version). This included Cleaner EZ and Total Training for Premiere. This was the best spent 60,000 yen I can think of for my entire project because these are simply three great pieces of software.

Tip: there are many fun transitions in these programs. Use sparingly, be consistent.

6.0 Convert to a web-based video format

Programs which get programs ready for the internet:

One word: Cleaner!

Real Producer, Quicktime and Windows media all have a free version.

Which format?

  1. Real Video
  2. Here are some samples at different compressions in Real Video, you can test varying qualities and compressions on this site. Clip samples

     

  3. Quicktime
  4. Windows Media
  5. You can also try Director, but will not stream. Big drawback.

7.0 Upload to a server.

Your school or location might have purchased Real Server. Check it out. Realserver does not only serve REAL but can do other formats (at least Quicktime). You don’t need realserver. I placed one on my regular unix account and it works fine. It probably won’t stream multiple copies though, or might soon run into problems. Our Realserver plus server has a license for up to 64 simultaneous streams.

FTP program is needed to do the uploading.

On Macintosh I use Fetch! Free version available to academic users. My windows machine has FFFTP in Japanese. I didn’t download or install it, but I can fumble through the Japanese at a minimal level.

8.0 Create links on a web page that allows access to your materials.

One Word: Cleaner. It creates html code along with your document. Lovely!

Go to this link and check out the source HTML for the different formats.

Here are some sample HTML codes for some different formats.

9.0 Creating supplemental materials and interfaces.

Basic Supplemental materials.

  1. Outline of the video.
  2. List of questions the video is based on.
  3. Advanced organizer type questions.
  4. Transcript of the video.
  5. Anything else? It’s your turn.

Hot Potatoes

Button interface. See our link at:

 

SMIL (RealAudio only allows random access "in" points. "Out" point is always the end of the file. Of course the user can use a slider, stop and start but this is not the easy access we want). We are experimenting with SMIL for this.

 

 

10.0 Concluding Remarks/Q and A

2 Years later, you’ve placed all your courses on-line. You went to the first day of classes and passed out your syllabus. You are sitting on the beach in Guam, taking a break from your snorkeling: fresh squid sashimi, a cold beer, you log on to your server to check student home work. A 14 year old, barefoot, sun blackened boy comes up to you from the hotel concierge with a telegram from Japan.

From the University, great! You give the boy a dollar. He beams, "thank you sensei". You smile but your mind races to the contents of the envelope in your hand.

I got that research grant or maybe a promotion. "They loved the course materials I put on line, maybe that’s it" you puff.

You open the letter in anticipation, brain swirling with sun and beer. Your mouth smacking with the flavor of sea, soy and a scrawny but bold local wasabi that gets into your sinuses faster than sarin. Two words were all it contained. Two words in perfect English that summed up the dreams of every Japanese university president: "You’re fired."

 

A few resources:

Here you can see the BBC production of some similar materials:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/youmeus/videonation/video_nation_index.shtml

Computer Videomaker Magazine www.videomaker.com

Internet video: from camcorder to computer to the world, April 2000, 84-92.

www.adobe.com (Premiere) Downloadable 30 days free version available.

quicktime.apple.com

quicktime has free downloadable quicktime compression program.

Microsoft also has a downloadable creator for Windows Media

Mix magazine. If you want to get serious about sound. One issue per year (May) lists lots of pro audio resources.

Cline, Jim and Patrick Seaman, 1996. Website Sound. Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing. (see www.website.sound)

Audio on the Web: The Official IUMA Guide

Jeff Patterson, et al / Paperback / Published 1998

Cutting Edge Web Audio by Ron, Jr. Simpson / Paperback / Published 1998

Internet Audio Sourcebook by Lee Purcell, Jordan Hemphill (Contributor) / Paperback / Published 1997.

 

Recommended encodings for real audio and video:

http://www.realnetworks.com/devzone/downlds/RV8_RA8_encode_settings.pdf?src=010509realhome,rnhmpg_041301,rnhmsi,dlvrit,srvpl_040101,srvupsu_121100,ftrcomp_012501,srvupsu_121100,nosrc

RealSystem Producer Basic Information and Download.

 

 

2.0 Hands-on Session

In this section, my goal is to guide you in creating a sample audio for your web page. This is the easiest way that I have found and it requires only an AV macintosh and other free software.

2.1 Digitize sound using Sound Editor

2.2 Convert Sound Using RealAudio Encoder (or Realproducer G2)

1. create xsound.ram (xsound.rpm)

2. contents of xsound.ram (or xsound.rpm)

http://www.ipc.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/~teaman/sound/X.ra

3. edit your homepage:

Audio and clickable image html

<P><A HREF="3.ram"><FONT SIZE="+3">

<IMG SRC="XIMAGE.gif" WIDTH=34 HEIGHT=21 BORDER=0ALIGN=bottom>

</FONT>

</A></P>

Audio and clickable photo html

<P><A HREF="2.ram"><FONT SIZE="+3"><I><IMG SRC="conversation.gif" WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=120 BORDER=0 ALIGN=bottom></I></FONT></A></P>

Audio from clickable text

<P><A HREF="purpworm.ram"><FONT COLOR="#0000AF">PURPLE

WORM</FONT></A></P></CENTER>

4. make the file executable on a unix server (if necessary)

chmod 755 filename

3.0 More Details about doing web audio

3.1 Sound can be used from

Microphone

Analog Media: cassette/

Digital Media: MD/DAT

3.2 Digitizing Sound/Editing Sound

Macintosh

Sound Edit (free)

SoundEdit16 (Available in Lab)

Demonstration of how SoundEdit16 works(?)

PeakLE

IBM

Sound Forge

4.0 Web Locations for more information

4.1 Using different Packages

RealAudio

http://www.realaudio.com

Shockwave

http://www.macromedia.com

4.2 General Audio Software

Web Active Internet Audio Source:

http://www.webactive.com

Internet Audio:

http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/story/story_1347.html

My home page for examples:

http://www.ipc.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/~teaman/

Real Audio Homepage:

http://www.real.com

Homepage for book by the same name</a><p>

http://www.websitesound.com

Demo/Freeware for Audio:

http://www.synthzone.com/software.htm

5.0 Text Resources

Cline, Jim and Patrick Seaman, 1996. Website Sound. Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing. (see www.website.sound)

Audio on the Web: The Official IUMA Guide

Jeff Patterson, et al / Paperback / Published 1998

Cutting Edge Web Audio by Ron, Jr. Simpson / Paperback / Published 1998

Internet Audio Sourcebook by Lee Purcell, Jordan Hemphill (Contributor) / Paperback / Published 1997