Variation on Narrated Slides

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The Center for Instruction & Research Technology (CIRT) recently held its Open House for UNF faculty. One of the popular stops on the tour was the video studio. With the help from one of the CIRT Techs, Veronica, we talked to faculty about what a studio with a green screen (wall, actually) can do. I’ve talked about green screen production before, but how you think about something changes with the context. That context is now online courses at UNF.

One of the requests we get is to create Narrated PowerPoint (slide) presentations, especially for online courses. That typically consists of getting a faculty member some space to record – either their office, or another space – where they can record with a USB headset that they borrow from us. Then they have at it with the standard record narration feature of PowerPoint.

A step up from those presentations is using a screencasting program such as Camtasia (PC and Mac) or ScreenFlow (Mac only, but my favorite). With these programs, recording is similar to the standard narration feature, but you have the ability to directly publish to a site like YouTube. You can then embed the YouTube videos on web pages or in your LMS software.

Now there are several options for publishing narrated PowerPoint slides, and there are many screencasting options (besides Camtasia and ScreenFlow). However, the purpose of this post is to simply show you the setup and result of a relatively dynamic version of a narrated slide presentation. I use the word “slide” because the program I use is Keynote on the Mac, so I’m speaking of the generic term slides. You can use Keynote, PowerPoint, or Google Slides if you’d like.

The following video was created in the green screen studio using ScreenFlow to record the screen AND video. I then use the Chromakey feature to transparently layer myself onto the presented slides.

This serves as a quick example of a how-to for creating narrated slides with video overlay. The setup to record the slides and video is relatively simple. Stand in front of the green screen in the studio. Use ScreenFlow for recording the computer screen and use a Logitech USB webcam for the video recording. The USB webcam is used because it’s easily integrated into the recording process within ScreenFlow. Then the green is “keyed” out to produce the resulting video with myself in front of the slides.

The audio setup is a bit more complex, but that’s just because I want good quality audio, and not the audio from the webcam, which is only so-so and gives that hollow room sound. It is fairly easy to accomplish with a USB interface like a PreSonus AudioBox, or in my case a Zoom H4 using the built-in USB interface feature. We use the Sennheiser MKE600 shotgun microphone connected to the Zoom on a boom stand.

So what does the setup look like? Well the webcam can be mounted on a tripod, the laptop with ScreenFlow can be placed on a stand or table next to the webcam, as well as the recorder. ScreenFlow’s recording setup screen allows you to choose the video and audio inputs. In the picture below is the webcam on the tripod on the left, the laptop in the middle, and the recorder on the (lower) right.

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More detailed photos of the setup:

Let the experimentation continue.