Meeting recordings – tips, tricks, and best practices

Basics

  1. Watch chapter recording training video to learn why to do screen recordings, the recommended steps, and how to use the professional mic. Training recording is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5uZumu8XUg&feature=youtu.be .

Get speaker’s release

  1. Clear screen recordings with presenters in advance. Send them a copy of the release form if they aren’t already familiar with it. Some speakers won’t want to be recorded due to copyright concerns.
  2. Use this release form (Word doc or PDF). It was written specifically for the meeting recording initiative and is much simpler than the standard IEEE release form.
  3. Don’t forget to have the presenter sign it either before or after he gives his talk.

Making the screen recording

  1. When recording, prepare for things to go wrong. Useful equipment to have just in case:
  • Spare mic (recommendation: Jabra USB Speakerphone) – when professional mic doesn’t work with the recording laptop, or you want the convenience of a smaller mic, or speaker doesn’t want to use the professional mic. See audio tips below for a discussion on tradeoffs.
  • Separate laptop for recording – sometimes the speaker will want to use his laptop for presenting but doesn’t want the recording done on his laptop. See “separate laptop” tips below.
  • USB hub – for when you run out of USB ports on your recording laptop.
  • USB thumb drive with Camtasia Relay installed – even if you have it installed on the recording laptop, if you end up using a different laptop you can run it from the thumb drive
  • Webcam – sometimes it’s nice to be able to show the presenter or his props/physical demos. Note many webcams have a wireless mic built in too.
  • Wireless presentation remote
  • Audio jack splitter – sometimes needed with laptops that have a combined mic/headphone port
  • USB audio adapter – some laptops don’t have an audio jack
  • Power strip – in case you don’t have enough outlets to plug in the professional mic and laptop
  1. If you need a copy of Camtasia Relay recorder software, you can download it from https://ca-camtasia.ieee.org/Relay. If you need a password, see the tip below in this page. There are Windows and Mac versions including portable versions you can run from a USB thumb drive.
  2. Use USB thumb drive if recording from presenter’s laptop, then save recording to the thumb drive and upload from your PC instead of from the presenter’s laptop. If you’re paranoid about Camtasia Relay, make an extra copy of the recording files on your PC.
  3. If you need to use a USB hub, put slower devices (presentation remote, USB mic) on it. Don’t put your recording thumb drive on it unless you have no choice.
  4. The Camtasia Relay Add-In for Microsoft Powerpoint can save a few steps when recording Powerpoint presentations, but it can also intrusive when you’re using Powerpoint and not recording.

Getting the audio right

  1. This is often the trickiest step to get right, or at least “good enough”. Thoroughly check your audio before the start of the event.
  2. Tradeoffs on mics: (1) Professional wireless mic set (best audio, more compatibility issues.) (2) Jabra USB speakerphone (good audio up to 10 feet, very easy to set up), (3) internal mic (okay for personal recordings and if presenter is right next to laptop, avoid for anything else).
  3. Use Windows Sound Control Panel to make sure mic source is enabled. Also use it to disable internal mic so you don’t end up using it by accident.
  4. You also need to check audio setup in Camtasia Relay. Make sure it’s using the correct input source.
  5. Position the mic far away from noise sources like projector fans.
  6. Some presenters (usually less experienced ones) are uncomfortable using a handheld mic or a bodypack transmitter. If it’s a non-starter for them, most are okay with a Jabra speakerphone.

 Using a separate laptop

  1. If the presenter is using his laptop to present but can’t or doesn’t want to run Camtasia Relay on his laptop: (possible reasons – not enough USB ports; speaker is concerned software will interfere with presentation; speaker doesn’t want “foreign” USB attached to his laptop) use the spare laptop. You may either use the spare laptop to present (not always possible, e.g. speaker may want to demo software loaded on his laptop) or manually run “in sync”.
  2. If you might have to fall back to record on a separate laptop from the presentation laptop, get the slides BEFORE the presentation starts. You’ll have to pay attention to change the slides to stay in sync with the speaker.
  3. If using a separate laptop and Jabra speakerphone, place them near the presenter if possible. If you can’t sit near the presenter (sometimes awkward) use the wireless remote to flip the slides.

Converting the Camtasia Relay recording

  1. The Camtasia Relay recorder software saves the recording in a proprietary format. After you’ve completed the recording and have a network connection it will upload the recording files to a server (https://ca-camtasia.ieee.org/relay/) and convert them to mp4 format.
  2. After the server has completed processing your recording, you can find the URL for the mp4 file by clicking your presentation in the server presentations list then selecting the “View…” link. The server places the videos on com.
  3. If you run Camtasia Relay recorder from a USB thumb drive, you can have it upload the recording files immediately after you finish the recording or at a later time.
  4. You will need a Camtasia Relay account to upload and convert the recording files. Request an account from Ted Rozolis at trozolis@computer.org . Most sections use a single account for their whole section, but you can also set up additional accounts for your chapters and student branches. If Ted doesn’t reply within a couple days, ping him again.
  5. If you don’t have a Camtasia Relay account set up in time for your event, as a last resort use the account from John Walz’s demo (login: John Walz password: relay123). However, if you use John’s account then Camtasia emails about your recording will go to John instead of you. Include your name and section in the recording name so he knows who created it.

Publishing your recording

  1. Submit your recording (URL to an mp4 file) to nuxlabs.org. Contact Xun Luo (sherwoodluo@gmail.com) to get a nuxlabs account. Xun can also archive the speaker release forms for you.
  2. For the Streaming URL, you need to use the embed URL for your mp4 file. This is different from the screencast.com URL that you got in the conversion step. You can use the screencast.com URL but it won’t display correctly in the Gallery View.
  3. One way around this is to copy your mp4 file to Youtube and then get an embed code. Here are instructions for getting the embed code. Example: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ccGFDYiHsIM .
  4. Don’t be too verbose on recording descriptions since they get displayed in a very narrow column.

Using Camtasia Recorder instead of Camtasia Relay

  1. You can optionally use Camtasia Recorder, which comes with the paid version of Camtasia Studio. It’s much more powerful than Camtasia Relay but that means it’s also much more difficult to use with more things that can go wrong. Make some practice recordings before using it for a real event. Practice the entire workflow.
  2. You can purchase Camtasia Studio here. To get the IEEE price ($50 for Camtasia Studio, $48 for Camtasia for Mac) you need to use it for primarily IEEE use only. You also need an ‘@ieee.org’ email domain.

Please email Chris Gunning (cgunning@ieee.org) with feedback and additional tips and tricks!

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