Course Code: AV2_EN
Audiovisual and multimedia tools for volunteering - Intermediate level
The intermediate level course in ‘Audivisual and Multimedia Tools for Volunteering’ offers practical suggestions on the effective use of instruments and techniques for multimedia communication within the non-profit sector. In particular, the course is shaped in 2 main modules, respectively devoted to:
1)Video-making, especially focusing on the shooting techniques (if you are interested in other aspects of video-making please see also the basic and advanced levels of this course in REVEAL2 platform, mainly focusing on planning, editing and post-production);
2) Most commonly in use tools for conference calls, that nowadays represent a fundamental mean of communication, especially for those organisations that are involved in projects with other partners.
Author/Source: CSV, Roberto Stanchi, Eva Duskova, Ivana Petrovski, Francesca Di Toro, Ilaria Giangiordano, Alessandro Fusillo, Zoltan Bujdoso, Marlena Siwek, Arantxa Toriza Perez
Tags: VIDEO-MAKING, INTERNET TOOLS FOR CONFERENCE CALLS AND WEBINARS
Starting: 23/07/2015 Ending: 23/07/2017
Module 1: Video-making
Focusing, diaphragm and zoom
Let´s record the same subject with three different tools: a mobile phone, a camera and a video camera. Now observe the differences.
The mobile phone is too light to produce stable images, the audio is not good and the resolution is low, but we all have a mobile phone with us all the time. As for the camera, images are good but the audio is really poor. However, it´s possible to change lenses in order to achieve really good frames. The video camera, compared to mobile phones and cameras, allows you to record high-quality video and audio and remember that the technical expression for recording is “framing”.
Now let´s see some video camera and camera components that are essential for our shots.
The focusing adjusts the clearness of the image, based on the distance of the subject to be recorded.
The diaphragm is a lens aperture controlling the amount of light in the image.
The zoom is used to visually get closer to the subject you want to record.
Angles and movements
Framing is the part of the video recorded from the moment in which you push the button “rec”, until the one in which you push it again to “stop”. The “rec” button corresponds to the “Lights, camera, action!”. Let´s try to film some examples of the main framing and remember that when the environment is predominant, we speak of fields, while if the human figure is the main subject, we speak of levels.
Some useful tips
Let´s see some possible framings, to explain the angles and movements you can perform with your video camera.
First of all, plan your filming session, don´t improvise! Walking while recording is a difficult technique for beginners. Actually it´s performed by professionals with very expensive equipment. Another good basic rule is to film an action – and not create it -; therefore avoid all those movements that tend to follow your subject, including an excessive use of panning shots and zoom. Furthermore, it’s a bad idea to skip from one subject to another, just to include everyone in the video. Change often angles to offer different perspectives. Before you perform a close-up shot, make sure you also performed a wide one, to give the audience the idea of what they are watching. While filming, especially if the subject is moving, try to anticipate its movements, to capture the best image.
To perform a panning shot, you have to clearly establish your starting and arrival points. Record your starting point for 3 seconds, start the panning shot, get to the arrival point and keep on recording for 3 seconds; then push the “stop” button. Avoid placing every subject in the frame centre and don´t remain in one point all the time, but look for different angles to film. Also avoid an excessive use of zoom techniques: use them to compose the image, but don´t do it while recording. When you film children or animals, try to keep your video camera on their eye level. Don´t record just 2 or 3 seconds per frame: shots must be at least 5 up to 10 second-long.
While filming, always remember that after you will have to edit the video!-
If you have the chance, use a tripod: it gives your images a more professional look.
The tripod is a stand that provides the video camera – or, as in this case, the camera – with stability. In this way, you can avoid vibrations or shakings that would cause unwanted effects.
If you don´t have a tripod or it´s not possible to use it, try to work with the aid of stand levels, otherwise perform free-hand shots; to ensure stability, imagine your video camera is a glass full of water and try to stay still as much as possible, paying attention even to your breath.
If it´s possible, use an external microphone. This one, for example, is a directional microphone and here you have two examples of wireless microphones, generally called handheld microphone and bug. Try to place it as close as possible to the audio source. Use headphones while filming and don´t move the its cable.
When you choose a place for your recording session, bear in mind your audio needs: discard too noisy places and always take into account natural factors, such as wind.
Try to maintain as much silence as possible on the set.
Having a good film lighting makes usually a difference between an amateur video and a professional one. If you can, use the sun: it’s for free! Try to record a video at the time of the day that photographers prefer, that is to say immediately after dawn and a little bit before sunset, when shadows are less intense. Pay attention not to film back lit. When recording outdoors, make sure that the sun is always at your back and use something white to reflect and eliminate unwanted shadows.
During an indoor filming session, try to illuminate your set as much as possible by using all the artificial lights available. In the end, remember to use the same lighting for the whole duration of a scene.
When you have no choice but to record a video in different days, try to adjust the camera to achieve the same lighting used in your first shot and don´t forget to wear the same clothes. If you don’t manage to solve light-related problems while recording, the last chance you have is to improve the lighting during the editing.
Module 2: Internet tools for conference calls and webinars
Internet Tools for Conference calls and Webinars
Here below you will find some useful suggestions:
Nowadays, video conferences are being used far more frequently than in the past, not only within the Business Sector, but also in the Third one.
The greater availability of tools and services for video conferences – that can be carried out both via PC desktops and mobile devices -, has incredibly simplified the management of the relationships an organisation has with its volunteers and project partners, by erasing the need to physically move from a place to another.
Furthermore, video conferencing turns out to be an effective money-saving tool, for it allows people to comfortably interact with each other from their own office in any world place, thus avoiding travel expenses.
In holding group meetings via video conferencing, there are some simple, but essential rules to be kept in mind.
First stepts - How to start
1. Establish some Rules
Before starting, it is necessary that participants know and understand well the rules that you want them to follow, since this can help the meeting go more smoothly, thus allowing you to communicate the message more effectively.
2. Ease the use of Technology
In arranging a video conference, you should make sure that all the attendants can see, hear and be heard by the other interested parties. As far as the video is concerned, make certain that people make accurately all the operations needed to make their webcam work; while, as for the audio, it is worth asking them to converse, to make sure that there are no problems with their microphones. Furthermore, if the meeting participants are not familiar with the technical facilities you are using and do not understand how they work, show them with practical examples how the platform you are using functions, so that they can get acquainted with the system.
3. Speak Clearly
It is important to pronounce worlds clearly and slowly, so that all the attendants can understand them well. If somebody is speaking, it is worth making sure that he/she has finished talking, before replying.
4. Coordinate the Discussions
If more than one person needs to talk during the video conference, then it is a good idea to disable other participants’ microphones. In this way, there will be no interruption while somebody is speaking or if an attendant has a question to ask.
By following these suggestions, you will be able to make video conferences in a proper and efficient way. You must remember that, hand in hand with the technical facilities used, you will simply have to apply good manners.
IF YOU ARE WONDERING…
• Which is the best video conferencing system to hold online meetings?
• Which devices do I need to do that?
• Is it possible to make a video conference using a simple PC and an Internet connection?
• How to arrange a video conference with attendants who do not have a fast connection?
• How much bandwidth do I need to make a video conference?
• I need a webcam, but I do not know which one to choose. What do you suggest doing?
• Which are the best free services to make Internet video conferences?
• Which are the best for-fee services or softwares to make video conferences?
These are only some of the hundreds of questions that thousands of other people like you ask themselves daily when, to reach their aim, they need to arrange their first video conference and make it work.
Actually, organising and carrying out a video conference on the Internet is not that difficult as it could seem.
What is important is, first of all, to identify your specific needs and accordingly choose and test the service that, among the many ones available, best suits your necessities (for fee/free, participants number, possibility of sharing the screen, possibility of recording the event, etc.).
Generally, the best video conferencing services have a reasonable and affordable cost and can be purchased by anyone without spending a significant amount of money. As a matter of fact, market prices range from at least 20-25 euros a month on up, depending on the quantity of options and participants you desire.
Furthermore, there are plenty of services allowing you to make video conferences involving 2 or more attendants absolutely for free. Maybe these are not always the most adequate tools for a meeting with the chairman of an important society or a for-fee seminar, but they can turn out to be extremely useful and perfectly functional on several other occasions.
How to choose the ideal solution to do video confrencing
Here you have some basic suggestions on how to move your first steps to be able to immediately carry out a video conference with two or more people:
• Check your Internet connection quality: the higher the quality of your webcam (especially if working in HD) and the attendants number are, the larger the bandwidth you need must be. If you do not have a good Internet connection, other participants video images might arrive later than the sound, or be slow or choppy;
• Provide yourself with a webcam. Ideally, you should use a wide-angle video camera;
• Equip yourself – if you still have not ones – with headphones with microphone, so that you can hear and be heard without any problem, echo or reverberation effects or other noises typical of video conferencing. Headsets with microphone guarantee the best situation possible to be able to communicate and be clearly heard with no bad surprises;
• Download immediately one of the free or for-fee video conferencing softwares available on the Web and install it on your computer.
How to do video conferencing immediately and completely for free with skype!!!
In order to choose the video conferencing system that best suits you among the many ones available, there are several aspects, features and functionalities that can be used as selection criteria.
Here you have the main ones, to guide the selection process:
• Number of simultaneous participants on screen: how many people can take part concurrently in the video conference?
• Audio/Video quality: how is the audio and video quality?
• Integrated text chat: is it possible for the attendants to exchange text messages during the video conference?
• Recording option: is it possible to record the video conference?
• Other collaboration features: there are other functionalities, such as documents and files sharing, the possibility of sharing the screen or showing presentations, etc.);
• Software or Web-based video conferencing system: must the chosen system be downloaded and then installed, or not?
How to do video conferencing immediately and completely for free with Google Hangouts!!!
It is possible to arrange a video conference within few minutes with Skype
, the most widespread programme in the world to communicate with other people using the Internet network.Skype builds upon the VoIP technology
, that converts human voice to digital impulses and transmit them through the Web.
Here you have some of its main features:
• Video conferencing with up to 9 people;
• Worldwide low-cost calls (starting from 2,2 cents, VAT included);
• Text Chat with 2 or more people;
• Heavy files sharing;
• Screen sharing.
Let’s see how it works:1. Download SkypeTo download Skype
, you only have to go to the official website and select your operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux).
Once you have downloaded the desired file, install it on your computer. The installation procedure is guided.2. RegistrationTo use Skype
you must sign in, since the programme needs to associate to each user a name and an email address, in order to make them recognisable and traceable.
Then choose the email address you normally use, a unique username that will identify you (we suggest that you utilize your name and surname in lowercase letters, as in “johndoe”), the place where you are currently, and add a picture that will help your contacts to identify you.3. ContactsOnce completed the installation procedure
, it is now time to add your contacts.
Click the “Contacts” menu and select “Add contact”. You will find yourself in front of a search window (like Google’s one) that will allow you to type a contact’s username or email address.
Skype will provide you with a contact list that matches your search. Next to each contact, you will find his/her place of residence, in order to avoid cases of homonymy. Repeat the same operation for all the contacts you want to add.4. Video calling
You are almost ready to do video conferencing! Now you just have to double click the user name you want to call and Skype will start the call for you.
At this point, you will hear a sound similar to a traditional ringing of the phone, while the person who are calling will receive a message on screen inviting him/her to get in touch with you.
Once the receiver accepts your call, you will find yourself in front of a big box showing you his/her video and you will be able to hear his/her voice through your computer speakers (we suggest using headsets with microphone for a better acoustics);5. During the call
you can also use the text chat to exchange text messages with your interlocutor, send files and also share your screen (this will allow you to help somebody solve a problem on his/her personal computer remotely).
Remember that you can video call another user only if he/she is online, like you. If you try to get in touch with an offline user, he/she will receive a missed call notification (as it happens with mobile phones) as soon as he/she logs in on Skype;6. Make sure you have properly set up your microphone and webcam
through the “Settings” menu, for an optimal performance during the communication. If you own a computer with integrated webcam and microphone, do not worry: Skype will set everything automatically.
According to Skype Conditions of use, group video calls are subject to a 100-hour conversation limit per month, with no more than 10 hours a day and 4 hours for each video call. Once exceeded this limit, the video will be disabled and the video call will be converted to a vocal one.Ideal requirements to do video calling with SKYPE
According to the number of people involved in the call, your computer must meet the following requirements (most computers of last generation at least meet the minimum requirements):
Video calls with 3 people
GOOGLE Hangouts allows you to make free face-to-face video conferences with up to 9 other people
You must have:
• A Google account;
• The Hangouts plugin to use Hangouts on Firefox and Safari. If you use a Chrome browser, you do not need to install a plugin, but you do need to allow Hangouts to access your computer’s microphone and camera, so that you can start a video call.
You can sign in to Hangouts on more than one device:
On a computer
Hangouts is automatically turned on in Gmail;
Hangouts is automatically turned on in Google+;
• CHROME BROWSER EXTENSION
To see your Hangouts windows outside of your browser one, download the Hangouts Chrome extension. A Chrome browser or a Chrome OS device is required. You can not use Windows 8 Metro Mode;
• CHROME DESKTOP APP
The app is supported on Windows, Chrome OS, Mac and Linux operating systems.
On a mobile device
Download the Hangouts app for Android devices;
Download the Hangouts app for iOS devices.
Use Hangouts with Google+
To start Hangouts with Google+ circles or share your Google+ pictures, a Google+account is required.
How to start a video call
1. Sign in to Hangouts on Gmail or Google+
Gmail: click the Hangouts icon on the bottom left side of the screen;
Google+: click the Hangouts icon on the top right side of the screen.
2. Select one or more people from your Hangouts contacts list. As an alternative, click the “Search” button and type a name or an email address. Once you have found the desired contacts, click their name.
To start a group video call, select the boxes corresponding to all participants’ names.
3. Click the video camera icon .
Ideal requirements to do video conferencing with GOOGLE HANGOUTS
Processor Minumum Requirements:
• Any 2 GHz dual core processor or greater.
• For 1:1 connections we suggest a 1 mbps/1 mbps (up/down);
• For group video connectivity we suggest 1 mbps/2 mbps (up/down).