How to use AutoView
In order to put together an AutoView presentation you will need an Adobe Flash file which contains the slides and a video file which can be played as a progressive download from Moodle, or alternatively a video loaded onto a streaming video server.
Automatic Slide Preparation
EA-LLP has a document conversion service which can be integrated with the AutoView module and used to Automate the slide preparation steps detailed below. Access to the document converter is included when you purchase the Lecture Capture Live plugin for AutoView.
If you do not have the document conversion service available on your server, you will need to follow the manual slide preparation steps below.
Manual Slide Preparation
Slides can be prepared in PowerPoint (or other similar software), but you will need to import your slides into OpenOffice Impress to create the final Flash movie. Once you have your slides in OpenOffice Impress, use the File>Export menu option. Select Adobe Flash (OpenOffice Converter) from the file format drop down, choose a file name and save the slides. OpenOffice does not normally include animations in the flash export.
Alternatively, if you can convert your presentation to a PDF (eg using PDFCreator), this can then be converted to a suitable flash slide file using the Swftools PDF2SWF utility. The Windows version now comes with a Graphical interface. You should make sure that the 'insert stop after each frame' settings on the options screen is set to 'yes' before converting any slides. Presentations converted in this way should use the Flash (AutoView converter) slide type.
Flash slides created as separate files (eg by iSpring Pro) can also be used with the Flash (Separate files) slide type. You should put all of the files into their own folder, with the files named in the following way : slide1.swf, slide2.swf, slide3.swf ..... etc.
You might be able to use Flash files created by other PPT>SWF conversion software, but this has not been tested. Neither have we tested using slides created directly with the Adobe tools. You should try such slides with the Flash (AutoView converter) slide type, which is most likely to be compatible with generic flash files.
Please Note : AutoView cannot trigger animations within flash slides, so if there are any animations present in your slides, they should be set up to play automatically after the slide has loaded.
Alternatively, if you can't access OpenOffice to create the flash movie, you can use a set of image files. Manual creation of these files could be quite laborious, you will need to export your presentation as JPEG images (PNG and GIF can also be used if you prefer) and then create four separate sets of images at different resolutions with the following naming scheme (XXX is the slide number). All the images should be placed in the same folder, with the files named according to the following scheme :
- 160x120 pixels, filename=imgXXX_1.jpg
- 512x384 pixels, filename=imgXXX_2.jpg
- 640x480 pixels, filename=imgXXX_3.jpg
- 800x600 pixels, filename=imgXXX_4.jpg
eg : If you have a presentation with 3 slides, you should end up with the following files :
img001_1.jpg img001_2.jpg img001_3.jpg img001_4.jpg img002_1.jpg img002_2.jpg img002_3.jpg img002_4.jpg img003_1.jpg img003_2.jpg img003_3.jpg img003_4.jpg
Having an image based set of slides will enable the slide thumbnails to be used with your presentation, so this is an essential step if you need the thumbnail capability.
Preparing the Videos
The AutoView Lecture Capture Live plugin can be used to record videos directly onto your server without any need to prepare or encode separate video files on your computer. However, if you do not have this plugin, or you have a pre-existing video which you wish to use with your presentation, then the information below will help you to prepare your video for use with AutoView.
In theory any video which can be played by one of the supported video plugins could be used with these presentations. In practice, you would want a video that has been prepared with the following criteria in mind :
- Encoded for progressive playback, ie it can be played as it is downloading OR
- Encoded for video streaming from a dedicated server
- Low bit rate, 56k for modem use or 256k-512k for broadband.
- The following file formats are recommended
- Flash Video (.flv)
- ISO MPEG 4 (.mp4)
- Quicktime (.mov)
- Windows Media (.wmv or .asf)
- Real Player (.rm)
MPEG 4 and Quicktime files can both be encoded using Quicktime Pro. VideoLan VLC is also capable of encoding MPEG 4 files which are also compatible with Quicktime. Real player files can be created with the free RealProducer Basic and Windows Media files (also usable with Silverlight) with the Windows Media Encoder. The Riva FLV encoder is recommended for flash video.
Please note, Silverlight can't play all the encoding formats supported by .wmv/.asf files, so if your videos won't play in Silverlight, please check your encoding settings.
Uploading to Moodle
Upload the slide and video files in the normal way (You will need to set a reasonably large upload limit on your Moodle server). Once the files are uploaded create a new instance of the AutoView Module in the normal way.
The module requires two parameters, the first is a name, the second is an XML configuration file which AutoView will use to store the presentation data. AutoView is designed to be portable, using a separate XML configuration file instead of storing information in the Moodle database will make it easier for us to produce implementations for other Virtual Learning Environments (VLE's) and for presentations to be moved between them, or used outside of a VLE. This file will be created for you by AutoView if you don't have one already using a default file name, although you can choose one for yourself if you want.
Editing A Presentation
Once you have saved these settings, you can view the resource in Moodle. Click the Switch on editing mode button to start creating a presentation.
The next step is to add a video source, click the Add Video Source button. Select the type of video you wish to add (Quicktime, Windows Media, etc) and then choose the video file. Here you can either enter a full URL of a video stream, or choose a file uploaded to your Moodle server using the select button. Click the Update button when you have finished.
Once you have a video, you need to add a set of slides. Click the add slide source button, ensure the slide type is set to Adobe Flash and then choose the slide URL by either typing in the file menu, or choosing a .swf file by clicking the select button. Again, click the Update button when you have finished. Be sure to set the number of slides and click the adjacent Set button before moving on.
You are now ready to enter the slide titles. Click the Editor button at the top of the editing window. In this window you can set the title of each slide, simply pick the slide from the drop down box on the right and enter the title in the Set Current Slide Title section, clicking the set button after each one.
Once you have set the slide titles, the linking between the video and the slides can be set up. Press the play button on the video plugin to start the video. Every time you reach a slide change point in the video, click the Move and Set button. Do this until you have set time indexes for all the slides. You can manually adjust the time indexes by typing in a time index into the boxes on the left, the format is Minutes:Seconds.Tenths.
If you are happy that everything is correct you can now switch of the Editing mode and watch your presentation.
- All of the video plugins should work in the editing mode, but we have found that Flash and Quicktime are the most responsive plugins. If you don't have Quicktime pro, it is possible to create a Quicktime compatible MPEG4 video using VideoLAN VLC or FFMPEG.
- Note the Sync on/Sync off button next to the slide titles drop down box. This toggles on and off. It is advisable to switch the sync off when you are editing slide times (this should happen automatically if you use the 'move and set button), but remember to switch it on again when you are reviewing the presentation, or the slides will not be changed as the video plays.