Making Videos Interactive
Often when we talk about our work, we talk in terms of ‘what’ we did. The Showing My Work series of posts aim to also capture the ‘how’ something was done.
E-Learning Heroes Challenge #94 – Interactive Video: Visual Interviews in Online Training. The brief: This week your challenge is to create an interactive video interview.
Every so often David Anderson posts a weekly challenge that I know I want to participate in (even if it’s not in the current week) and this was one of those challenges. I haven’t done a whole lot with shooting my own videos (apart from the Smartphone Video challenge) so I wanted to have a go and complete this one at some point. I noticed that for some reason, there weren’t as many entries for this challenge and I wondered if folks thought that it would take too long or that they didn’t have the right equipment. My demo was put together fairly quickly (using myself as the victim, I mean subject, also saved some time) and my equipment was not high tech. While the result was a simple looking entry it still does the job and here’s how I did it.
On a recent plane trip for work, I mapped out my ideas on paper (as I usually like to do):
I didn’t want to create anything too big or too complex, so my idea was to use four questions and I would be in the centre of the screen with the questions around me. When you click on a question, the video answer would play. I also had an idea to add an ‘introduction’ clip which give some instruction as to what to do – so I’d need five clips altogether.
Over the past few weeks, I seen David and other Community members who had used video make them look more interesting by placing a cover over the video so that it didn’t have the standard rectangular video on a slide look. I really liked the idea and I wanted to try to do something similar. Here’s the slide with the video sitting on it:
and the same slide after the cover is put on:
I used PowerPoint to create my cover and the first thing I did was to set up my PPT slide in the same aspect ratio as my Storyline project (4:3). Then I inserted a rectangle the same size as the slide and then inserted a circle shape (with no fill) and positioned it in the centre of the rectangle. Then by selecting both shapes, I was able to use PowerPoint’s ‘Merge Shapes’ feature and ‘Combine’ to create a rectangle with a circular hole in the middle.
I filled the shape with my chosen blue colour and saved it as a picture that I was able to then insert into my Storyline project. I now had a cover!
In Storyline, the video intro sits on the slide itself (also known as the base layer) and each of the video answers sit on their own layer, so I also put my cover image on each layer too so that the demo would look the same as each layer is shown. I kept my questions simple and in keeping with the circle theme, I added four circles with a question in each. The triggers would be a simple ‘Show Layer’ when a question was clicked.
Now the framework of the demo was set and all I needed to do was record the video introduction along with the answers to each question. I don’t have a proper video camera or equipment, so I used Storyline’s ‘Record Webcam’ from the insert video options and recorded each of my answers using my laptop. As you can see my set up was very basic:
Yes, that’s our spare room which has all our clean washing that we need to put away (everyone has a room like that don’t they?) and my laptop is sitting on the clothes dryer to get the right height but you can’t tell from the clips although the sound quality could be better.
It took a few takes to get my eyes looking straight ahead and for me not to make a mistake with my answers, so it probably took about half an hour all up to record.
As I was putting the demo together, I had an idea that instead of separate video clips, I could include a GIF image of myself that would create the effect of me waiting for the next question. For this it sliced a five second clip of myself from one of my questions and went to a website called http://makeagif.com/ where I uploaded the clip and it created a looping GIF image for me that I could add into my demo.
Unfortunately this idea didn’t turn out as good as I would have liked for a couple of reasons, one was that the quality of the GIF wasn’t the same as the clips so it looked different and secondly I really needed to start and end each clip with the same pose and expression, which I tried to do but it didn’t quite work.
Because of this extra clip, I needed to add an extra layer to my project and the triggers became show the ‘GIF Layer’ after the introduction and then for each layer, it was show the ‘GIF Layer’ when the media completes (i.e. after each video on the layer had finished). So essentially the demo jumps from an answer layer to the GIF layer.
When I placed my videos on the slide and each layer, all I had to do was make sure the cover sat in from to the video file and adjust the position of the video so that my face is roughly in the middle of the circle.
After some testing and adding some animations I was ready to go. All up it took about four hours to put together and while it’s a simple demo, I think it works but you can see for yourself by clicking on the image below to launch the demo:
Let me know what you think and you can see all of my ELH Challenge entries on My Portfolio page.