Recording in Zoom
The Zoom portion of this workflow is pretty straightforward in that the primary target is to capture a recording and create a file one can then edit in Adobe Rush. There are a few choices that individuals will make in relation to their own set-ups, with additional equipment augmenting the setting selections one must make, but the overall purpose of the Zoom element here is to record, in a talking-head fashion, a video to share with students.
Step 1: Open Zoom. In Application Menu, select the Settings icon
Figure 1: Zoom Application Menu
- I aim to walk readers through some basic preliminary settings before recording videos in Zoom. But as a matter of habit/practice, I check all these settings before each recording.
Step 2: Select Video. Check settings & select camera
Figure 2: Zoom Setting Menu - Video
- Choose Camera. I typically use Logitech Webcam Pro 920 for most of my recording. But in the example below I have selected the built-in camera on my MacBook Pro (FaceTime HD Camera). (Note: Lighting plays a critical role in this process as it allows viewers to best see the presenter. Additionally, the background communicates information as well. So pay attention to lighting and background elements. In the image below, the lighting isn't great and it is shot in my kitchen, which can be a positive or a negative, depending on what I'm trying to convey.)
Step 3: Select Audio. Check settings, and select Microphone
Figure 3: Zoom Settings Menu - Audio
- Choose Microphone. If I am recording in my office, I use a USB Mic, but when recording at home, I typically use either corded headphones with a built-in microphone. The audio itself is crucial for these kinds of talking-head videos, so select the mic, test the mic, and make sure you can hear yourself cleanly and clearly.
Step 4: Choose Recording Setting
Figure 4: Zoom Settings Menu - Recording
- First, as we are creating a video recording, you want to choose where to save the recording (green arrow) so you know how to find it when we move to Adobe Rush. Second, and this is a valuable tip for other pedagogical applications I do with Zoom, turn on the "Record a separate audio file for each participant" (red arrow). If you have students use this tool for video interviews or as part of a podcasting workflow, this is an incredibly valuable selection.
Step 5: Close Settings Menu. Click New Meeting
Figure 5: Zoom Application Menu
Step 6: Once video feed loads, select Record. Then, choose Record on this Computer
Figure 6: Zoom Video Conference - Record Menu
- The purpose of choosing Record on this Computer is that it saves the file locally. When you record to the Cloud (if you have this option), the recorded file goes wherever the system is designed to save recorded media. In my particular case, it saves them to my Kaltura media gallery in Canvas, which is helpful if I just want to post the recording as is for my class. But I typically edit my recordings (owing to my own propensity for stumbles and restarts), and so I need access to an editable file. So, in this workflow, when in doubt, save to computer.
Step 7: Record Content
- This is the talking-head portion of this process. But note, I rarely do it right the first time. As such, my recordings nearly always have start/stops at the beginning that need to be edited out in the post-production process; or, as it increasingly the case, I end up starting and stopping and then restarting the recording a second time (and third, and fourth, etc.), which creates multiple file iterations. My advice to everyone is that failure is a natural (and often valuable) part of the process to success. Once I get in a rhythm, things are great and smooth and happen quickly. But I fail, repeatedly, the first time each semester (sometimes each week) as I work to find the right voice, style, purpose, and the like. And despite having notes ready, I often mess-up. What matters is not the number of takes in this process, but what is delivered to students and how these kind of media creations (and media-rich points of contact) improve my in-class discussions, augment in-class activities, and aid overall student understanding. Thus, to me, all my stumblings, bumblings, and awkward moments are completely worth it.
Step 8: Finish Content Delivery. Stop Recording. End Meeting
Figure 7: Zoom Video Conference - End Recording
Step 9: Video Conversion (happens automatically upon ending meeting)
Figure 8: Zoom Video Conversion Window
Step 10: Close Zoom. Open Adobe Rush
- At this juncture, the work in Zoom is finished. Now the challenge moves to editing the raw video, which requires some kind of video editing software. While there are many options for this work, I have found Adobe Rush to be incredibly useful for the simple kind of edits done in this workflow.
Editing in Adobe Rush
The first time users open Adobe Rush, it launches its own built-in tutorial. This is a very easy-to-follow guide for learning the key elements and functions of the tool. However, if wanting to skip that tutorial or just wanting to focus on pre-class and post-class video creations I'm talking about here, then below is a basic set of guides for how to create a project, add/cut video, add titles, images, and music, and share (export/render) the final video.
It is worth mentioning that there are far more sophisticated moves one can make with Adobe Rush beyond those covered in the either the built-in tutorial or in this basic production guide. As such, for a more thorough introduction to the practices and potentiality of Adobe Rush, you might check out Pedagogical Evangelist Todd Taylor's lessons and guides hosted at Adobe Education Exchange (listed and linked below):
Step 1: Create a New Project
Figure 9: Adobe Rush Project Menu
- The first time launching Adobe Rush will trigger the built-in tutorial, but once users have closed this (or launched the app after completing the tutorial), the launch screen should provide the option to Create a New Project (green arrow) or select among existing projects.
Step 2: Name Project. Find Zoom Recording
Figure 10: Adobe Rush - File Selection Menu - Finding and Naming
- With all media projects, file management is critical. So, as a first step, it can be helpful to name the file. Click the Project Name text (red arrow) and type in a project name. Second, users need to locate the Zoom recording that was just created. In my case, it was saved in a new folder (dated/stamped from Zoom) in my existing Documents folder (green arrow).
Step 3: Select created Zoom Recording. Click "Create"
Figure 11: Adobe Rush File Selection Menu - Selecting Files and Create
- Users should select their Zoom video recording (green arrow), and then click "create" (red arrow).
- It is important to note that users can add multiple files at the initial project creation stage, with each one selected being assigned a number and imported into the project sequence in corresponding order. While my recording for this post-class video did require two takes (evidenced by the zoom_0 and zoom_1 files below), I only need to use the second file (zoom_1).
Step 4: An Overview and Toggle Track Controls
Figure 12: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Overview 1
- While the actionable step at this point is to toggle the track controls (clicking the icon next to the green arrow), I also want to provide an overview (or part 1 of such a thing) of the layout of Adobe Rush, as this will make it easier to maneuver through the editing process.
- Edit/Share Menu: the view above is the Edit view of Adobe Rush. When the project is complete, we will use the Share view to export the final project in a shareable format.
- Project Tools: The blue "+" button allows users to add titles, additional media files (video, image, audio, etc.), or to even record a voice over element. The banker-box button (below the blue "+") opens the Project Assets menu, which displays all media assets in the production.
- Timeline/Sequence Area: Video editing works by creating media sequences (ordered groupings of media files) that unfold across a time. While we are working with only one video asset in this project (the talking-head, recorded content of Zoom), most video work includes multiple video assets that are placed and edited in sequence to create the visual (and auditory) content of the project.
Step 5: An Overview (Part two) and Split Clip (trimming the opening/ending)
Figure 13: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Overview 2
- With track controls now toggled on, one can see the individual video and audio tracks. Video editing works by not only putting different media into a given sequence (unfolding across time), but also by layering different visual and audio elements on top of one another (as we will see in the sample production).
- In this expanded view, additional elements to note are: the visual tracks, which allow users to layer different visual elements on top of one another; the audio tracks, which allow users to manipulate (and layer) individual audio files (separate from the native audio in a given video recording); the playhead, which shows were users are on the timeline (which displays in the monitor); the monitor/preview, which displays the current visual state (corresponding to the playhead); and the split/cut tool, which allows one to split or cut the selected clip at the playhead.
- The actionable step here is to move the playhead (blue marker) to where you want to cut the recorded video and then click the scissor icon (green arrow). Doing so will split the video into two segments. In this process, we cut/split the clip to either (a) remove the one-to-two second filler at the beginning of the recording or (b) remove the ending of the clip (i.e, that small bit where one finishes and then reaches to stop the recording).
- Once split into two, the orange bounding box highlights one of the two clips (this orange box indicates which item on the timeline is selected). In the case above, as I want to delete the smaller, beginning segment, so I need to click on that portion (which will cause the highlighted orange to switch to the smaller clip to indicate my selection) and then press the delete key on the keyboard.
- Repeat the above process for the end of the clip to trim off any unwanted video elements as well (most commonly footage of you reaching up to stop the recording in Zoom).
Step 6: Open Transition menu. Add 'Dip to Black' to clip (beginning and end)
Figure 14: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Transitions Menu
- Click the Transition menu button (red arrow).
- Select the video clip (once selected, it will have an orange box around it) and then select the desired transition (green arrow).
- By selecting the clip first before clicking the desired transition, the transition effect will be added to both the beginning and ending of the clip. If wanting the transition only on one end (e.g., fading in from black at the beginning), users can just click and drag the selected transition to the desired end of clip (see green arrow and dotted line).
Step 7: Open Title menu. Select title style and add to beginning of sequence
Figure 15: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Title Style Menu
- Select the Title menu button (red arrow). Note: Adobe Rush offers 65 preset title styles under the "Your Styles" tab. Some of these are static title elements, some of which are animated.
- Select title style and click and drag selection to timeline in front of the video clip (see green arrow and green dotted line). In the example above, I scrolled to the bottom of the title style choices and selected the Sunrise title style.
- Of interest to some users might be the Adobe Stock tab option (next to Your Styles tab near top of Title menu), which allows users to download and license ($$$) additional style presets from other creatives.
Step 8: Change Title text and design elements
Figure 16: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Title Menu - Edit Submenu
- To alter the title elements (text and shapes), move the playhead over the title element in the timeline, select the title element, and then click the Edit tab (red arrow) in the Title menu.
- To change the text, double-click click on the title text (blue arrow) in the preview/monitor area. To adjust the font, style, color, etc. of the text itself, select the text element submenu (purple arrow).
- To change the non-textual elements, identify the shape element to be altered and select its corresponding submenu. For example, to change the color of the background in the Sunrise title style from yellow to light blue, select the first "Shape (Shape)" submenu and then click the color box of the Color Fill (see green arrow) to choose a different color.
- To add other textual elements to the video, simply repeat this process. Note, however, if wanting to place the title/textual elements on top of the video rather than in front of it (i.e., on screen at the same time as speaker), then when dragging the title element into production timeline, place it on visual track 2 or visual track 3 and it will appear over the video currently located on visual track 1.
Step 9: Add Image and transition effect
Figure 17: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Project Assets & Transitions
- To add an image to the timeline, users need to open up the Project Assets menu by clicking the blue "+" button (see red arrow). This will open the asset submenu, allowing users to add either a Title, Media, or a Voice Over to the sequence (see quick video below). Select Media.
- Find the desired image in your computer files, click and drag it into the timeline where it goes.
- With the image selected, open the transition menu and select cross dissolve (blue arrow), adding the transition effect to beginning and end of image.
Video: sequence for adding media
Step 10: Resizing and relocating the image
Figure 18: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Transformation Menu
- Select the image on the timeline, which should highlight it with the orange bounding box. Click the Transform menu button (red arrow; represented by the classic icon for cropping an image).
- In the Transform menu, users can manipulate the basic properties of the image, from its positioning on the screen to its opacity, from its size (via scale manipulation) to feathering the edges of the image. In the example (below), I adjusted the image so that it appears in the upper left corner of my video.
Step 11: Adding Audio
Figure 19: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Adding Audio
- To add an image to the timeline, users need to open up the Project Assets menu by clicking the blue "+" button (red arrow). This will open the asset submenu, allowing users to add either a Title, Media, or a Voice Over to the sequence (see quick video above). Select Media.
- Find the desired audio file in your computer files (green arrow), click and drag it into the timeline on Audio Track 1 (green dotted line).
- At the bottom of the interface, users can manipulate the slider (blue arrow) to move forward/backward on the timeline. NOTE: you can also adjust the slider to expand or compress the timeline (i.e., zoom in/out) by clicking either end and dragging (making the bar smaller expands the timeline; making it wider compresses the timeline).
- While there are many software options for creating your own audio or even many internet sites from which to download sound files, one of my favorite is bensound.com. This site allows you to download royalty free stock music, with the only requirement being providing attribution to the site.
Step 12: Splitting Audio (& fade)
The sound file I brought into my composition was nearly 3 minutes and 30 seconds long, but I really only want to use the audio as an intro and outtro audio element. So, I need to cut the clip, delete the part I don't need, and add a fading effect onto the audio file.
Figure 20: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Split Audio
- Move the playhead to where you would like the audio intro to stop (red arrow). Then select the audio file (being sure the orange bounding box is around the audio file). Click the scissors icon (green arrow) to split the clip.
- Select portion to the right of the split and press the "delete" key.
- To add a fade-in/fade-out effect to the audio (so it feels smooth and doesn't just abruptly start or stop), select remaining audio clip (be sure it has the orange bounding box). Open Transition menu. Select "Dip to Black" (red arrow - Figure 21).
- If the fade effect was successful, you should see the transition icon present on the audio clip (green arrow - Figure 21)
Figure 21: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Add Transition to Audio
Step 13: Duplicating Audio
Figure 22: Adobe Edit Interface - Duplication
- To copy the edited audio intro (or any other element for that matter), users should move the playhead to the corresponding clip, select the clip (red arrow - also identified by orange bounding box), and click the duplicate button (green arrow).
- If successful, a duplicated version of the audio should appear in Audio Track 2. Then users can drag the new audio copy to the end of the production (to create an audio outtro).
- One helpful tip is to make sure the audio outtro extends just beyond the video so that the video can end (dip to black) while the audio still plays and then fades itself.
- An additional helpful tip: once I have the visual tracks set pretty much the way I want, I lock them so as not to accidentally change them or move elements. To lock a track (audio or visual), simply click the lock button (blue arrow) in the control tracks interface.
Step 14: Additional Components
Figure 23: Adobe Rush Edit Interface - Overview of Example
- While the total steps in this guide are meant as a basic orientation for how to create a quick talking-head post-class video with titles, images, and audio, users can repeat the steps to add additional elements. As such, in Figure 23 one can see in my final edit sequence that I have included two audio elements (green arrows), two image elements (purple arrows), and four title/textual elements (red arrows).
Step 15: Render Video
Once the editing is complete, the project still has to be rendered so that the raw video from Zoom now includes the edits and images and titles. I always tell students that this is the moment we actually bake the cake. For without this render/share step, all we have is cake batter, which isn't shareable in the same way.
Figure 24: Adobe Rush Share Interface
- To render the project into a video, switch from the Edit interface to the Share interface by clicking Share at the top of the screen (red arrow).
- In the Share interface, click in the File Name space (green arrow) and type in the desired file name.
- To change where the final video file will be saved, click the folder icon next to "Save to...".
- Once the name and "Save to..." destination are set, click the Export button (blue arrow) and wait for render to complete.
- Note: users who have connected Adobe Rush with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Behance can share directly with their accounts on those site. However, what I am describing here involves creating a video and then sharing it with students via a CMS/LMS (i.e., Canvas). As such, I always save the file locally on my computer (which you can see selected in Figure 23, under the Destinations settings on the top left).
Step 16: Share with Students
- Once the rendering process is complete, the video can be uploaded and shared like most other files. I typically share my creations with students via Canvas (our LMS), but the work can be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and shared via those video sharing services.
ENG-R211 - Post-Class Feedback - Jan. 16, 2020
The overall process is rather easy to do, particularly given the ease-of-use of both Zoom and Adobe Rush. But, to be fair, like with any new workflow it may seem a bit cumbersome at first and take longer than preferred. However, with a bit of practice and preparation, these short videos can be banged out in 15 minutes or so, and that 15 minutes can make a notable difference in students experience and engagement with the course.