Instructional Design and eTeaching Services - Boston College

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Creating Online Media

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Overview

The two main forms of video delivered over the internet are streaming and progressive download. The Helix server deals only with streaming media. Streaming media is served by a specialized server. The media never really resides on your computer, it is played through your browser via a plug-in, or smaller application which provides your computer with extra features. For example, the Real and QuickTime Players are plug-ins which allow you to open media files. Many computers already have a player installed; if yours does not, free downloads are available through the links under Browser Setup below.

There are certain cases when progressive download is preferable to streaming. If you need to play something over and over quickly or jump from place to place in a video, then progressive download is a better choice. The first time a progressive download file plays, it gets saved to your hard drive. Once it has played, it can be managed in much the same way as a VCR. You can cue forward and reverse or jump to any spot with no buffering delay. The word "progressive," in this case, refers to the fact that the media plays the first time as it is downloading. Many people mistake this behavior for true streaming. Progressive download is generally not a good solution for lengthy video programs due to the amount of disk space required on the computer receiving the file.

Copyright Issues

Please be aware that any video files that are uploaded to a site must comply with the Teach Act. To ensure that you do not infringe upon copyright law please read the above link to "copyright issues." You may use the following link as a guideline also,copyright guidelines.

Recommended Formats

For web streaming, we recommend creating QuickTime and Real Media files.

MP3 and MPEG-4 files are not recommended at this time, because of technical difficulties associated with streaming them on the Helix server. MP3 files are recommended for use in Blackboard Vista, and can be uploaded directly onto Blackboard Vista sites. For further information, or assistance with using MP3 and MPEG-4 files in another setting, please contact Instructional Design and eTeaching Services eteach@bc.edu.

Recommended Compression Tools

If you are able to digitize your own media, the following table contains guidelines for free or inexpensive compression tools, suggested formats, bandwidth and syntax examples.

Macintosh

Windows

Recommended Compression Settings

Creating QuickTime Files

The following table illustrates settings used to create QuickTime files using programs such as QuickTime Player Pro, Helix Producer Basic, iMovie, and Cleaner (we recommend using the same settings if you are using other compression tools).

Options/Settings 56 K DSL Broadband
Compression Sorenson3 Sorenson3 Sorenson3
Quality Best Best Best
Motion 12 frames/sec 
10 for key frame/sec
24 frames/sec 
10 for key frame/sec
30frames/sec 
10 for key frame/sec
Data
Rate
30kbytes/sec 100kbytes/sec 150kbytes/sec
Sound
(voice only)
Qualcomm Pure
Voice, 24,100khz, 16 bit and mono, full rate
Qualcomm Pure
Voice, 32,100khz, 16 bit and mono, full rate
Qualcomm Pure
Voice, 44,100khz, 16 bit and mono, full rate
Internet
streaming/hinted streaming
select select select
Size-
width/height
160x120 or
120x90
320x240 or
400x300
320x240 or
400x300

Note: We are currently recommending Sorenson3 but this may change in the future.

For further information or assistance, please contact Instructional Design and eTeaching Services eteach@bc.edu.

Creating Real Media Files Using Real Producer 10

We recommend creating a SureStream file for 56K, 256k, and 384k.

1. To do this, click on "Audiences." A New window will open.

Audiences Button

2. Select "56K Dial-up," and then click on arrow button.

3. Select "256K DSL or Cable," and then click on arrow button.

4. Select "384K DSL or Cable," and then click on arrow button.

Connection Speed Options

5. Close the window.

For more documentation, please view Using Real Producer 10

Ways to Link Media Files

QuickTime

  • To open with the player:
    Example: rtsp://gulf.bc.edu/webct/hac/wow.mov
  • To embed in a web page:<embed src="wow.mov" width="320" height="256" autostart="false"></embed>

Note: This file must first be processed with a tool called MakeRefMovieX. You can get it here.  

Read Media

  • To open with the player:Syntax: http://gulf.bc.edu/ramgen/webct/hac/wow.rm
  • To embed in a web page:
    Syntax: <embed src= "http://gulf.bc.edu/ramgen/webct/hac/wow.rm" type="audio/x-pn-realaudio-plugin" controls="ImageWindow,ControlPanel" width=320 height=240 autostart="false"></embed> 

Resources

Know Your Audience and Their Limitations

Since your users may have different platforms and have a range of connection speeds, you should offer choices to accommodate both PC and Mac users with 56K, DSL, and Broadband connection speeds.

 

For assistance, please contact eteach@bc.edu.