Follow-my-face screencast

Here is my first successful use of my webcam’s “follow-my-face” software in a lecture screencast:

http://wirksworthii.nottingham.ac.uk/webcast/maths/Measure-Theory/MT8/

I think it has done a pretty good job! Note that the webcam does not move physically: the webcam’s driver software has a follow-my-face option, so the software just pan’s and zooms as it deems appropriate. Presumably this means a possible reduction in video quality, but in return I have far more freedom to move around. This must surely be a Good Thing!

It is nice to have good news to report on a Friday for once …

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3 responses to “Follow-my-face screencast

  1. So, what do people prefer of my “semi-automated” options?

    No webcam footage?
    A little bit of webcam footage at the start and end of the video?
    Fixed webcam view?
    Follow-me webcam footage?

    I think it is good to have footage of me visible when I am talking and not leaning over the tablet. If I could arrange for Camtasia to automatically hide the webcam footage whenever I lean over the tablet, that might be ideal!

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  2. I’ve only watched a few minutes but it seems to have done a reasonable job of following you. It’s a little slow if you make a lot of movements in quick succession. There has to be a reduction in quality if it is doing what you describe but in such a small window it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    I’d be interested to see a stress test – how far can you move before it loses you? How far back can you place the camera (to widen the range) and it still looks okay quality? A common complaint of recording lectures is losing the ability to move around.

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  3. At the moment I am using the webcam’s microphone too, for convenience (it’s not bad!). I could use my Sennheiser nicrophone, but I feel that it already takes me long enough to get set up for the class!
    However the use of the webcam microphone, along with the limited length of my extended USB cable, does give a limit to how far back the webcam should go.
    I’m probably going to try out some xtag bluetooth microphones next (whatever they are!) to see what the quality is like.
    I do quite like the smoothness. At least, I wouldn’t want it to follow my every movement instantly.
    It looks like I get better light in some lecture rooms than others, and this does affect the quality. But it is not like the bad old days when I had to take my own desk lamp with me!
    The METAL project has now bought a couple of iPads, and I’m going to try one of those next: there are some rather good and inexpensive apps for annotating pdf’s, and recording screencasts.

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