Archive for the ‘video’ Category

Recording POV video in the training workshop

March 24, 2009

recording POV video in the training workshop

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

The EDUPOV spyglasses arrived yesterday, so today I took them to Eagle Farm after familiarising myself with the operating procedure. Not wanting to risk damage to the glasses from flying stone particles, dust or water, I bought a $17 pair of safety goggles to protect the equipment. Although the video quality is slightly reduced, wearing safety glasses is a requirement of workshop and site activities. The spy glasses case fits snugly inside the goggles, and hang from a lanyard around my neck when they’re not in use. I recorded a short video clip, converted the file format, edited the dodgy bits, and then uploaded it to accompany the Flickr photos.
At first, I found it difficult to know when the device was recording, and where it was pointing. These will be the skills I need to practice. The recording format is 3gp, used by mobile phones.
Converting, editing and uploading
I use Windows Movie Maker to make movie files, but because the 3gp format is not compatible with it, I used Zamzar to convert the file to AVI format. It was then possible to import the converted file into Windows Movie Maker, cut the dodgy bits, and save in WMV format.
I uploaded the short video clip to Flickr, accompanying the few photos in myEDUPOV set – and, as my recording skills improve, I’ll continue to add to the Youtube EDUPOV video pool.


Stonemasonry demonstration

January 26, 2009

Stonemasonry demonstration

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Australia Day 2009 at Samford Museum

A repository of Aussie culture, Samford Museum hosted their Australia Day celebration supported by the newly-formed Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Camp Mountain granite, quarried in the Samford district, was used to build Brisbane City Hall’s foundations.

A slideshow tells the story of traditional stone-working tools and techniques, and, inserted after slide #64, a Youtube video clip features a bit of the stonemasonry trade skills demonstration.

Saucing the stew: Streaming video chunks.

August 7, 2008

integrating videostreaming in trade skills training
Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry
This topic was discussed at a VeMentoring videoconference on 8th July 2008. Stream the archived recording (1 hour) in the Videolinq Mediasite presentation catalogue.

Adding ingredients.
Recently, I had the opportunity to present trade skill processes in streaming video. I helped to produce eight video streams – each video stream accompanied with an annotated PowerPoint presentation, and voice-over added – with little video recording and production experience.

The video streams address the geographically-spread Queensland stone industry. Additionally, the products are as accessible in the TAFE classroom as they are at home or in the workplace.

Guided by Stonemasonry industry training package specifications, each video stream is a discrete learning object addressing a separate learning need. Lessons are created by linking streams with other relevant materials.

The project provided exposure to skills necessary for creating further video streams. Feedback from students suggests that video streaming is a powerful way to access information – adding flavour to traditional TAFE learning.

I have not yet sought industry feedback, but the bite-sized chunks are aimed at their immediate business needs. The content can easily be adapted to suit any trade skill situation – although our video clips were produced in the TAFE stonemasonry workshop, they could just as easily have been made in any industry location.

The taste test.
Video streaming addresses the senses: Sight, Hearing, Touch… if only we had Smelevision. TAFE Queensland’s Videolinq video streaming hosted at Mediasite is just right for visual learning – clear, sharp slide images, and a video viewing window that fills the whole screen at a touch. Clickable buttons allow learner interaction. Just for fun, I suggest that the fast & slow video selectors could be re-labelled: give the teacher HELIUM and give the teacher VALIUM.
When TAFE Queensland Videolinq manager Paul Crosisca generously offered the stonemasonry team some time with videographer Daniel Hausin, my colleagues Michael & Daniel and I arranged to video record hands-on activities. Paul stressed the need for high-resolution video files which, when compressed for streaming, would pass the taste test.

The streaming media give learners a chance to respond to review questions, answer opinion polls and go to related websites. Using a mouse during a presentation, learners choose to jump forward or back by slide, even leaping to other streams. Narrating each slide adds a professional touch to the presentation. The narrative replaces blocks of text which can be so off-putting for trade skill students. Here then is a chance to present detailed statistical information about the topic while learners’ eyes and hands are occupied.

Integrating video streaming in the trade skills classroom.
The trade skills training workshop is a safe place for students to explore new techniques. Trained instructors lead apprentices to discover a broad range of techniques that underpin all of their workplace activities.

In the trade skills classroom, video is a useful way to present trade skills because it effectively engages students, particularly when it is accompanied with close-up images and a narrative. Linking video streams to the SkillsTech Australia Learning Management System provides re-usable classroom resources that can also be accessed remotely. Logged in to the LMS, students will be able to choose from a menu to review information presented via classroom computers. Likewise, students with Internet access in the workplace or at home can pre-view activities in upcoming classes.

Stirring the pot.
Videostreaming offers a way to link with employers in the stone industry. Through Videolinq, supervising tradesmen have a window into the TAFE training workshop, and skill assessment candidates can be informed about skills in which they will be examined.

In front of the video camera in the stonemasonry workshop, we hoisted, split, cut and then dressed a sandstone block, demonstrating a series of process skills while Daniel Hausin recorded our actions. We carried on as if we were training students in our normal way. This approach made editing difficult later on; however, it was a necessary start point for our learning.

video streaming by you.

Video streaming trade skills: link to the st0nemas0nry Flickr image

Editing video data.
After we had finished, Daniel Hausin sent the ‘raw footage’ to Videolinq in Mackay for uploading. From Mackay, Paul arranged a videoconference and I took part in the editing process from Brisbane. When the video editing was completed, I received a link to each video stream web location so that I could then prepare appropriate PowerPoint slides.

Preparing slides.
This blog update journals the process I used to create PowerPoint slides from original video footage. The slides display screen-captures of the streaming video. The large, sharp close-ups emphasise every point being made in the smaller video screen. To create slides, I screen-captured the scene each time the activity changed, noted the time on the streaming video clock and then added a heading. Doing this gave me a clue for planning storyboards – more about that later.

Slide headings and timings.
The slide heading laconically describes the activity happening in the video screen, and a voice recording – narrated to fit the length of the slide – provides a detailed explanation. After the slide headings are created, they are copied to a separate document which lists the timings for each slide. This arrangement mimics the slide layout used by the Videolinq team to arrange the slides, in that a space near each heading provides room for text which is voice-recorded and added to each slide.

Slide narration.
Narrating each slide further engages learners’ attention, combining visual and auditory stimulation. As suggested by my Ve-Mentor Karen Fainges, I use a USB headset with my Windows voice recorder.

Feedback from students about my first voice-recording efforts included: “professional… fills the gap… robot-voice.” I made a note to include more expression while enunciating my words. Videolinq staff suggested that I speak more naturally and use less emphasis on small words such as “the” and “in.” With an ear for improvement, I now listen to professional presenters more closely.

Videolinq’s streaming video presentations offer a degree of learner interactivity. Students choose to either play the video from beginning to end without interruption, or they can increase or reduce the playing speed to focus on bits of information most important to them. The slides offer a way to “chunk” information according to the slide timings – the student can quickly reach relevant information by “clicking through” the slides. Both the slide screen window and the video window zoom to fill the screen at a click.
The Poll tool gives feedback from learners about the presentation to the presenter. There is an “ask” button which opens a blank email addressed to the presenter, and links can also be added at the bottom of the page.

The next phase.
Future video presentations won’t be undertaken in the same manner as described above. Simply recording workshop activities does not provide a quality product because there are processes happening during a physical demonstration that are communicated differently in a video presentation. As an example, the fact that eye protection is worn during a demonstration would need to be heavily emphasised in the video version with specific references and clear images of the type of goggles required. Additionally, it was unclear how much time should be given to editing the raw footage – this task was made difficult because of the ‘streaming’ nature of the physical activity. Planning each ‘chunk’ more carefully will dramatically lessen editing time.

Planning streaming presentations.
Producing the eight video streams ‘opened a door’ for me. After spending a considerable amount of time ‘chunking’ a flowing stream of information into discrete headings, I was then able to scan the list of competencies in the stonemasonry qualification and briefly describe an activity for each one that would be suitable for video presentation. I found that the key to planning a trade skills video presentation is storyboarding – something with which I had previously struggled.

Separating bulk video footage into discrete elements is very time consuming. It is important that ‘chunking’ is considered before recording so that activities can be separated. I aim to produce the next set of storyboards simply by getting one of my teaching colleagues to demonstrate a process (topic) while I photograph the steps. Each image will provide the basis for a PowerPoint slide, with a header briefly describing the activity (subtopic). After this, the list of headings will be copied to a blank document with provision to record timings and a fuller description. The description in this way becomes a guide for each video chunk, and a basis for the voice-over, added later.

Videolinq video streams as an integral training tool.
Used as a training tool, Videolinq video streaming is a simple, practical way to satisfy both classroom and remote trade skills delivery. The streams are relatively easy to create and publish, and are readily customized to suit industry training needs. I believe that video streaming is a useful tool for TAFE trade skills practitioners looking to spice up their delivery.

(near to) Where I live

June 25, 2008

surf report from burleigh heads

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

This update is in response to Michelle Martin’s Bamboo Project Web2.0 Wednesday

I couldn’t resist walking on the beach when I visited Burleigh Heads after carrying out a skill assessment today. Although I had my swimming togs and a towel with me, I didn’t want to take time to get my work gear off and on again, so instead of swimming I just spent a few minutes watching the surfers ride the small but well-formed swell around the rocky point.

Burleigh Heads is at the Gold Coast (close to the New South Wales-Queensland border) about an hour’s pleasant drive south from where I live. Looking north, you can see the high-rise apartments of Surfers Paradise.

L-o-o-o-ng photos

April 12, 2008

splitting stone

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

I’ve just learned that the Flickr photo sharing site is accepting videos up to ninety seconds long. I plan to use this feature extensively, encouraging my students to do the same so that we can build a public resource of stonemasonry activities. This is useful for people who may be considering a career in building and construction industry, and who wish to know what a stonemason does.

Photos and video clips uploaded to the stonemasonry online social network also provide useful evidence of competency when they are accompanied by descriptive text and supervisor verification.

I encourage my students to present their e-portfolios online as potential providers of stonemasonry trade skills to both local and global audiences.


I had previously written about using sharing stonemasonry video clips online using Twiddeo. Twiddeo is useful because of its feed straight into my (brownsd) Twitter timeline. However, recently I had difficulty logging in to Twiddeo, so I was looking for another application with which to share video clips.


The stonemasonry online social network used by my TAFE students features a Twitter feed, so that the latest entries in my ‘brownsd’ timeline are displayed on the main page.

Flickr photos are also featured in a similar feed, that us, any photo tagged with ‘stonemasonry’ in Flickr is displayed in a widget on the main page. Now that Flickr is featuring video clips, and each clip is treated just the same as a photo, recent photos or video clips tagged ‘stonemasonry’ are automatically featured in the widget.


Recording short video clips with my mobile phone allows me to instantly upload the clip to Flickr. I always record using the ‘MMS’ (Mobile Messaging Service) option so that the clip length is limited to 15 or so seconds. I try to keep camera movement to a minimum, and lighting to a maximum. Sometimes I will ask an apprentice to record me while I demonstrate an activity.


Emailing attachments from my 3SkypePhone candy bar is not an option, so I access Flickr mobile and use its uploading option. This takes a minute or so. When the file has been uploaded, I can then add a title and description.


I have to access Flickr using a computer to add other details such as tags, location etc. At the moment, my stonemasonry videos are added to their own Flickr set. Currently, the set features four videos recorded during the previous (stage 3) five week block-release training session. I will upload Long Photos of the next class (stage 2) starting on Monday 14th April.

Blog comments…

February 23, 2008

Blog comments…

Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

I don’t know what it is about this video clip I made with my students over a year ago, but out of the few video clips I’ve posted to YouTube, this one receives the most negative comments.

There are positive comments too, but the negative ones are usually posted by YouTube users that have uploaded no clips themselves, and have relatively new accounts.

Comments directed at the students carrying out the project I’ve always thought unfair because they are just learning.

Previously, I would delete unwelcome comments and block the user if the were particularly nasty.

But now I have decided to embrace negative comments with affirming replies.

After all, aren’t I wanting visitors to read and respond?

Twiddeo in Vocational Education and Training

February 21, 2008

Twiddeo = Twitter + Video conversations
Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

Twiddeo jumped out at me as a useful application.

I’m encouraging stonemasonry apprentices to provide me with video examples of their work for assessment and guidance. Twiddeo is very easy to use, especially if you have video/Internet phones as do most of my students.

Earlier this month, I uploaded several 15sec (of fame) videos of apprentice stonemasons in the Eagle Farm training workshop. I posted them to Twiddeo from my phone during the training session and the students were able to view them immediately via Twitter RSS feed at their stonemasonry Ning

I use this Twitter username with my students.

Vidoes posted to Twiddeo are downloadable, and are then viewable on a mobile phone.

This one shows a quick view of Joel learning how to use the stone lathe.

And this one shows him finishing his piece the next day.

Yes, they are low resolution and therefore poor quality imaging, but I think the immediacy and accessibility make up for this.

I found that it is important to hold the camera steady during recording, avoiding excessive panning. Close-ups are important as are middle distance establishing shots.

I’m hoping that this communication tool will catch on in the stone industry, establishing a resource bank of tips and tricks.