Learning with Technology

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Side-by-Side Comparison of Classroom Video Capture Devices

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As a follow up to my earlier post on Swivl C5 Iʻve captured a real world comparison of a Swivl C5 a stationary iPad and a stationary video camera for capturing teaching. The following excerpts came from a training session I facilitated on Nearpod engagement tool. Each device recorded simultaneously and are presented without enhancements to video or audio. The three devices and setups that I used to record content for this comparison were:

  1. Swivl C5 auto-tracker with iPad (1280×720)
  2. Stationary iPad (640×480)
  3. Stationary Camera (1920×1080)

“Clip 3 Observations” (2:25)

This clip features instructor movement through class space, student questions and commentary. Swivl wins for audio quality (Video 1 vs. Video 3), video quality and composition. Statonary iPad is definitely not the way to go since it canʻt  follow the instructor (Video 2).

Video 1: Swivl Auto-tracker 😊

  • Auto-tracker camera follows instructor.
  • Student and instructor voice quality using Swivl wireless microphones.

Video 2: iPad Stationary 😩

  • Instructor off screen, camera faces wall, no visible action occurring in video, viewer loose interest.
  • Audio soft as instructor moves away from device.  No additional microphones.

Video 3: Video Cam Stationary 😐

  • Instructor off screen for a portion of the video. The left half of the room did not fit in the wide shot.
  • Audio sounds hollow.  Picks up ambient room buzz.

“Clip 4 Observations” (1:25)

Traditional lecture position with no movement.  Swivl wins for audio quality and for video quality because it is a closer shot of the instructor (Video 1 vs. Video 3).

Video 1: Swivl Auto-tracker 😊

  •  Student and instructor voice quality using Swivl wireless microphones.

Video 2: iPad Stationary 😐

  • Video quality is a little fuzzy, but that is primarily because of the iPads resolution.
  • Audio a little soft.

Video 3: Video Cam Stationary 😐

  • Audio sounds hollow.  Picks up ambient room buzz.

“Clip 5 Observations” (2:45)

Instructor starts off in the front of the room and moves to the back of the room.  In the beginning of the video the Swivl did take a few seconds to keep up but overall got the job done. Swivl wins for audio and video quality and composition.

Video 1: Swivl Auto-tracker 😐

  • Auto-tracker camera follows instructor.  As I was walking my body shielded the lanyard from view which resulted in the Swivl taking a few seconds to find me.
  • As I was engaging with the students I was able to ask questions and receive answers. Student and instructor voice quality using Swivl wireless microphones.

Video 2: iPad Stationary 😩

  • Instructor off screen, no visible action occurring in video, viewers will loose interest.
  • Audio soft as instructor moves away from device.  No additional microphones.

Video 3: Video Cam Stationary 😐

  •  Instructor off screen for a portion of the video. The left half of the room did not fit in the wide shot.
  • Audio sounds hollow.  Picks up ambient room buzz.

“Clip 6 Observations” (00:45)

This shot features the audio of student helping student while instructor converses with other students. With the Swivl student microphones you can notice the difference (Check out Video 1 vs. Video 2).  While Video 3 picks up student conversation the video composition is poor.

Video 1: Swivl Auto-tracker 😊

  • Student helping student audio captured with Swivl wireless student microphones.

Video 2: iPad Stationary 😩

  • Instructor off screen, no visible action occurring in video, viewers will loose interest.
  • Audio soft as because of distance from device.  No additional microphones.

Video 3: Video Cam Stationary 😐

  • The left half of the room did not fit in the wide shot.  Instructor interactions with other students in the room not captured.
  • Audio picks up student to student conversation but also picks up ambient room buzz.

“Clip 7 Observations” (4:43)

This clip features instructor movement from the front of the room to the student area.  Swivl wireless microphones for instructor and student does a good job of capturing instructor and student audio.  Stationary cameras (Video 2 and Video 3) failed to capture full class in the view that Swivl (Video 1) did.

Video 1: Swivl Auto-tracker 😊

  • Auto-tracker camera follows instructor.  As I was walking my body shielded the lanyard from view which resulted in the Swivl taking a few seconds to find me.
  • Student and facilitator voice quality using Swivl wireless microphones.

Video 2: iPad Stationary 😩

  • Instructor off screen, no visible action occurring in video, viewers will loose interest.
  • Audio soft as instructor moves away from device.  No additional microphones.

Video 3: Video Cam Stationary 😩

  • The left half of the room did not fit in the wide shot.  Instructor interactions with other students in the room not captured.
  • Audio sounds hollow.  Picks up ambient room buzz.

Summary

I hope that these side by side comparisons helped to illustrate the benefits for using the right device in your workflow to capture your instruction. I found the stationary iPad was severely limited once the instructor move away from the front of the room.  In addition the audio was soft because there was only one microphone.  Alternatively I found the stationary video camera in the back of the room captured half of the room and the audio was noisy due to ambient noise.  I found the Swivl C5 successfully captured the session.  There were a few instances where body movement blocked the Swivl from seeing the transmitter, but that can be fixe with proper technique.  I appreciated that Swivl C5 balances close up video shots and entire classroom shots. In addition the audio with student and instructor wireless microphones was cleaner than the other cameras captured.

If you’re a Leeward CC faculty, lecturer, administrator, or staff member and are interested in using the Swivl C5, contact me, Brent Hirata, at bhirata@hawaii.edu.

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