Education IT

Empowering the Science of Education @ Purdue

Education IT - Empowering the Science of Education @ Purdue

TaskStream – General Tech Answers

 

The information below covers issues about videos created by Flip cameras, iPhone, iPad, and Mac.  

 

1. How do I use a “Flip” Camcorder?  

 Note: Even though the instructions below are for Flip cameras, Movie Maker works the same for videos created by other devices such as iPhone.

“Flip” camcorders are useful for easily recording video/audio that can be uploaded into your Electronic Portfolio. Your instructor may provide you with a Flip camcorder for your course work. Flip cameras can be checked out of the TRC by instructors. A general demonstration on how to record video with a Flip camera is available here (WMV) .

CODEC INSTALLATION

To play and edit video created with the “Flip” camcorder, you will need to install a “codec” on your computer. To install the correct codec, you will need to either: (a) install the FlipShare software found on the camera itself (connect the camera to the computer via the USB connector to access the files in camera); or (b) install the 3ivx MPEG video codec shown below.

3ivx MPEG CODEC installers can be found here:

Once the correct codec is installed, you can copy the video files from the flip camera to your computer, and then use a program such as Windows Movie Maker to compress the video so the file size is 20 MB or less.

It is very important to compress the video, because the raw video that comes from the Flip camcorder is too large to upload to TaskStream! A tutorial about how to compress your video is available in the next section. 

2. My file is too large to upload. What can I do to reduce the size of the file?

VIDEO FILES: Starting October 24, 2012, TaskStream has implemented a new video feature that automatically streams video. This should make it easier for evaluators to view your videos. TaskStream allows a video file upload size of up to 500 MB.

Even though video streaming will be done by TaskStream, it is still important to edit your video and render/compress it to a manageable size before uploading to any video streaming service since most services have a file upload size limitation, and very large video files – larger than a few hundred megabytes – will upload very slowly.

If you are a Windows user, we recommend using Windows Media Video format (WMV). If you are a Macintosh user, we recommend using QuickTime (.MOV or .MP4) files.>

Instructions for how to compress your video can be found here:

HOW TO COMPRESS VIDEO

In general, if your video looks “fuzzy” after you export it, you may need to choose a larger size to render the video. The more a video is compressed, the more quality / clarity is lost. Please note that TaskStream allows a video file upload size of up to 500 MB.

PPT or Word files: When using a scanner, the scanning resolution determines the size of the scanned image. Use a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi) to get a life-size image when displayed on the screens of most computers. Since computer screens display only about 72 pixels per inch, using a resolution higher than this will make your file size unnecessarily large. Use digital imaging software to crop unnecessary parts of the image. Note: Cropping the image in PowerPoint will not reduce the file size.

Reduce image size using a graphics-editing program (such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Photo Editor). The smaller the dimensions of the image, the smaller the file size will be. Since computer screens display only about 72 pixels per inch, using a resolution higher than this will make your file size unnecessarily large. When you re-size the image in a program such as PowerPoint, you are only making the picture appear smaller on the screen-the actual file size of the image has not been reduced at all.

Graphics in PowerPoint: Individual images should be no larger than 200 KB whenever possible. Maximum size of all the images in the presentation should be no more than 4 MB. Whenever possible, include a blank slide at the beginning of the presentation. It would seem as though adding a blank slide at the beginning of a presentation would increase file size; however, the opposite is true. The blank slide serves as the preview image-the image PowerPoint displays when you select a file in the “Open dialog” box. Since a blank slide is far less complex than the real first slide, the preview image is much smaller, thereby reducing the size of the presentation file. If you open and save a PowerPoint presentation without making any changes, the file size may increase. Repeating this process will result in file size increases up to 300% of the original file. To fix this problem: From the Tools menu, click “Options,” on the “Save” tab, click to clear the “Allow Fast Saves” check box, click “OK,” and save your presentation.

3. What does it mean when I get an “Error 404, Page/File not found” message?

When browsing the World Wide Web, there are many reasons why you might see such a message. Most likely the link you clicked or the URL (web address) you typed in no longer exists, has been changed, or is no longer valid. Make sure the URL that was entered is correct and try again. You may also see this message if you have lost your Internet connection. If you received this message in TaskStream please contact us.

4. I uploaded a file with my Mac. Now the attached file will not open. What should I do?

An error of this nature may occur if the document has been saved and then uploaded without the proper file extension (.DOC, .DOCX, .XLS, .XLSX, .PPT, .PPTX, etc) because of the way Mac handles files and file extensions and sometimes omits them. We recommend you remove the file from your folio, and then re-save it to your computer, ensuring that the extension is included in the document name (.DOC, .DOCX, .XLS, .XLSX, .PPT, .PPTX, etc). Once this has been done, you should re-attach the file to your folio and then re-submit the work for evaluation.

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