The Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning has built a Microstudio with audio and video capabilities in the Glyn Davis Building.
As students respond better to higher-quality audio and video content, the quality of multimedia is an important factor to consider when producing content. Because the Microstudio is acoustically treated and equipped with professional-grade equipment, the quality of the recordings that can be achieved is far superior to what can be produced in most home setups.
The sections below contain guides on how to get the most of the equipment to produce teaching content.
What type of media can be recorded in the Microstudio?
There are three standard types of recordings that can be made in the ABP Microstudio:
- Voice recording (eg podcasts, up to 4 people)
- Screencasting (screen recording with audio)
- Video recording (up to two people standing)
One type of media is not necessarily better than another - they all have advantages and disadvantages in the way they are produced and consumed. The most appropriate type for your teaching will depend on the type of content being presented, the context in which it will be used for and how much time you are willing to spend producing it. You may find that a combination of them might be complementary in any teaching situation.
The space and equipment are quite flexible, and more specialised setups can be organised on an ad-hoc basis. Contact BEL+T if you are considering using the Microstudio and would like to discuss any specific setup.
Why should I use multimedia in my teaching?
Multimedia is nowadays an integral part of how we consume information, especially through mass and social media. Under the assumption that the media we consume ought to be high quality, engaging and visually appealing, it is worth considering how--and how well--the content we produce as educators is received by students. Curated audio-visual content can provide an engaging platform to facilitate learning and teaching, complement face-to-face teaching and facilitate novel learning and teaching opportunities.
Multimedia as a container of information in itself does not lead to engagement. However, high-quality multimedia can facilitate communication by better capturing subtle forms of expression such as body language and tone of voice.
Within a broader discourse on blended learning and educational technolologies, there is a wealth of research on the use of multimedia in tertiary education. The following links highlight some recent publications.
Can recordings be made outside the Microstudio?
While using the Microstudio will ensure the best possible recording quality conducted in a bespoke environment, planning these recording sessions can be quite time consuming and not always necessary (for example when lower-quality media does not significantly reduce the value of content to students).
While this guide specifically covers using the ABP Microstudio and specialised equipment from the ABP Loans Desk, BEL+T has also produced a separate collection of guides for producing content from home, using basic equipment and setups. Additionally, there are various other facilities and services (ABP and University-wide) available for University staff members to use for media production.
Glossary of terms
Some technical terms will be used repeatedly throughout these sections. A glossary of terms has been put together to ensure the proper understanding of these terms in the context of the microstudio.
ABP Microstudio: a recording studio inside the Glyn Davis Building that has the capacity to do video filming, podcasting and screencasting.
Audio clipping: this happens when the audio level picked up by a microphone is higher than what can be recorded by the recorded device. A clipped audio file is characterised by a very distinctive popping or crackling sound and cannot usually be recovered in post-production.
Audio level: the amplitude at which an audio file has been recorded. This should not be confused with the playback volume of an audio file.
Colour temperature: how warm or cold an image/video looks (i.e. how yellow or blue an image/video is)
Compositing: a post production technique where several images or video footage are layered on top of each other. This can include a keyed out person composited on a new background, titles and graphics composited on a video etc.
Footage: Media used as a part of a project. Eg if several videos are are combined together into a single final video project, all the individual videos are collectively referred to as footage. While footage is usually a term associated with videos, if static images and audio files are used as part of a video project, they can also be referred to as footage.
Highlights/shadows: respectively refer to the brightest and darkest of an image/video.
Hue: colour properties of an image/video
Keying: a post production method that involves compositing two or more full frame images or video footage together. The term is used mostly during green screen recording, where the expression 'to key the green screen out' means to delete the green background in post-production. Most editing software use the term 'keying' when referring to functions used to replace green backgrounds.
Post-production: also shortened to 'post' or 'editing' is the process of taking the raw recorded footage (video, audio, images) into an editing program (eg Photoshop for static images, Premiere or After Effects for videos, Audition or Audacity for audio) to correct parts of the footage, remove or add sections and combine various media together.
Production: Strictly speaking, production refers to the stage where footage is captured and recorded, i.e. when a talent is standing in front of a camera or recording audio (hence why post-production is the process where the production footage is then assembled). However, the term is now used more generally and can also involve storyboarding, scripting, scheduling, distribution, and nowadays often refers to the entire process from start to finish.
Raw footage: uncompressed footage that has not yet been edited. Raw footage is usually quite large in size, usually looks quite bland and sometimes cannot be read by regular consumer programs/devices, but contains a larger amount of data will allow a more effective post production workflow. All recorded footage (audio, video or photo) should be recorded with the least amount of compression to preserve as much information as possible.
Recording, filming, shooting: Recording is a general term referring to the process of capturing media (audio or video) and storing it on a storage device (usually an SD card or a hard drive). Within this section of the website, most of the instances of the term 'recording' will refer to audio recording, but will also be used as a more general term on occasions. The terms 'filming' and 'shooting' can be used interchangeably and refer specifically to video recording.
Talent: person being recorded, standing in front of a camera. Talent is a term mostly associated with videos.
Treated surface: In the context of recording, a treated surface is a surface that has an acoustically absorptive surface attached to it. The acoustic treatment will reduce the amount of reverberation, resulting in a cleaner sound. The level of treatment of a space will determine the type of recording equipment that can be used. The ABP Microstudio is treated, but is not fully sound proof or anechoic.