As use of video for distribution through the VLE continues to grow so do concerns about delivering the files in an appropriate format for students to be able to access quickly and easily. In particular we are increasingly seeing student presentations being filmed and made available to students soon after as part of their feedback.
While studies and evaluation here and across the sector have shown this to be a really effective way of supporting your students, it does often result in staff putting numerous excessively large video files onto the VLE for students to access. This clearly has two immediate implications; students are required to wait long times to download their content which has not been optimised for online distribution and we are paying relatively high amounts for storage of large files.
Happily there are a few relatively simple solutions at hand for batch converting videos from the files that video cameras produce them into ones that are appropriate for online distribution. Many of these can convert multiple files at a time, allowing you to set up the conversion process and then leave it running in the background or overnight.
While there are plenty of options to choose from, depending on which operating system you are using (eg Windows, Linux, Mac), two of my favourites are linked to below:
Windows / Linux users: WinFF – comes pre-installed with numerous pre-sets and you can also save and share your own. Our current guidance on converting video files for streaming is based on WinFF and makes use of pre-created, York specific settings.
Mac users: Handbrake, originally a DVD ripping tool. Only had a quick play but seems very user freindly, stable and great at converting video.