Course on file format identification tools: Progress report

The video course which I’m developing on “File Format Identification Tools” is almost ready to submit to Udemy. I’m holding off for a little more work at the Open Preservation Foundation on JHOVE, because some user interface details are going to change from the current beta (1.12 beta). The other tools covered will include file, DROID, ExifTool, and Apache Tika. This course should be useful to both students and professionals who want to learn how to use the tools.

It’s a learning experience for me, and I’m putting it together with a small budget. My camera is a Canon ELPH 520HS. When I record face-on-camera talks, I use the Canon for video and a Zoom H2 recorder for audio. I tweak the audio in Audacity and then put it together with the video in iMovie.

The Zoom provides an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, and Audacity lets me boost sound levels where my voice drops off and eliminate some noises. Occasionally I’ll do a mild bass boost to emphasize a point. iMovie isn’t the best tool out there, but it’s cheap, and it offers a few useful tricks. To get the audio and video in sync, I zoom in on the tracks and then visually align the audio in the camera track with the real audio track. Then I detach and delete the camera’s audio track.

Since nobody would want to see just me talking for a whole lecture, I’ve added in some still images, mostly text “slides” to emphasize key points. These also help to paper over transitions from one take to the next.

For screen capture lectures, I use IShowU HD for the video while recording my voice on the Zoom. (Using the Zoom as a USB microphone causes weird problems.) After that the process is similar, but since I don’t have to sync the audio to my lips, I can do some extra tricks in Audacity, such as closing up pauses and eliminating verbal flubs.

Since I record at home, one problem I’ve had is that the cats keep wanting to get into the picture. They’re gradually figuring out that I don’t want to be bothered while shooting a video, though.

One response to “Course on file format identification tools: Progress report

  1. Great, so even your cats learn :)