By Jesse Drake
Simple Studio, located in Room 115 of the College of Social Work, is a dedicated space that allows university faculty and staff to create quick, quality videos for online courses, training, seminars, and more. Inspired by Marriott Library's One Button Studio, Simple Studio expands on the self-serve video concept.
What's required: your UCard and a laptop (optional). What's not: a flash drive, setting up equipment, or the need to upload or transfer files.
Adam Stewart, associate director of operations in UIT Teaching & Learning Technologies, said that the project orginated in 2017, the College of Social Work approached the UOnline team about developing additional courses for its online program.
"There was concern regarding additional capacity for video production in the TLT studio with these courses being added," he said.
UOnline presented the self-serve studio as a solution for faculty to supplement video work in TLT's studio. Stewart said One Button Studio is a "great solution" that "continues to be very popular with faculty and students," and noted that Simple Studio is just a different design that leverages existing and easily supported TLT equipment and systems.
Here's how it works. After scanning your UCard and entering the studio, lighting, audio, and video systems activate automatically. A touch-screen guides you through the process.
Users may record in "camera-only" or "presentation" mode, in which a device — typically a laptop — is connected. This dual-stream mode captures the camera and content as separate streams. Besides making the presentation more compelling, it's a nice feature for viewers, who can toggle between presenter and presentation to focus on what's most important to them, e.g., full-screen camera, full-screen slides, picture-in-picture, and equal layout.
To record, users adjust the camera height, select the record button, and the stop button once they're done. The video is sent automatically to their My Media account in Canvas and Mediaspace, which Stewart said "makes it very easy for them to post their recordings to their courses." The card scanner ensures that videos are sent to the right account.
Little to no post-production is required, though basic editing controls like clip, trim, and cut are available in MyMedia.
Watch the video below to see the Simple Studio recording process in action.
Stewart said TLT has received requests from two other departments to install Simple Studios in the next year. TLT is also consulting with universities that have developed studio solutions with in-line green screen backgrounds without editing required after recording — something he'd eventually like to implement here.
For their contributions, Stewart thanks Digital Learning Officer and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Cory Stokes, former UOnline Associate Director Erik Hjorten, TLT Director Jon Thomas, Video Services Post-Production Supervisor Chris Dawson, Support Systems Administrator Andrae Meyer, and the Creativity & Innovation Services team at the Marriott Library.
In June, Stewart and Meyer presented about Simple Studio at the 2019 UB Tech Conference in Orlando, Florida. Stewart said representatives from several universities contacted them afterward for advice on implementing similar studios on their campuses.