Library Lounge is a customizable library instructional service that can be added to any Canvas course site. It’s a combination of video research tutorials, active discussion boards, and adaptive technologies that allow students to identify their skills gaps and proceed at their own pace. I work on the Library Lounge team, often writing scripts for the instructional videos we produce.

Our long-time collaboration with SAS Online Learning has enabled us to film nearly 30 videos on subjects ranging from citation management to working with corpus analytics tools. SAS Online Learning has their own studio and editing crew, and they are a key part of the Library Lounge team. With the addition of the Hechtman Recording Studio at Penn Libraries, we’ve been able to expand our filming capacity, which means we can create videos in two studios at once.

In practical terms, though, it means I’ve needed to brush up on my video production skills. I’m not completely new to video production, but my experience mostly consists of working with Adobe Premiere…back in 2005. Thankfully, Penn Libraries has a lot of resources which helped me to get through my first self-produced video tutorial.

On the video production side, I took an orientation tour of the Hechtman Studio. After the tour, I felt much more comfortable around the audio equipment, cameras, teleprompter, and lighting in the space. An orientation is mandatory for anyone who wants to use the studio. Vitale Digital Media Lab staff still help you get set up before each filming session, which I found comforting.

Student Engagement Librarian Kayt Ahnberg was generous enough to feature in the video tutorial, and we spent about 30 minutes filming several takes. After filming, I took my SD card back to the lab, used Adobe Media Encoder to convert the files to mp4, and prepared to add in my screencast.

The Vitale Digital Media Lab is situated in the back of the Weigle Information Commons (1st floor west in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center). Lab staff are experts in digital media software, and all the Macs in the room have ScreenFlow 7 installed. They also have Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro for those who want more sophisticated editing software.

To prepare for editing, I worked through the excellent ScreenFlow 7 Essential Training tutorial on Lynda.com. All Penn students, faculty, and staff have access to this online skills library via http://lynda.upenn.edu. Tutorials are broken into small, manageable bites like “Adding a freeze frame” so that I can go back and review a specific skill when I need it. All videos are captioned and have transcripts. This “course” was close to four hours long, but I watched it in 2X speed, cutting down prep time.

Putting together my video from the studio, along with the screencast I then recorded on the media lab computers, was much easier after reviewing the Lynda.com tutorial. The process only took a few hours, and I was left with my new mp4 video file. I zipped all my preparatory files so that next year, when interfaces inevitably change, I can easily edit my work.

The final step: captioning. I uploaded my video to YouTube, which has an amazing feature where YouTube will auto-generate caption timings if you upload a transcript. The timings were perfect – I only had to make a few minor edits to reflect spontaneous changes Kayt had made to the script. After YouTube generated captions, I downloaded the .srt captions file to use in the other place we store library videos – Panopto.

I hope blog readers find the video production process just as enjoyable as I did, knowing that we have so much assistance available at Penn Libraries. And, if you’d like to see the video I created, it’s right here:

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