Recording Options

There are several options for creating digital recordings of lectures or any other narrated content with audio and, optionally, video. These options range from the “self-serve”, impromptu recordings to the high quality, professional recordings involving a production team scheduled through CTL. Sometimes the impromptu recording is just the ticket, such as replacing an on-campus lecture that has a last minute cancellation due to inclement weather. This "on your own" recording could be done using one of the tools described in more detail on this page (Connect, Audacity, and VoiceThread) or it could be as easy as using your smartphone. (See the workshop recording, "Lucas, Scorcese, and You! Using Your Smartphone to Enhance Learning" on our Events page to learn more about that option!) Other times, however, the highest quality finished product is desired and achieved with JHSPH Multimedia and CTL’s professional options. Our team of instructional designers, technical writers, audio producers and editors, illustrator, and web developers are here to help you create excellent and engaging course content.  Lectures that have been professionally produced are part of the outstanding quality of JHSPH online and blended courses offered through CoursePlus and beyond. These become suitable for delivery time and time again, and are ready to be used as published resources and references beyond an individual course offering.

NOTE: For assistance with getting permission for creating and distributing recordings & other media of people not affiliated with JHU, please see the Office of Communications and Public Affairs Media Services where they have a "Media Permission Form" for both minors and adults.

When deciding the most appropriate recording method to meet your needs, the following chart comparing relative strengths and other considerations may prove beneficial. While this chart is not exhaustive, it includes options that are readily available to all JHSPH faculty. Each recording option is linked from the top row to further details, provided below the table. And when you've decided on the option that meets your needs, make sure to visit our page on recording tips.

  Professional Assistance:
Studio Recording
Professional Assistance:
Location Recording
Professional Assistance:
Classroom Lecture Capture
Self-Serve+:
Adobe Connect
 Self-Serve+:
Audacity & other MP3 Tools
 Self-Serve+:
VoiceThread
 Self-Serve+:
Screen Capture or PowerPoint Video
Results in highest quality audio/video products X X X
Requires formal scheduling X X X
Professional production and editing X X X
Provides the most scheduling flexibility (record when you want to) X* X X X X
Requires faculty use of online tool (Internet connection required) X some tools (not Audacity) X
Requires faculty download and use software X
(Audacity)
**Optional X
Requires USB headset X X X X
Requires faculty to link or upload recording to CoursePlus Site*** X X X X
Recording is shared to CoursePlus by CTL  X X X
Recording immediately available to share through CoursePlus X
X
Depending on comfort/know-how and little to no editing
Recording processed quickly to share through CoursePlus X
X
Depending on amount of editing and comfort level
X X
Depending on amount of editing and comfort level
Recording can be edited X X X
X
editing limited to "trimming" (rough cropping) the recording
X
(Audacity)
X** X

* Classroom Lecture Capture must still be scheduled through JHSPH MultiMedia (JHSPH log-in required) but recording is done according to faculty’s requested class time

** VoiceThread will allow users to record directly through the website, but only a CTL-provided PRO Voicethread account allows audio to be uploaded to the slides. If faculty wishes to pre-record and optionally edit their audio, we recommend using a third party tool.

*** CTL is available to help faculty bring their recorded lecture to their class site on CoursePlus.

+ For general tips on recording independently, make sure to visit our recording tips page.

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For any of the recording methods below, the first step is to contact your Instructional Designer to discuss. She or he may then send you a PowerPoint template and put you into contact with an audio producer as needed. Additionally, if you would like an Audio Producer or ID to be available on Skype while you record using Audacity or VoiceThread, that is a possibility.

Studio Recording

JHSPH has professional recording studios, both for video and audio production. The CTL, in partnership with Multimedia, will schedule, help you prepare, and record high quality audio, video, and/or screen capture materials, as well as edit and prepare them for delivery in your courses. Not able to come to our studios in Baltimore? We may be able to find a recording studio near you; ask your Instructional Designer for details. 

NOTE: Because there is a lot that goes into preparing a recorded lecture, there are deadlines to assure any studio recordings will be completely produced, including a quality confirmation check, for any academic term. These deadlines are as follows:
  • 16 - 12 weeks prior to a Term opening: Schedule your recordings through CTL.
  • 12 - approximately 8 weeks* prior: Complete all studio recordings for full CTL post-recording production before scheduled lecture opening dates.
  • 8 - 4 weeks prior: Complete all studio recordings for any remaining lectures. Please note that CTL cannot guarantee full production of lectures recorded after our communicated deadlines.
*The exact dates for the current academic year can be found on our "Preparing Your Course Site" page. Missing these deadlines results in a compressed production schedule. Any recordings made beyond these deadlines may not be ready for the anticipated lecture opening date. In this event, faculty can work with the Instructional Designer to determine the best course of option.

For more information, including standard and optional features, costs, and contact information for getting started, contact a CTL Instructional Designer and visit the Multimedia Video Recording and Production page for special requests. (JHSPH credentials required.) For tips on preparing a lecture for a studio recording, visit our recording tips page.

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Location Recording

Professional recording can be captured from anywhere within the JHSPH facilities. For more information, including standard and optional features, costs, and contact information for getting started, visit the Multimedia Video Recording and Production page and their Live Events and Classrooms page. (JHSPH credentials required.)
Once you've scheduled a location recording, make sure to visit our recording tips page to help in your preparation.

CTL also works closely with faculty to offer pre-arranged location recordings for specific instances, such as a video introduction to a course that may be recorded in an office. Talk with your CTL Instructional Designer to discuss this possibility.

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Classroom Lecture Capture

The Becton Dickinson lecture hall (W1020) is set up for video capture of speaker and presentation. In addition, audio recording can be captured from any classroom using a wireless microphone and special audio logging systems. Both options should be discussed with JHSPH Multimedia. More information is available on the Audio Recording and Production page. (JHSPH credentials required.) The video of a classroom lecture capture will be shared with the faculty requesting the recording. It is the faculty's responsibility to make sure the video is also shared with the CTL Instructional Designer for the lecture materials to be uploaded into CoursePlus, along with transcripts as appropriate.

In the 17-18 Academic Year, JHSPH began using the Panopto Lecture Capture service, which allows faculty to start, pause, and stop recording of their lecture from their own laptop or the laptop at the teaching podium in specific classrooms. The recording captures audio from the microphones connected to or built into the computer along with the screen capture (the computer's display).  (A list of current rooms configured with Panopto is available on the internal Multimedia SharePoint page -- JHSPH login required.)  Faculty can request this Panopto service by opting-in via the CoursePlus “Panopto Recordings” link on the Faculty Tools page of their course site. When JHSPH faculty opts into Panopto Lecture Capture, a class folder is created on the Panopto server. This folder is then automatically linked to the CoursePlus course site in the navigation menu. Faculty will always be able to access everything inside this folder, but the default settings only allow the students currently enrolled in that class access to the folder while the course is running for the current academic year. (It is worth noting that faculty can decide whether to “show or hide” recordings from students inside the folder.) In essence, the class folder is locked to students when the term is completed. If faculty want to share any recordings to other classes or after the term ends, it is highly recommended that they first copy a recording into one of two places: their own personal folder (“my folder”) or the other class’ Panopto folder, which will also have been set up through the CoursePlus opt-in. For assistance creating, editing, or managing (including copying) the Panopto recordings, faculty should always contact IT/Multimedia. For help opting into the Panopto Lecture Capture service and making the link to a Panopto class folder appear inside a CoursePlus course site, faculty can contact CTL Help.

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Adobe Connect

UPDATE (Jan 2019): At this time, it's been reported that the University will be discontinuing Adobe Connect service in AY19-20. CTL cannot provide details on this change, but we anticipate another web conferencing option being available to JHSPH faculty and students at the appropriate time. In addition to not having paid access to Connect for making new recordings, existing Connect  recordings will no longer be available to stream. For any long-term plans, faculty will want to consider another self-serve recording option.

Adobe Connect is a robust web conferencing presentation software that's available to all JHU faculty at http://connect.johnshopkins.edu. To record a lecture with Adobe Connect, you have the option of recording a one-way lecture (no student participation) or recording a synchronous online lecture (with student participation). Either way, the recording can be shared through CoursePlus one of two ways. 

For sharing the recording quickly, upload the web address (URL) of the Connect session's recording as a weblink in your CoursePlus Online Library and link the item to your lecture or activity page. Or use the preferred method for sharing the recording and download the recording as an mp4 filetype. The mp4 can be put into JHBox or another cloud storage space (along with any accompanying PowerPoints or PDFs) and then shared with a CTL Instructional Designer so these lecture materials can be uploaded into CoursePlus, along with a transcript of the video

NOTE THE FOLLOWING FOR ALL VIDEOS UPLOADED TO AND SHARED THROUGH COURSEPLUS: Videos should be no longer than 20 min in length, no more than 500 MB in file size, nor should they have a resolution greater than 1280 x 720p (HD).


If considering Adobe Connect for a synchronous lecture, you may also want to learn more about LiveTalks, CTL’s professionally recorded and edited sessions that need to be scheduled before the start of a term and usually take place in WB509. If considering Adobe Connect for a one-way lecture, there are other screen casting options available from free apps (see iPad apps for teaching) to other paid services or software, such as Tech Smith's Camtasia. See the section below on Screen Capture.

For general tips on recording independently, make sure to visit our recording tips page.

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Audacity and Other Audio-only (MP3) Tools

Audacity is a free audio-recording software that allows you to record your voice at your computer and save the audio as an MP3 file type.  Historically, Audacity was the go-to audio option. A lecture that has been recorded in Audacity can be edited directly in the program (including trimming pauses, removing extraneous noise and pops, and even changing the speed of the track).  However, since Audacity requires you download and install multiple programs* plus it doesn't seem to very well supported any longer, we are now recommending some other free online tools that you can use right inside of your browser. These tools include Record MP3 Online and Online Voice Recorder, by 123apps. We like these both because they are free, do not require any software to be installed, and they are very straight-forward and easy-to-use. There are certainly other tools available -- both free and paid -- that you may come across. Regardless of the tool you use, your final recording should be saved as an MP3 file type. Once the MP3 audio file is saved, it can be shared to students through the CoursePlus course site. Sharing the lecture can happen three ways:
  1. Faculty can edit and upload the audio and accompanying PDF or PowerPoint slides as two separate files to the CoursePlus online library and link these to a lecture or activity page. NOTE: consider sending any PDFs or PowerPoint files to CTL for a quality confirmation check before uploading. 

  2. Faculty can send the audio and PowerPoint slides to the Instructional Designer to be produced as a standard lecture. CTL’s team of tech writers and audio producers will produce it so that they edit the audio and convert slides to the course template, matching other lectures.  NOTE: This option requires that the recording and slides be sent to CTL at least 8 weeks before the lecture will be available to students.  If you select this option, we also recommend working with an audio producer prior to doing your recording. 

  3. Faculty can send the audio and PowerPoint slides to the Instructional Designer to be produced as a VoiceThread. NOTE: This option requires the recording be completed at least 2 weeks before the lecture is available to students.
*To get started using Audacity, you will need to have both the Audacity and LAME programs installed on your PC or Mac. CTL also recommends having a USB headset microphone available. More information on using Audacity, including its download links, can be found on the CTL Audacity tutorial page.

For tips on a recording a lecture on your own in Audacity or other program, visit our recording tips page.

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VoiceThread

VoiceThread is an online multimedia slide show that can hold images, documents, audio, and video. A VoiceThread presentation can be embedded directly into a CoursePlus Online Course page, or it can be shared to students as a link.  Faculty use VoiceThread in a variety of formats, from personal introductions to lecture alternatives to collaborative student assignments. This tool is available at http://jhu.voicethread.com/ to anyone with a JHED ID. 

For guests without a JHED ID, VoiceThread allows you to register for a free account. BUT the free account only allows you to share the presentation link, i.e. there is no secure sharing. And the free account requires you to pay for an export of the presentation's video, which is preferred so CTL can include an mp4 download option as well as interactive transcript in a course lecture. For the purposes of guest lectures created in VoiceThread, a course's Instructional Designer can "impersonate" the guest and create the final VoiceThread using their own JHED ID as long as the media -- often a PDF or PowerPoint -- and audio comments are sent to or shared with the ID.

All VoiceThread users with editing capabilities can record narration slide by slide, directly through the website. However, a JHU-provided PRO Voicethread account allows an audio file (recorded offline) to be pre-recorded and uploaded to the slides as well as the final presentation to be exported as a high-quality video. If there is any question whether or not a faculty member has the Pro account, simply contact your Instructional Designer. The advantage to recording audio outside of VoiceThread and then uploading the MP3 audio file to the presentation is that, unlike recording directly online in VoiceThread:
  • the audio file does not need to be recorded all at once
  • the audio file can be edited, including trimming or "recording over" a segment of the file

If faculty wishes to pre-record and optionally edit their audio, we recommend downloading & using Audacity or another MP3 recording tool.* Faculty can send their audio and PowerPoint or PDF files to the Instructional Designer for assistance in creating and sharing a VoiceThread. NOTE: This option requires the files be sent to CTL at least 2 weeks before the lecture is available to students. Occasionally, with plenty of time and communication with a CTL Instructional Designer, the audio comments can be recorded at their highest quality in our studios. 

*Another option for recording audio outside of VoiceThread is to upload an original PowerPoint into VoiceThread. Then, make a COPY of the PowerPoint on your local computer and record the audio narration on each slide in the presentation, directly in the PowerPoint program. Save the narrated PowerPoint file and close it. Then rename it with a *.zip file extension (replacing *.pptx) before "extracting all" its contents to get to the audio files. These will be inside the ppt/media directory. The individual audio files that are extracted can then be uploaded to your VoiceThread on top of the visual media you uploaded as slides. Refer to Microsoft's support site for more help on extracting the audio files from a PowerPoint. 

Sample VoiceThreads and more information on using can be found on the VoiceThread page of this site.  For VoiceThreads that are being used as "traditional" digital lecture delivery (i.e., a one-way communication where student comments are not expected), the recommended Playback Options (Settings) should be set to “enable comment moderation”, "start playing automatically", and “automatically advance to the next slide” after 2 or 3 seconds. (The other playback options, with the exception of allowed comment methods, can be left unchecked.)

For general tips on recording independently, make sure to visit our recording tips page.

If you are using VoiceThread as a lecture alternative, please see this page that is specific to your needs: VoiceThread Presentation as a Recorded Lecture

If you opt to use VoiceThread, consider sending the PowerPoint slides to CTL for a quality confirmation check before making your online presentation. Your final VoiceThread should be exported in high quality format. This video, and the accompanying PowerPoint or PDFs, should be shared with a CTL Instructional Designer so these lecture materials can be uploaded into CoursePlus, along with a transcript of the video. (If you want the VoiceThread to remain interactive, the link to the original presentation can still be shared on the CoursePlus lecture page.)

NOTE THE FOLLOWING FOR ALL VIDEOS UPLOADED TO AND SHARED THROUGH COURSEPLUS: Videos should be no longer than 20 min in length, no more than 500 MB in file size, nor should they have a resolution greater than 1280 x 720p (HD).

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Screen Capture

Screen capture, or screencasting, is the process of recording your computer's screen as you actively navigate through a document or program. This can be especially helpful if you want to demonstrate something on your screen such as a particular program or "real time results" of a variable being introduced. However, it's also a perfectly viable alternative to "voice over PowerPoint". Audio narration (and, optionally, video of the person speaking at the same computer) can be simultaneously recorded as the screen is captured or this can be recorded separately and then "layered" into the same video as the screen capture using special software. 

While there are free and low-cost online tools for screen capture, such as Screencast-o-matic or apps for the Apple iOS or Android devices, these are usually limited in their editing and export capabilities.  (e.g., The free version of Screencast-o-matic limits each recording to 15 minutes & has a watermark on the video.) More often a lecture alternative should be created using professional software, such as Camtasia (by Tech Smith), which has purchasing guidelines in the JHU Software Catalog. See the section on screencasting on our Teaching in Inclement Weather page. Note that if you opt to use Screen Capture software and need help learning the tool, you will need to refer to the manufacturer's website or a tutorial resource such as Lynda.com

Another option gaining momentum at JHSPH is the Panopto video platform. JHU has an enterprise subscription to this service. The software allows for lecture capture as well as independent screen capture. If you want to use Panopto as a lecture alternative, please see this page that is specific to your needs: Panopto Screencast & Lecture Capture as a Recorded Lecture

If you opt to use screen capture over a PowerPoint or other static document, consider sending the file to CTL for a quality confirmation check before making your recording. Your final video should be in MP4 format. This video, and any accompanying PowerPoints or PDFs, should be shared with a CTL Instructional Designer so these lecture materials can be uploaded into CoursePlus, along with a transcript of the video.

NOTE THE FOLLOWING FOR ALL VIDEOS UPLOADED TO AND SHARED THROUGH COURSEPLUS: Videos should be no longer than 20 min in length, no more than 500 MB in file size, nor should they have a resolution greater than 1280 x 720p (HD).

Turn Your PowerPoint Presentation into a Video

One self-serve option that is not quite screen capture but allows you to create "Voice over PowerPoint" lectures is to use what's already built into Microsoft PowerPoint versions 2010, 2013, and 2016. There is an option that allows you to export your PowerPoint presentation with audio narration as a video. If you want to add visual annotations (or even "laser pointer" gestures) to the PowerPoint video, you can include that as well.
If you create your narrated PowerPoint presentation at least two weeks before you need to share it with students, you can send your PowerPoint to your Instructional Designer. CTL will help you by exporting it to a video that can then be uploaded to CoursePlus. If you are using PowerPoint as a lecture alternative, please see this page specific to your needs: Narrated PowerPoint Video as a Recorded Lecture.

NOTE THE FOLLOWING FOR ALL VIDEOS UPLOADED TO AND SHARED THROUGH COURSEPLUS: Videos should be no longer than 20 min in length, no more than 500 MB in file size, nor should they have a resolution greater than 1280 x 720p (HD).


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*For general tips on recording independently, make sure to visit our recording tips page.