Presenters often share slides after
a meeting or workshop. But slides often aren’t enough to convey the whole
story. A presenter’s story adds context, clarifies, and explains the slides.

Until recently, presenters using
Chromebooks were stuck. There wasn’t an easy way to share slides, while also
recording audio and/or video. Now, there are at least three solid options.

1. Google+ Hangout On Air

A Google+ Hangout On Air works well
to live-stream and record a presentation from your Chromebook to YouTube. The
trick is that you don’t invite anyone. Simply start the Hangout, and then choose Start a Hangout On Air (Figure A).

Figure A

 

 

Start a Hangout On Air, and then stream your presentation live.

Anything you do in the Hangout On
Air will be recorded. Record your webcam video or share your screen with the Screenshare app. When you’re done, view your
video on YouTube.

For all of this to work, you need a
Google Account connected to Google+, Hangouts, and YouTube. If your account
supports all three of these, go ahead and setup Hangouts On Air. Then login, broadcast, and record from your Chromebook.

Please note that there are two potential challenges with this option:

  • First, the recording shows either
    your webcam video or your shared
    screen. There’s no way to display both at once without using a second
    computer.
  • Second, your Google Account must
    use Google+, Hangouts, and YouTube for this to work. Google Apps administrators
    may not allow this for your organization. For example, Hangouts isn’t enabled
    for student accounts where I teach, even though Google+ is enabled.

Fortunately, Chromebook users have
at least two other ways to record a presentation.

2. Movenote

Movenote shows your recorded video
and slides side-by-side (Figure B). The format is much like a traditional television news
show, where you’re the news anchor providing commentary on the slides.

Figure B

 

 

Movenote displays your video and slides side-by-side.

Movenote offers at least three ways
to install the app. People who use Chrome can install the app from the Chrome Web Store or sign up at the Movenote.com site. Organizations that use Google Apps might have an administrator add Movenote from the Marketplace,
which allows anyone in the organization to sign in to Movenote from the app
selector grid. (Additionally, Movenote offers both an Android and iOS app.)

The first time you start Movenote,
you need to give the app permission to access your webcam twice: once for Adobe Flash and the other for the Movenote site to access your webcam.

Now, it’s time to upload your content.
Movenote supports presentations in PDF format and images in JPG and PNG
formats.The upload notes suggest that some PPT and PPTX files might work, but
the two PPT and PPTX files I tried failed to upload. Disappointingly, as of
February 2014, Movenote doesn’t support the native Google Slides format, so
you’ll need to use “File | Download as… | PDF Document” to save your
Slides as a PDF Document.

Next, arrange your slides. Each
page of a PDF document uploaded to Movenote may be re-ordered. This offers a
handy way to make a quick sequence change.

Finally, make your recording. Press
the Record button, and then start your presentation. Move through your slides
while your webcam video records. Click Pause to hold the recording, Resume to continue, or Start Over to try again. When you’re done, select Save
& Preview.

Recordings made with Movenote are
publicly accessible and hosted at Movenote. The system provides a shortlink to
your presentation. Your slides (PDF format) and video (MP4 format) may be
downloaded by viewers.

Remember, adding video to slides
affects pacing: slides are skimmable, but video isn’t. Be sure your video
commentary adds value!

3. Screencastify

Screencastify creates screencasts — that is,
recordings of your screen with optional audio. It’s a Chrome extension available in the Chrome Web
Store and still in Beta (as of February 2014).

You can adjust a few video and
audio settings. The tab size and capture resolution can both be adjusted to
anything from full size (1366×768 on most Chromebooks) to 720p, 480p, 360p,
down to 240p. The frames-captured-per second setting can be set to 25, 10, 5 or
1. You can record audio from the Chromebook’s microphone, audio played within
the tab, or no audio at all.

By default, Screencastify captures
content in the current tab when it starts. There is an option to capture the
entire desktop, which is labeled as “experimental” (as of February 2014). A
full desktop capture could show how to place windows side-by-side, for example,
as that’s something that requires showing content outside just a single tab. Full
desktop capture requires that you enable the chrome://flag for Enable screen
capture support in GetUserMedia().

You may need to experiment to find
settings that work for your Chromebook. On my HP Chromebook 11, I had to lower
the capture resolution to 480p and frame rate to 5 FPS to record the audio and
video consistently (Figure C).

Figure C

 

 

Customize Screencastify’s settings to record a screencast presentation with audio on your Chromebook.

When you have settings that work,
recording is easy. Click the Screencastify extension icon, and then select Start
Recording. The capture will begin. Browse a web site or share your slides (see my
earlier article, “Two ways to share slides in a Google+ Hangout
for tips on showing slides). Like Movenote, Screencastify offers a Pause option. When you’re done, click the extension again, and choose Stop
Recording.

Screencastify saves recordings in
the WebM format. They may be saved locally or uploaded to YouTube.

Which tool should you use?

All three options work. For most
users, a Hangout On Air remains the simplest option. But for people who can’t
use a Hangout On Air, Movenote offers a solid alternative — as long as you put
your presentation in PDF format. Of course, Screencastify works best for screencasting, so if your presentation benefits from sequences that show
information outside of slides (e.g., on other browser tabs), Screencastify may
be a solid choice.

The bottom line is that Chromebook
owners who give presentations can now record and share their presentations instead
of just sharing a link to lifeless slides.

What tools do you use to create and
record presentations on your Chromebook? Let us know in the discussion thread below.