MEDIAL | Producing Content using an Android device

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

Below is an article which explains best practice for producing content using Android devices for use with MEDIAL. This article concentrates on the most important aspect of this subject i.e. making sure that the content that you produce is not unnecessarily large and therefore time consuming to upload while maintaining quality


Before you start recording....


The single most important thing that you can do to make sure that the size of your file is sensible (and not time consuming to upload) is to adjust the resolution that your Android device will record at.


To do this in advance, go to:


Settings -> Apps -> Camera -> Camera Settings -> Rear Video Size (Front video size if using forward facing camera to record) -> Select HD 1280 x 720 (30 fps)



Or you can do this at the time of recording:


Open Camera for Video -> Settings (cog top left) -> Select HD 1280 x 720 (30 fps)



Selecting this option will make your video 10 times smaller than at UHD at 60fps. If you are concerned about quality you could select FHD 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), this will make your video around 8 times smaller but quality will be slightly better.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Using a UHD resolution is not necessary for the vast majority of videos viewed on the web and will just make your file size very large and take up a lot of space on your device.


Other Things to Consider


Do you have enough storage left?


Another useful tip is to check how much storage space you actually have left on your device before starting to record. If you run out of space to record on your device, your recording will become corrupt and unusable so it is very important to check this before starting.


Go to Settings -> Battery and device care -> Storage



Again this highlights the importance of adjusting the resolution (quality) at which you will record at.


You can do a rough calculation of the space you may require before you start based on the below figures.



Note: File size measurements were based on actual file recordings from a Xiaomi Mi8 smartphone at 30 fps. For calculations based on other formats and devices, check out this site.


For example, I will be recording a 20 minute video at 720p @ 30fps, and I have 4Gb (4000Mb) left of storage on my Android Phone/Tablet. The recording will use 2.1Gb (2,100Mb) of my Android Phone/Tablet storage = I have plenty of storage to accommodate the recording :-)


As opposed to:


I will be recording a 20 minute video at Ultra HD/4K @30fps, and I have 4Gb (4000Mb) left of storage on my Android Phone/Tablet. The recording will use 6.4Gb (6400Mb) of my Android Phone/Tablet storage = my device will be full mid way into my recording and I will need to re-shoot the video :-(


Do you have enough charge left in your device?


Either check that your device is fully charged or plugged into a power source before starting to record as again, should your device run out of battery during the recording, it is likely that the recording will be corrupt and unusable. Recording video is a taxing task for your device and will use a lot of power while you are doing it.


Orientation


Best practice when recording videos to combine, potentially compress and upload is to record all videos in LANDSCAPE


Combining Multiple Videos to create one Video


Once you have created your files on your Android device the easiest way to combine multiple files and create one movie is to use Google Photos on your Android Phone or Tablet. Some Android devices have Google Photos installed by default.


To download Google Photos go to:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.photos&referrer=utm_source%3Dxpag_hc_photos_10


Once you have downloaded Google Photos click on the icon to open it or search in the Google Play Store for "Google Photos" to locate and open it



Once in Google Photos you can press and hold a video to highlight it and then press the other videos you wish to add:



Then with the required videos highlighted select the '+' icon at the top of the screen:



And choose 'Movie':



You can then do some basic editing on your videos, including to trim (top and tail) each clip before stitching them together. Worth noting that by default Google Photos adds some music so you may wish to turn that off (music note symbol next to the main timeline):



You can easily add more videos using the '+ Add photos and videos' at the bottom of the screen.


Once you have finished adding videos and any basic editing, click Save in the top right hand corner of the screen.


The video will need some time to process at this stage. If you try to do any of the next steps you will get a message to say the video is still processing


Note: this may take a little time depending on how big/long your videos are and how much editing you have done here


Using your newly created video


You will need to move the new video to your phone to be able to use it, for example upload to MEDIAL via Moodle or move it to your PC to upload.


Download your newly created video to your phone


Go back to the homepage in Google Photos where you can see thumbnails of all your photos and videos, once the new video has been processed you will be able to see it here and identify it by the 'clapperboard' icon in the corner of the video thumbnail: