Home > audience-is-students, documentation, e-languages, headphones, iMacs, lms, multimedia-recording, service-is-applying-learning-tools, service-is-testing-troubleshooting-debugging, Speaking, web-browsers > SOLVED: How to record, in Adobe-Flash, video from my built-in iSight web camera on an 2010 iMac, combined with sound from an external cs100 PnP USB audio device

SOLVED: How to record, in Adobe-Flash, video from my built-in iSight web camera on an 2010 iMac, combined with sound from an external cs100 PnP USB audio device

  1. Problem : Our new campus-wide Moodle Kaltura installation enables authentic oral proficiency examinations (we have no other Moodle Plugin for audio recordings). However, we still have no webcams on our mainstay PCs. We do have a few iMacs with built-in iSight webcams, but for providing students more privacy during their assignments in the language resource center, we need headphones. We have for spare some old headphones which we would like to use up, but they are analogue. These iMacs do not have an analog headset connector, only a line-in which would require a preamp. We have good sturdy USB headsets from Sanako, but these are too expensive to purchase for the iMacs that have no ways to secure them and little other specialized language learning use which we do not already get from the PCs (and more…).
  2. Workaround :
    1. Try an inexpensive USB audio device that has 3.5mm analog headset inputs.
    2. On my iMac 2010
    3. If in system preferences / sound/ I direct input and output to the USB PnP device
      1. test passes playing system sounds
    4. in audacity (if you CRANK the microphone sensitivity to the max!)
      1. recording test passes: The headset loudspeakers and micro work (not well, but they work, as a tab on the microphone indicate: there is static, and the recording volume is still softish, but better than the built in webcam microphone)
    5. in Kaltura,
      1. Flash only brings up the security dialogue (in Safari 5  and current Firefox ESR and Chrome) for allowing the  web application accessing to the built-in iSight web camera, but no options to choose a separate audio device
      2. However, if you control-click on Flash’s a video preview window for the  web camera, and click on “settings” (not “global settings”, although that is useful for always allowing access from certain URLs like your LMS) .
      3. CIMG0020
      4. Click on the microphone icon :
      5. CIMG0021
      6. Make sure the USB PnP  device is selected.
      7. CIMG0022
      8. You can bring up the settings dialogue, make sure the USB PnP device is chosen for audio and CRANK up the microphone input sensitivity! Then test the volume levels with the built-in volume meter (should  show lots of green bars when you speak. You may have to adjust the Califone headset microphone arm so that the microphone is very close in front of your mouth. ) Unlike in the picture, do not choose “reduce echo ”.
      9. CIMG0024
    6. Remaining
      1. Questions :
        1. Can this sensitivity setting be permanently stored for all users in the iMac software image, or do our students always have to adjust the microphone sensitivity?
        2. It remains to be seen whether this inexpensive and unsecurable device survives long when being used by our student population.
      2. Problem : The review video function of the Moodle Kaltura Flash video remains very temperamental on the Mac OS X (In my testing, one of the numerous problems we had with Moodle Kaltura on the iMacs popped up again: when starting to review the recording, the time counter goes, but the video stalls for  a few seconds – afterwards everything seems to play  fine, but this is enough to confuse the heck out of my users) . While we made another small step of progress towards  enabling Moodle Kaltura webcam recordings in the language resource center, it seems easier to just get web cameras for the PCs.
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