If you're a user group manager who is taking advantage of the free Acrobat Connect account
from Adobe for user groups, the next challenge for you may be how to make and use recordings
of your meetings. I find that many managers have just never done this, and it can be so valuable, especially since you can then list the recording for your members and indeed for the entire community on my UGTV site
. More on this later.
Making a recording of your meeting
Fortunately, it's very easy to record your meeting. It doesn't matter if you'll be having any remote attendees. Indeed, it doesn't matter if you'll be having a remote speaker. As long as you have an internet connection, you can record whatever a speaker says and shows. Everything you see and hear will be captured and can be played back in perfect fidelity.
While you're in a Connect meeting (as a host, discussed in the earlier blog entry), simply hit the Meeting>Record Meeting option in the top menu bar. You'll be prompted for a name and description. Don't worry too much about getting this perfect at that point, since I'll show how you can easily edit the information later. (You don't even need a description, and since the recording will be timestamped, you don't even need to worry about creating a unique name, if you'll be editing it soon after the meeting--so you don't forget which recording is which.)
Tip: As a word of advice, I'd recommend you be prepared to start your meeting right after you hit the record button. The recording will indeed start immediately, and I've heard too many recordings where the host and/or presenter are fumbling around getting things situated while the "tape" is rolling. Please be considerate of those who will listen to your recording later.
They don't want to have to wait--and there's no easy means to know how long such preliminaries will go on. Advancing the playhead in the playback mechanism isn't as precise as it could be, either, so the listener won't be able to easily skip ahead. This is an easy mistake in the moment. You figure everyone else in the room is waiting patiently while you get started. But it's quite annoyance at the start of a recording.
An update: Yes, as I'll discuss later, you can now with later versions of Connect go back and edit the recording, but you probably won't bother, so just keep this in mind.
When you're done, you simply hit the Meeting>Record Meeting menu option again, or the red "recording" icon/dot in the top right of the Connect interface (which tells you you're recording).
Note that there is no "pause" feature. If you stop it, you're stopping that recording and would need to start a new one. If you're having multiple talks during a meeting, it may be best anyway to create a separate recording for each.
Here's another tip: you can use the ease of creating recordings to create a quick one before the start of the meeting to test how you and your presenter sound. Sometimes, you can't judge by what you hear, if you've got bad bandwidth temporarily. You can create a quick recording, go listen to it, then delete it. I'll show how to find the recordings next.
Finding the Recording URL
OK, so you've made your recording. Now, how do you find it? I hear this lament from user group managers all the time. In fact, it was 2 such pleas for help that I saw today which sparked me to create this entry (been meaning to for some time).
You get to the recordings not through the Connect interface but instead through the same interface you use to create the meeting. (Each Connect account may have a different URL, and of course you need a valid login/password, so I can't tell you how to get in. If someone else setup the meeting, you need to contact them, or your Connect administrator, to get that info.)
On the Admin page, click the "Meetings" link on the top of the page. That will show all your current meetings. (You can also use "my scheduled meetings", but it's a slightly different presentation of meetings list.) Select your desired meeting (the one where you made the recording--as you may see several listed).
You will then see several links, one of which will be "Recordings". That's where the recordings (if any) for that meeting will be listed. Click that.
Now you can click on a recording (that name you gave when you started the recording). That will show you the URL for the recording ("URL for viewing"). You can click the link right there to have it open and start playing the recording. You'll want to make sure it sounds and looks good. If not, just take notes to do things better next time.
You can't edit the recordings in any way. An Update: note that you can now edit your recordings, such as to remove deadspace at the beginning or in the middle, or if a speaker loses connectivity for a time, etc. You do such edits from a button on the same manager pages being discussed here.
Tip: Here's another reason to view the recording while you're at this point. If the recording prompts for a username/password, you can alter it to not require that. Indeed, you can also make a slight modification to be able to track how many times the recording is viewed. I cover both in another blog entry, "Webcast: How to track views of your Breeze/Acrobat Connect recorded presentations".
Finally, while you're viewing the recording information (whether before or after you move it as discussed in the above-named entry), you will also see an option called "Edit", where you can rename it or add/edit the description. You can change this any time, even after people have started viewing the recording. The URL of the recording won't (and can't) be changed if you edit this information.
Tell the world about your recording
Now that you have the recording URL, you'll certainly want to blog it, and tell the presenter also, as s/he may also blog about it. (Again, be sure to have tested it first to make sure users aren't prompted for a username/password.)
Finally, don't forget to post it on the repository of recorded user group presentations, UGTV. Yep, that's a section of my site, but it's for anyone to post recordings to. Indeed, if you find a recording and don't see it listed, you can add it, whether you're the author or not. (If a recording is listed publicly, I can see no reason the author wouldn't want it listed in the UGTV list.) For more on the UGTV, see the UGTV category at right.
Hope that helps. Let me know if I forgot anything, or if it helps you. Feedback is always welcome.