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Recording your next user group meeting (and finding the recording)

Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
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.

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I use the one provided by Adobe, and my account doesn't have access to the recording area.
All I do is ping Ed Sullivan an email and sends me the URL
# Posted By David | 6/14/07 8:11 PM
I don't understand that, David. I was referring to the kind of account that user group managers are given, by Adobe. All the steps I offered were relative to that kind of account.

Are you making your statement from memory? Or have you followed the steps I gave (just a couple) and you STILL can't see recordings? I'd be VERY interested to hear that, please. Thanks.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/14/07 9:37 PM
Hi Charlie,

I don't have access to the recordings.
If I go to a meeting I have set up, and look at the "Recordings" tab for it, there are no recordings there.
I now seem to access to the tab, where I used to get a "no rights" message, but either way the meeting recordings have been moved.

If I go to the meeting I set up for you "Hidden Gems" meeting, the recording of the main meeting is not there.
As per the instructions I got when starting to use the Connect Room, I pinged Ed and he sent me the URL.

This may have changed, but I either missed the email, or wasn't told :-)

I'll follow this up with Ed and see what he says
# Posted By David | 6/14/07 11:58 PM
David, since Ed's out of pocket a couple days (recovering from his running the Community Summit), I'd like to press on to confirm things ourselves, if you don't mind.

First, I wonder if it's possible that the meeting recording was moved, as I mention in the other entry I did which I linked to above, on how to make it so you can track viewers. That entails moving the meeting to the "content" area. If you click the "content" tab (next to "meetings" on the top menu bar), that may be where the recordings are now located.

But either way, since you're referring to a past meeting, where Ed's perhaps done something to it, how about instead just opening the meeting room, do a quick recording (even a few seconds will suffice), and then see if you see it show up under the "recordings" tab as I'd discussed.

I really do want to get to the bottom of this, as I certainly don't want to have shared info that doesn't work for everyone. I just have no reason to believe that the setup I'm looking at (for my user group account) is different from any other manager. (I have an account as Community Expert, as well, but I tested all this functionality on both accounts and it's the same.) Thanks for your patience, David.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/15/07 7:07 AM
Hi Charlie,

I have just heard back from Ed, and now we don't need to ping him for the recordings.
I'm not sure when that changed, but it means your instructions are right :-)
# Posted By David | 6/16/07 5:41 AM
Maybe things used to be different in the past and they changed it (to relieve Ed of the burden), as more and more managers were doing recordings. Feel free to spread the word to other managers as you see fit. :-) I really hope this leads to more recordings--and still more postings into the UGTV. People are loving how they can find so many topics so easily. The more, the merrier.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/16/07 11:16 AM
Charlie - Thanks for posting this - it's still useful 2 years later. Also, an update - it appears that we can now edit our sessions slightly - cut out sections such as the flailing around at startup that you mention. - Douglas
# Posted By Douglas McCarroll | 5/17/09 6:19 PM
Thanks for the kind regards, Douglas, and yes, good point about being able to edit the recordings now. I'll go back and edit the entry. I never mind doing that. Thanks for the heads up.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 5/17/09 8:55 PM
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