Kaltura – what is it good for?

In your travels you may have encountered mentions of Kaltura, Desktop Recorder and My Media. What are these tools, what are they good for and are they all the same thing, or different?

Kaltura is our streaming media platform, the Flinders equivalent of YouTube. It is a core part of our supported technology for teaching and learning online. Kaltura can be used for any audio or video relevant to teaching in FLO. It allows us to store, stream, record, edit, caption, create timeline chapters and see engagement statistics.

The uses of Kaltura in learning and teaching are many, and you can find examples in the Video entry in Flo Staff Support.

Kaltura provides 3 key components accessible directly through FLO. These are:

  1. My Media
    This is your personal media repository. It is where your videos are stored and managed.  Any video in your My Media is private – only you can see it until you publish the video. You can upload any video or audio that you have created using Kaltura Capture Desktop Recorder or another tool like Camtasia, voice over PowerPoint or even your mobile phone. My Media allows you to: edit the video; request captions; view engagement analytics; and for more adventurous users, add chapter markers (timeline markers).
  2. Topic Media Vaults
    Each topic in FLO has its own Media Vault. When you publish a video from ‘My Media’ to a FLO topic Media Vault, it becomes accessible to any staff member with an editing role in that topic.  When published, you are still the owner of that video. You can publish the video in other topics or make changes to it. Publishing to a topic does not create a copy; each topic it is published to uses the original video, so any edits will be reflected in every topic that a video is published to. Information on how to embed a video from the Media Vault is available from Flo Staff Support.
  3. Kaltura Capture Desktop Recorder
    The Desktop Recorder is an ‘app’ that downloads and installs on your computer and makes it simple to record videos or audio. The Desktop Recorder can capture any combination of audio, video (webcam) and your screen. Once you’ve recorded a video using the Desktop Recorder you can upload directly into ‘My Media’. From there, publish to your topic Media Vault, and subsequently in the topic site. Information on how to download and use Desktop Recorder is available from Flo Staff Support.

Can’t I just upload the video/audio file directly into FLO?
We recommend using Kaltura for video/audio in FLO because when a media file is uploaded to Kaltura it is automatically processed to create ‘streaming’ versions. When a user plays media ‘streamed’ by Kaltura, the system can automatically select a bitrate suitable for the user’s internet speed to give the best possible viewing experience.

What does ‘streaming’ and ‘bitrate’ mean?
Streaming media is video, or audio content sent in compressed form over the Internet and played immediately, rather than being saved to the hard drive. With streaming media, a user does not have to wait to download a file to play it – because the media is sent in a continuous stream of data, it can play as it arrives.

Bitrate is the amount of data encoded in a single second of the video. Bitrate directly affects both the quality and file size of the video you are streaming. For slower internet, lower bitrates are used so that the packets of information reach the user fast enough that the video can play smoothly/continuously without constant buffering. The trade-off is a slightly lower quality. This is an important consideration when thinking about accessibility.

For more information including how-to guides visit Kaltura Flo Staff Support.

Written by Karen Lillywhite
Learning Designer (BGL) – CILT

Posted in
Ed tech

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