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pfellows
Community Participant

What happened to Downloads of BigBlueButton Videos?

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I am working with a faculty member who is using Conferences to deliver lectures to his students. He connects both an external mic. and document camera to his computer.  He shares the document camera with the students and then also does screen sharing to show Excel. (he does not use a webcam) The students can participate in the live "Conference" or watch the archive later.  He records the session and the students can watch live or watch the archive in Conferences. 

When the professor taught the course in Winter 2017, he was able to expand the recording to full screen, click on the download button, and download the video.  He and his students could see the document camera segments and the screen sharing segments in the downloaded video. 

This week he started teaching the same course, using the same tools, BigBlueButton, a document camera, screen sharing, etc.   For his students who cannot see the archive from the first class, because they were not enrolled in the course the first day of class and thus not invited to the BigBlue conference that day, he downloaded the video.  The change from Winter is that the screen sharing portion of the video is no longer showing in the downloaded video. He can hear himself talking about Excel, but can't see that portion of the recording. On the archived version of the recording in BigBlue/"Conference", the screen sharing of Excel is visible. 

What changed from Winter 2017 to prevent the rendering of a complete video when downloading it?  Since BigBlue does not allow inviting those students to view the archive, the students cannot view this important course content.

1 Solution
ffdixon
Partner
Partner

Hi Pat,

I'm the product manager for BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences).  I also work at Blindside Networks, the company that provides the hosting for BigBlueButton, so while I can't speak directly for Instructure, I can answer you question. 

> The change from Winter is that the screen sharing portion of the video is no longer showing in the downloaded video.

That's correct.  We released a new version of BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences) last month that added multi-user whiteboard, shared notes, and a more modern interface.  It also updated the recording format to display both the desktop sharing and webcams at the same time.

Why the change?

From the user's perspective, when the instructor shared their desktop, the desktop would show in the small video area in the lower right-hand corner.   The problem was the user experience wasn't great -- the video was very small and the user would swap the video with the presentation by clicking the swap button (<-->).  When the desktop sharing was done, user would swap focus back to view the slides in normal size.

In the newer format, the desktop sharing appears over the slides and has much more space to display.  The video in the lower right-hand corner now shows only webcams.

For example, here is what the user sees in the recording when the instructor is sharing slides.

254815_pastedImage_55.png

And here is what the user sees when the instructor shares their desktop

254825_pastedImage_56.png

The overlay of desktop sharing in the presentation area gives a much bigger display. 

> What changed from Winter 2017 to prevent the rendering of a complete video when downloading it?

Our intent was to improve the playback experience for everyone.  The recording format was not designed to be downloadable.  In the updates, the downloadable video now only contains the webcams + audio. 

The desktop sharing is now overlaid on the presentation area and, as a result, is a separate media stream (and even if it was downloadable there would be multiple video files to download, one for each desktop sharing segment).

>  For his students who cannot see the archive from the first class, because they were not enrolled in the course the first day of class and thus not invited to the BigBlueButton conference that day, he downloaded the video.

There are actually two items here: (1) the downloadable portion of the recording no longer contains the desktop sharing, and (2) the built-in logic for Canvas Conferences restricts the viewing of recordings to users who had access to the original session.

There is an option to upgrade to Canvas Conferences Premium that will give you permanent recordings that don't expire and will give you a URL that you can share with others.

That would solve both (1) and (2).  If you reach out to your Canvas Rep, they can give you more details on the upgrade options.

When improving BigBlueButton we sometimes need to change how things use to work.  We're always working in improving the user experience -- do touch base with your Canvas rep to see if the upgrade is an option for your school.

Regards,... Fred
BigBlueButton Developer

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8 Replies
Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello  @pfellows ...

While I do not have an answer for you, I wanted to let you know that I am going to tag  @ffdixon ‌ here in my reply in hopes that he may be able to shed some light on this for you.  I hope this will be of some help to you!

pfellows
Community Participant

Hi Chris,

Thanks for adding Fred Dixon.  

Pat

ffdixon
Partner
Partner

Hi Pat,

I'm the product manager for BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences).  I also work at Blindside Networks, the company that provides the hosting for BigBlueButton, so while I can't speak directly for Instructure, I can answer you question. 

> The change from Winter is that the screen sharing portion of the video is no longer showing in the downloaded video.

That's correct.  We released a new version of BigBlueButton (Canvas Conferences) last month that added multi-user whiteboard, shared notes, and a more modern interface.  It also updated the recording format to display both the desktop sharing and webcams at the same time.

Why the change?

From the user's perspective, when the instructor shared their desktop, the desktop would show in the small video area in the lower right-hand corner.   The problem was the user experience wasn't great -- the video was very small and the user would swap the video with the presentation by clicking the swap button (<-->).  When the desktop sharing was done, user would swap focus back to view the slides in normal size.

In the newer format, the desktop sharing appears over the slides and has much more space to display.  The video in the lower right-hand corner now shows only webcams.

For example, here is what the user sees in the recording when the instructor is sharing slides.

254815_pastedImage_55.png

And here is what the user sees when the instructor shares their desktop

254825_pastedImage_56.png

The overlay of desktop sharing in the presentation area gives a much bigger display. 

> What changed from Winter 2017 to prevent the rendering of a complete video when downloading it?

Our intent was to improve the playback experience for everyone.  The recording format was not designed to be downloadable.  In the updates, the downloadable video now only contains the webcams + audio. 

The desktop sharing is now overlaid on the presentation area and, as a result, is a separate media stream (and even if it was downloadable there would be multiple video files to download, one for each desktop sharing segment).

>  For his students who cannot see the archive from the first class, because they were not enrolled in the course the first day of class and thus not invited to the BigBlueButton conference that day, he downloaded the video.

There are actually two items here: (1) the downloadable portion of the recording no longer contains the desktop sharing, and (2) the built-in logic for Canvas Conferences restricts the viewing of recordings to users who had access to the original session.

There is an option to upgrade to Canvas Conferences Premium that will give you permanent recordings that don't expire and will give you a URL that you can share with others.

That would solve both (1) and (2).  If you reach out to your Canvas Rep, they can give you more details on the upgrade options.

When improving BigBlueButton we sometimes need to change how things use to work.  We're always working in improving the user experience -- do touch base with your Canvas rep to see if the upgrade is an option for your school.

Regards,... Fred
BigBlueButton Developer

pfellows
Community Participant

Hi Fred,

Thanks for your explanation.  It does make sense in terms of the quality of the presentation and the archive of it. I do like the new version of BigBlue!! 

Since our instructor is using a document camera instead of a web camera the camera and screen sharing are both important video tracks.  That all being said, we'll need a solution for the first 2 weeks of the term to accommodate late adds to the course, and I believe we have a workaround for this situation.

Your participation is very valuable on the Canvas Community.  Thank you so much.

Best . . . Pat

I would just like to know how let my students access a recorded BBB session in Canvas.  I've recorded a couple of conferences, stopped the recording, and ended the session.  I don't know what to do to save them for students to view later.  Please help.  I haven't been able to find any tutorials or community comments that address this very basic question.

0 Kudos

 @jmiels , these two lessons should help:

What are Conferences? 

How do I record a conference? 

If you're not using a paid instance of BBB, the recordings are available to your students on the Conferences tab for 14 days. And as the second guide explains, the recordings cannot be downloaded.

Thank you, Stefanie. I love BBB and use it extensively but have been frustrated by this one issue.  I will try your suggestions.  I have another conference this evening.  Jill

karen_tinsley-k
New Member

While this may not be true at all Canvas institutions, I have learned that BBB links can be saved as m4v files (using a right-click on the video image, not the play arrow, selecting "Save video as...") if the recording link is externally opened outside Canvas. We've needed to provide transcripts for student accessibility requirements, so this is why we were looking into how to download from BBB and have the m4v files uploaded elsewhere (Media Comments, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) to allow a timed transcript to work.

0 Kudos