Techsmith Relay Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most important things to know about Techsmith Relay?
- Techsmith Relay is available free to all Pacific faculty, students and staff.
- Techsmith Relay can be used on any PC or Mac, on campus or off.
- Audio and video of what’s happening on your computer screen is captured.
- This video can be published in a variety of formats and to a variety of places.
- By default, anyone can publish to Box. See our article on Publishing to Box via Techsmith Relay.
What is Techsmith Relay?
Techsmith Relay is a system for capturing video from a computer screen, and audio from a microphone, and then publishing that video, in a variety of formats, to a variety of places. The video will show whatever was happening on the screen of your computer while you were recording. This type of software is typically known in an academic setting as “lecture capture” because it can be used to make video of classroom lectures. Unlike some other lecture capture software, Techsmith Relay recordings are not scheduled, but ad hoc, meaning the person who wants the recording must turn the recorder on and off.
I need some place to put my video files once I’ve created them. Does Techsmith Relay host files?
No, the Techsmith Relay server only processes and publishes files to their destinations. Once they are published to their destination, they are deleted from the server.
Who can use Techsmith Relay?
All Pacific University faculty, students and staff can use Techsmith Relay.
How do I record?
First, you must have the Techsmith Relay recorder on the computer you are using. To get the recorder, go to relay.pacificu.edu, ignore any certificate errors, log in with your PUnet ID, and choose “Download” on the upper right. Download the appropriate version and install it (or, download the portable recorder, see “Do I have to be administrator on a machine to put the relay recorder on it?” below).
Second, once Techsmith Relay is on the computer in question, run it. You will be prompted to put in your PUnet username and password. Once logged in, choose the profile you wish to record to. Give your presentation a title. It is strongly suggested that, before you do your recording, you click the blue Test button. This will do a short (10 second) recording which is immediately played back for you. This will help you make sure that everything is set up correctly in and that the microphone volume is good.
When you are ready to record, click the red record button. The recorder will minimize and you will be given a countdown before the recording actually begins. Once the recording begins, everything that happens on your screen will be captured, along with any sound coming through the selected audio channel. You can pause the recording at any time by restoring the recorder (double click on it at the bottom of the screen) and clicking on the pause (two vertical lines) button. End the recording by clicking the button with the square in it.
After you end the recording, the system will process the recording. Processing, depending on the speed of the computer, can take up to 5 minutes per hour of recording. After processing is over, you will be shown a small preview of your recording, and you can choose to either Discard the recording, or to Submit it. If you choose Submit, another program that runs invisibly in the background will begin uploading the recording to the Techsmith Relay server. It is important that you leave the computer on while the recording is being uploaded. Uploading can take an amount of time approximately equal to the original length of the recording (e.g. a 1 hour recording might take an hour to upload). After it is uploaded, the recording is processed by the server, converted in to one or more media formats (depending on the profile you used) and uploaded from the server to its publishing destination(s). You will receive an email notifying you that the presentations have been published, and providing links to those presentations.
Can I edit my recording before publishing it?
The only editing the system allows is trimming, by which you can remove material from the beginning or end of a recording. To trim your recording, do the following: after you have stopped your recording, and are presented with a preview of your recording before submitting it, click the Trimming button. Click on the timeline to select the point when you want your recording to begin, and click on the button below that looks like a left-hand bookend. Next, click to select the point where you want your recording to end, and click on the button that looks like a right-hand bookend. Then hit submit.
Can Techsmith record from dual monitors?
The recorder will only record from a single monitor. If you have a dual monitor setup on your computer, you will be prompted before the recording begins to choose which monitor to record from.
What computers can run the Techsmith Relay recorder?
Any Mac with OS 10.4.11 or higher, and any Windows computer with Windows XP, Vista or 7 can run the recorder. In addition, you should have 2 GB if free space on your hard drive for each hour of video you plan to record.
Where can I publish to?
By default, all users have the Box publishing profile. See our article on Publishing to Box via Techsmith Relay.
How can I check on the status of my recording/publishing?
If you log into relay.pacificu.edu with your PUnet username and password, and then click on Presentations, you can check on the status of all presentations. Use the pull down menu to choose between those presentations that need attention, those that are being uploaded, those being processed, those that have been completed, deleted or that have failed for some reason. Click on each presentation for more details and, if published, links to the published location. In addition, you will get an email when your recording is done being published.
Can someone who doesn’t have a PUnet ID and password record?
The recorder has a Guest feature. This allows anyone to make a recording, and put in the email address of a person who can approve or deny publishing of the recording. When starting up the recorder, just choose the Guest button (upper right), enter a name and an email of someone with a valid PUnet ID and password. That person will receive an email notifying them that a recording has been uploaded and giving them the ability to publish that recording to any publishing profile they have access to.
How long does it take to publish?
The server can only process and publish one recording at a time. This means that there may be recordings in queue before you, and your recording may have to wait minutes or hours depending on the number of recordings in the queue in front of you. As a general rule, however, you should expect to take the length of the recording and multiply that by three. E.g. after submitting a 1 hour recording, expect to wait 3 hours before it is published.
How big will my recordings be?
It depends upon the profile used and the amount of motion in the video, but a typical video file will be 1.5 MB per minute. The highest quality recording (see “Why do some profiles give me a higher resolution video than others?” below) is roughly 8 MB per minute.
How much free space do I need when recording?
It depends on how much motion there is on your screen. If there is a lot of motion (e.g. you are showing videos, or powerpoint slides with heavy use of transitions) the recording may take up to 8 GB per hour. A small indicator on the bottom left Recorder while it is recording shows how much remaining free space is available.
What if I do a recording on a podium or other shared computer, and while it’s uploading I log off and someone else logs in?
Your uploading will continue, even if you log off and someone logs on. Your uploading will not continue, however, if the computer is turned off, or if someone changes the operating system (restarting and choosing Mac OS rather than Windows or visa versa).
Do I have to be administrator on a machine to put the relay recorder on it?
To install the regular recorder you must have administrator privileges. However, you can use Portable Recorder from any computer you have access to, without needing to be an administrator. The Portable Recorder only runs, does not install, on a machine. The Portable Recorder does not install the PowerPoint Plugin, but otherwise it has all the same capabilities and features as the regular recorder. To use the Portable Recorder, log in to relay.pacificu.edu with your username and password, go to Download Recorders (upper right) and download the Portable Recorder. This will be a zip file containing both the PC and Mac portable recorders. Unzip this zip file onto a portable device (e.g. portable hard drive, thumb drive). You can then put this portable device onto any recorder and run the recorder (Mac or PC, as appropriate) from there.
Can I record on a computer that doesn’t have internet access?
If you use the Portable Recorder (see last question) on a thumb drive or portable hard drive, you do not have to have an internet connection on the computer you record from. The program will save the recording on the thumb drive or portable hard drive that it is on for uploading later. When you are on a computer with an internet connection, open the Portable Recorder and it will notify you that you have saved recordings and prompt you to upload them.
Where can I get a microphone?
USB Microphones are available for checkout from the TIC (Lower Level Marsh in Forest Grove), the HPIS Office (Creighton Hall 211 in Hillsboro) or from the Education Technology Specialist in Eugene. .
I do a test recording, and get no sound. Why?
It is likely that the audio channel that the Relay Recorder has chosen to record from by default is not the channel that sound is actually coming in on. Click the microphone icon in the top of the Recorder. It will open a list of audio channels. Try different channels, talking after you have selected each, to see which one the sound is coming in on. By default, the recorder will automatically adjust microphone sensitivity based on your speaking volume. To change the sensitivity manually, click on the green “Auto” button (so it turns get) and use the Audio Input Level slider.
Can I set up hot-keys to start, pause and stop recording?
Yes, click on the key-with-red-dot button on the top of the Relay screen. You can then define the key combinations (e.g. Shift-M or Control-Alt-F2) that will start/pause and stop Techsmith. Note that the Techsmith Recorder application must be running in order to start recording with a hot-key.