Touching Up Adobe Connect Recordings

written by Geoff Bowers on Monday, 13 July, 2009 @ 05:29 PM

Adobe Connect is a great tool for running online meet-ups of all sorts. We've recently started using it to run our FarCry Developer Q&A sessions. You can record and play-back the meeting through Adobe Connect itself, but it's often desirable to do a bit of post production before you distribute your recording to a wider, more discerning, audience; clean-up the video, edit out the bloopers, trim down the waffle and so on.

Connect provides an option to export recorded meetings as FLV. In practice, the export tool is clumsy, and generates a corrupted FLV file. Basically it's crap but it's all you've got to work with. Thought it might be worthwhile jotting down how we got a semi-decent workflow together for tidying up Connect recordings.

Record Connect Session

The hardest part about recording the session is remembering to hit the record button. I always try and do this just before the session starts because the smaller the recording overall the easier it is to manage throughout the post production process.

Make sure all the action occurs in the top half of your screen. You may lose a little bit off the foot of your window in post production when you crop the viewport.

Make sure your font for any code demos is large -- as large as you can get it and still do a useful demo

"Make Offline" and export to FLV

When you select "Make Offline", Adobe Connect starts a special player that essentially re-plays the entire recorded session and captures a local recording of the entire play-back window as an FLV.
Make sure you have the correct aspect ratio for your play-back window before you start the recording. I recommend just maximising the view to your screen. Do not attempt to interrupt or pause the play-back for any reason -- you cannot restart it. Absolutely do not resize the window once the "recording" play-back has started -- if you do by accident just stop and start again because you won't get the final file to transcode properly.

Yes, you have to wait until the entire recording has been played back. Get a cup of tea, paint your toenails, whatever works to while away the time.

Transcode Video to MP4

FLV is not something you can manipulate -- it's a sort of play-back only format for video. So to do any post-production work on the video you need to transcode it to some other format. This is way tougher than it looks because there is something wrong with the exported file format that Adobe Connect generates -- whatever it is, it's not a standard FLV.

We tried several different desktop transcoders (such as VisualHub) and nearly all dropped the audio completely or worse. Fortunately, we have a fair amount of experience in house working with FFMPEG, and we've devised some configs to handle "shot in the head" video. Your luck may vary.

(Post in the comments if you find a standard Desktop tool that reliably transcodes this dodgy FLV!)

Post Production

Crop video to remove crap around the outside. The recording from Adobe Connect is going to put in a control bar at the bottom, which throws off the scaling of your recording -- this gives you cruft around 50% of your recording that looks better removed.

I like to keep the ratio at the standard 16:9 widescreen. This may mean sacrificing a little bit of footage off the bottom of your recording. Alternatively you may need to move your video to a pillar box ratio like 4:3 to fit what you need into shot.

Play with your video in your preferred editing suite (I find iMovie does the trick) and export to your preferred delivery format when you're done. If you're stuck for what format you should use for video online, try Argh.. Flash Video?! Where do you start?

Eh, Voila!

Here's an example I cooked up earlier:


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