Monday, June 1, 2015

Making a Drawing Projector

I have seen drawing projectors in a couple of other schools and I really rather wanted one but didn't like the price of them.
I liked the way the whole class could see what was being explained / demo'd / shown by the teacher as it was projected onto the board via the class projector. I also thought I could use one to record drawing skills to add to the online "mooc" style that I have been using to set up my class website.

I decided to recycle one of the class drawing boards and with the help of part of a wooden handle and a small piece of scrap wood, I managed to spend less than $20. This was spent on a webcam to transfer the video across to a computer.

This worked really well using Quicktime. I chose "Mew Movie Recording", then this works for both uses. It shows on the computer screen what the webcam is seeing, so this can be projected onto the board via the class projector. There is also a record button so you can record what you do with the students or prepare one earlier to put on the class website.

Here are some very quick experiments I made today to test it out.

Test 1 - normal quality with no extra lighting.

Test 2 - normal quality with extra lighting from a clip on lamp.

Test 3 - high quality with extra light.

Test 4 - high quality with no extra light and drawn in pen

The file size is noticeably larger on the high quality recording. This was evident when saving the file and most evident when uploading the file to the web.
Is the difference in quality worth a 3 hour upload time? This as only a test so it was very short. The real ones will be a lot longer.

This "creation" has definite possibilities and I am looking foreword to giving it a go in class next week.
I will also be testing if it works with Screencastify, as this is on all the student's chrome browsers. If it does, then they can make some too on their chromebooks. !!


  1. Hi Karen, thanks for this informative post! I'm working with a cross-curricular teacher in Gisborne at Campion College and he's exploring ways to do what you have. To start with his innovation was to tape his phone to the bottom of a chair and film this way. He wasn't happy with the quality though so was really happy to see what you'd done. Thanks again for sharing and it would be awesome to hear an update... which iteration did you pursue in the end? Thanks again for so generously sharing!

    1. Thanks Amie. I now have this funny image in my head of a chair on a table over some work a phone strapped to it!!
      I normally have it set to a medium recording setting if I am recording it as it is really not worth the HUGE upload time for the small improvement in quality. The normal lighting level in the classroom is usually sufficient for the job so I don't need to faff about with extra lights.