The Panopto Focus Recorder is an application that allows you to quickly record and upload video to your Panopto account where it can be linked to a CourseWeb page or through email. To get a better understanding of Panopto, please visit our Getting Started With Panopto page. While it is possible to directly upload a simple video file through the Panopto website without using the Panopto Focus Recorder (for a video tutorial on this, see Panopto Support’s video on video uploads), the application allows for the acquisition of multiple video channels simultaneously, from a webcam or other camcorder, desktop screen recorder, as well as PowerPoint Presentations.
Please see out post on Creating Videos in Panopto for more detail.
To download the Panopto Focus Recorder, go to My Pitt Video. You should see Download Recorder link underneath your username in the upper right hand corner.
Once you’ve downloaded the installer, open it to begin installation. Follow the instructions in the installer window until they are complete. You will need Administrator privileges to your computer to install new software.
Once you have completed the installation, open the Panopto Focus Recorder application. If this is your first time using Panopto on this computer, you will be prompted to log in.
For a Video Tutorial on this installation process, please see the Panopto Support tutorial video on installing the Focus Recorder.
The log in process varies between the Windows and Mac versions. When logging in, make sure that the server address is set to pitt.hosted.panopto.com. If you are asked for a provider, make sure it is set to Pitt-CourseWeb, or click Sign in with Pitt-CourseWeb. In either case, you should see the CourseWeb log-in screen appear, where you can sign in using your Pitt username and password.
Understanding the Program
There are three tabs at the top of the Windows Panopto Focus Recorder: Create New Recording (A), Recording Status (B), and Settings (C).
On the Create New Recording page (A), you should see several items. If you have any webcams built or plugged into your computer, they may automatically begin displaying under the Primary Source monitor (D). If it does not, or if you wish to choose a different camera, all available webcams should be available under the Video (E) drop-down menu (keep in mind many laptops will have built-in webcams). This also applies to any microphones that you have plugged in, which can all be accessed under Audio (F) (keep in mind most webcams have built in microphones).
You will also have a number of Secondary Capture Sources, listed on the bottom left (G). You can select multiple secondary sources for recording without interfering with one another. By default, you will have the option to Capture PowerPoint (H) and Capture Main Screen (I). These options allow you to record the actions that occur on your computer screen, or directly from a PowerPoint presentation. It is redundant to record both of these at the same time unless you plan to leave the PowerPoint during your lecture and record the use of another utility on your desktop. If you have a secondary screen, or if your computer is plugged into a projector, is will appear as Capture Second Screen (J), which is available for selection. If you have another camera or monitor that you wish to capture as well that is not appearing on this list, you can select Add Another Video Source (K) to search for it.
If you do not see anything in your Main Screen window, do not be concerned. In order to avoid creating an “infinite mirror” effect, Panopto disables the screen recorder preview by default. You can re-enable it by clicking the checkbox on the bottom right of this screen. Regardless of whether you have this box checked or not, the program will capture your screen as long as you have Capture Main Screen (I) selected.
The displays associated with your Secondary Capture Sources (G) will appear in the large main monitor on the bottom right. Depending on what you have checked in the lower left area, different items will be available via tabs on the top of this main monitor. Consider carefully which sources you wish to capture during your lecture. When viewing your finished recording, students will be able to toggle between these sources, so keep this in mind when recording your video.
If all you want is to record your face, your desktop, or both, you are ready to begin. If you wish to also record a PowerPoint presentation, you can click the specific tab over the main monitor to view your PowerPoint options. If you already have PowerPoint open, you will see the option to Start presenting when recording starts, which will automatically open PowerPoint in presenter mode when you click the big red Record button. You will also be prompted to Open a different Presentation if you wish.
If your PowerPoint is not open, you will see a notice that PowerPoint is not running, and be prompted to Open a Presentation. If you click this button, you will be prompted to Begin recording after PowerPoint opens. If you click Yes, you will begin recording your video. If you click No, PowerPoint will simply open, and the PowerPoint tab in primary monitor of the Panopto Focus Recorder will switch over to the first view.
At the bottom of the Recorder, you will also see you resolution settings, which should default to your desktop screen size, as well as your video bit rate. In both cases, higher values are equal to higher quality, but keep in mind that the higher quality the video, the longer it will take to upload and process.
At the very top of the Panopto Focus Recorder, you will see a large red Record button (L), a text area to name your recorded session (which will default to the current date and time) as well as the folder that you will be uploading your recording to. If none are selected, it will default to Offline Recording (M). All videos recorded using Offline Recording will remain on that computer, and not be uploaded until a folder is selected. To select a folder, simply click the large drop down arrow button (N) to the right of the name field. You can select your folder before or after you complete your recording. You can also select Webcast (O) to stream your presentation as a webcast. If you have already set up a webcast in My Pitt Video, or if you would like to join this computer to another recording currently in session, select Join Session (P).
Once you have recorded a video, you will be presented with a confirmation window, that offers to upload your recording or delete and record again. You will once again have the opportunity to edit the name of your video here. You must upload your recording to preview or edit your work.
If you have recorded any videos on this computer already, the Recording Status tab (B) will allow you to review the status of your videos. You can immediately launch into My Pitt Video by clicking Manage My Recordings (Q) at the top. Beneath that, you can see a breakdown of the date of creation for each video, the duration, the course folder they have been uploaded to, the option to Delete Local (R), which removes the backup on your computer, Set Offline (S), which removes the video from its course folder, as well as links allowing you to View, Edit and Share the video (T), which open browser windows for the video player, editor and share screen (see Panopto Folder Settings for more details). If you have any offline recordings, they will also be displayed in a separate area where you can upload them to a Course Folder or delete them.
If you have just finished recording a video, this page will also display for you the Upload Progress (U), and later display whether the video has been queued for encoding, meaning that the upload has completed and you may close the Panopto Focus Recorder without losing progress, but that the video is still processing on the Panopto website. The longer the video you record, the longer it will take to upload and process. More details in Recording Your Video below. Also, if you have any Offline Recordings (V), you may choose to upload them to one of your provisioned course folders, or delete them.
The Settings (C) tab allows you to adjust video formats, resolutions and other Recorder settings. This is also where you can find your version number in the bottom right corner.
The Panopto Focus Recorder for Mac is a very simple interface. If this is your first time recording on this computer, it may say that you currently have no recordings on your system. If you have previously recorded something on this computer, those videos will be listed at the top, with Recording Details (A) and a Preview (B) window at the bottom. In either case, you will also see a link to Manage Online Recordings (C), which will open the Panopto website in a browser window.
Previously recorded videos will appear in list form, with the Session name, date of creation, video length, and its upload/offline status. Clicking on any of these videos will open up that video’s Recording Information (B) and a Preview Window (C), which will allow you to playback your video. Details in the Recording Information window include the Course Folder where it is stored (unless it’s an Offline Recording), the Session name, the included streams (Video, Screen recording, PowerPoint, etc), its online status, as well as links to open a browser window that allow you to view the video player, as well as open the video’s Share page (See Panopto Folder Settings for more details).
Clicking the Record button will open the recorder window below.
At the bottom are the Start Recording, Pause and Cancel buttons. Next to that is the option to select a destination Folder (D). Leaving it set to None will create an Offline Recording. Next is the Session name field (E), which defaults to the current date and time. And beneath that is the Webcast (F) option, which will turn your recording into a webcast.
In the Primary Source area, you will see a Video (G) option, which can include a webcam. Beneath that is the Audio (H), which can be set to any microphone you have plugged into the computer.
You can also include a Keynote or PowerPoint (I) presentation by checking the corresponding box at the bottom left. Once selected, you will have to open the desired program and run in full screen mode during your recording in order to capture it.
In the bottom right are the Secondary Sources, which are broken into Secondary 1 (J) and Secondary 2 (K), bother of which are optional. Secondary sources can include a screen capture or additional web cameras, which can be selected from the Source (L) area below.
To adjust video quality settings, recording folder, etc, you may open your Preferences menu. To view your program version number, you may open your About Panopto menu. Both of these options may be found under the Panopto menu in the top left toolbar.
Recording Your Video
For a Video Tutorial on the recording process, please see the Panopto Support tutorial video on using the Focus Recorder for Powerpoints as well as Screencasts. Once you have your desired inputs, video quality and destination folder set up (details above), you can record your video.
If you are recording a PowerPoint and have selected the Begin recording after PowerPoint opens option, you will begin recording as soon as PowerPoint opens. Otherwise, click the red Record button to begin.
One of the settings in the Panopto Focus Recorder tells the recorder to minimize upon clicking the Record button, so if the Panopto Focus Recorder window goes away at this point, the window may be minimized. Conversely, if you have a PowerPoint, and you’ve selected the Start presenting when recording starts option, your PowerPoint will immediately go into full screen presenter mode. However you’ve set your recording up, the Panopto Focus Recorder will capture either your video, screen cast and/or your PowerPoint presentation.
If you wish to pause your recording and resume the same video at a later time, you can click the green Pause button. On your keyboard, you can also click F8 to play, F9 to pause, and F10 to stop.
If you are using a PowerPoint, the Recorder will capture all progression between slides and animations. It will also include comments from your PowerPoint slides. When you are ready to stop recording, pull up the Panopto Focus Recorder window and click the dark Stop button. You can trim the ends off of your videos with Panopto’s online editor (Editing Videos in Panopto), so there is no need to feel rushed to stop your video.
You should then be taken to the Recording Status page. You will see your new video’s upload status appear under Currently Uploading Recordings. Once the Upload Progress is complete, it will be added to the Uploaded Recordings list along with any other videos you’ve uploaded. The video will then display that it is queued for encoding. The time it takes to upload and encode your video is dependent on the length and quality of your video.
Once the video is queued for encoding, the video has finished uploading, and it is safe to close the Panopto Focus Recorder program if necessary. If you wish to View, Edit or Share your video, which includes adding your video to your CourseWeb course, you can wait for the video to finish encoding and then click the View, Edit or Share links on this window to open the Panopto website in your browse. You may of course also access the Panopto website independently to perform the same actions – more detail in Panopto Folder Settings and Adding a Panopto Video Link to Your Blackboard Course.
If you recorded an Offline Recording and wish to upload it, you will need to click the Upload to Server button, and will be prompted to Choose a Session folder to upload your video to. Select Add New Session to select the provisioned course folder and name your session. You can let the video remain offline by clicking Cancel.
To begin recording, make sure any desired PowerPoint or Keynotes are open and click the red Start Recording button.
If you wish to pause your recording and resume the same video at a later time, you can click the black Pause button. If you are using a PowerPoint, the Recorder will capture all progression between slides and animations. It will also include comments from your PowerPoint slides. When you are ready to stop recording, pull up the Panopto Focus Recorder window and click the black Stop button. You can trim the ends off of your videos with Panopto’s online editor (Editing Videos in Panopto), so there is no need to feel rushed to stop your video.
The Panopto Focus Recorder will take you back to the previous page, where you will see the status of your video. If you left your video set to remain an Offline Recording, it will say so and remain so until you change it by selecting that video and selecting the Choose Folder and Upload option in the lower left hand corner. Remember that you can Preview your recording in the lower right hand monitor.
If you select a destination folder prior to recording, it will begin uploading right away. The Status column will show you how much has been uploaded, and afterwards it will tell you whether or not the video has been encoded.
If you wish to View or Share your video, which includes adding your video to your CourseWeb course, you can wait for the video to finish encoding and then click the View, Edit or Share links on this window to open the Panopto website in your browse. You may of course also access the Panopto website independently to perform the same actions – more detail in Panopto Folder Settings and Adding a Panopto Video Link to Your Blackboard Course