TouchCast for easy videos with dynamic content
TouchCast is fundamentally different from other video apps. I’ve heard people call it “mind-blowing” and I’m inclined to agree. TouchCast merges the video format with web content, creating what the developers call “the video web.” It gives you the ability to overlay video with dynamic, interactive chunks of content that display independently. It’s a powerful tool, it’s easy to use, and it’s free!
“Touch” in the product name refers to the touch-based experience of viewing the videos, while “Cast” is for the production end – making your own videos. The YouTube video (below) gives you a general sense of how TouchCast works, but for the full experience you should really go to the website and interact with one of the examples.
Launched this summer, TouchCast lets you create videos on an iPad (Android and desktop versions are under development), but you can view the results on a desktop.
With TouchCast you use the device’s built-in camera to film yourself or someone else. You can even feed a script into an teleprompter that you see while recording. Video apps – vApps for short – are the widgets that superimpose live content, and they are one of several components you can add to a TouchCast:
- vApps: web page, Twitter, Facebook, images, maps, polls, and more
- Effects: green screen, sounds, video filters
- Titles: they can hide automatically after N seconds
- Whiteboard: annotate the screen or create a white board
If you are thinking of trying out TouchCast, I would suggest lining up vApps, titles, and such before you start capturing video. While you are filming, use your finger to place items anywhere on the screen. I was able to easily create a demo for this blog post. It’s kind of rough, but I didn’t spend a lot of time.
TouchCast on campus
It’s not hard for me to imagine all kinds of applications for TouchCast in higher education:
- Interactive online learning,
- Supplementary tutorials, and
- Technical demonstrations.
In my mind, though, one of the best uses would be for student work, such as a research report, multimedia essay, or creative piece.
For now the entire service is free, with TouchCasts limited to five minutes each and a combined length of one hour. Eventually there will be a paid premium service with higher limits. Fifteen vApps are available at this point, but more will certainly come. I can imagine one for SlideShare, for example.