Dojo video production requirements

add1sun's picture

Note that all videos on must comply with these guidelines (prospective from February 23, 2008.) We will accept all submitted videos, but submissions that do not comply may be modified by the Dojo to match these requirements if needed. Currently all videos must be uploaded to and then will be added to the site. (On the new site you will be able to upload a video directly through the site.)

There is also a wiki page that has some tips and tricks for making videos.

Video Requirements:
- Codec used needs to be H.264
- Finished frame size: All screencasts must be done in either 640x480px, or 800x600px.*
- Frame rate: 10-15
- Audio sampling: mono, 22.05 - 44.10 kHz
- Use multi-pass encoding (to reduce file size while maintaining quality)
- Use a CC (Creative Commons) by-SA license bumper at the end of the video (taken from and also available in the d.o handbook,
- If you use music (e.g. for intro/outro) make sure it can be released under CC. If in doubt, leave it out.

Our Editor's Timeframe Template:
- Intro screen with video title on Dojo background (see list below)
- 15 seconds for creator/editor credits. If none, then add the pre-made Dojo credits. (see list below)
- The video
- 15 seconds again for creator/editor credits or Dojo credits.
- CC white text on black bumper (from list above.)

Nice to have but not required:
- Transcriptions

*Note that if you're recording a live lesson, you must use 800x600px frame size during the lesson so that it fits the VNC display correctly.

Dojo backgrounds for title screen: (To submit your own, please see the issue.)
Blue Dojo
Grey Dojo

Dojo credits: (To submit your own, please see the issue.)
Intro (these are intended to be placed at the start credit location in the timeline.)

Outro (these are intended to be placed at the end credit location in the timeline.)
Red Sun - by Steven Merrill (smerrill)

Both start and end (these can be placed at either the start or end credit location in the timeline.)
Disco Chalkboard - by Joshua Ellinger (westwesterson)


- Frame size: 800x600 is the

Bence's picture

- Frame size: 800x600 is the maximum unless there is a very specific, technical reason that the video must be larger.

I found out that the best frame size is exactly 800x600, for many reasons:
-it's aspect ratio is 4:3, which means you can safely resize the video - it is important when you upload the video into a video sharing website like
-640x480 is too small - letters must be readable, and in 640x480 it is hard to read the letters in the video
-and 1024x768 is too big

- Final viewing format should be mp4, other formats in addition are welcome

Note that if you use Camtasia Studio, you cannot produce mp4 directly - you have to produce Quicktime then convert it to mp4 - but it reduces quality. Be aware of that if you use this program.

Re: 800 x 600, all of my

add1sun's picture

Re: 800 x 600, all of my videos are actually at 640 x 480 and I think you can see them fine and it uploaded to with no issue (still 4:3) so I don't think going down to 640 is a problem. Going over, to 1024, is too big.

Re: mp4, yeah I thought about it after I put that in and welcome feedback for the best format to require and how to handle making it available to all. Since we will be using, we will get a flash version of each video but that is not necessarily the ideal format either. I do think we need to have a cross-platform format for the originals that we will store.

Learn Drupal online at

Yes, the Lullabot videos are

Bence's picture

Yes, the Lullabot videos are easy to watch. So how about this more accurate description?
- Frame size: exactly 800x600 or exactly 640x480

What's the problem with FLV? Isn't it cross-platform?

How about this?

Senpai's picture

What about something ike this?

"Finished size: All user-submitted screencasts must be done in either 640x480px, or 800x600px. If you're recording a live leson, you must use 800x600px frame size, or the video won't fit in our page's display correctly."

Senpai (my d.o account)

Joel Farris | my 'certified to rock' score

Open Source Video codec

mike stewart's picture

I think it is important to standardize on an open source video codec. As I understand, the files will be available on in a flash format... but I feel staying away from proprietary formats is in the interest of the community.

I'd suggest one of the following codecs (which support MP4):
* x264 - H.264 (MPEG-4 part 10) implementation.
* Xvid - MPEG-4 part 2 codec, compatible with DivX.
* FFmpeg codecs - codecs in the libavcodec library from the FFmpeg project (FFV1, Snow, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, MSMPEG-4, H.264, WMV2, SVQ3, MJPEG, HuffYUV, Indeo and others).

Full list of OS codes:

lowdown on MP4 & why its not really a "standard" ->

mike stewart { twitter: @MediaDoneRight | IRC nick: mike stewart }

I support the h.264 format

Senpai's picture

I think h.264, or the Xvid (MPEG-4) might be our best options.
Senpai (my d.o account)

Joel Farris | my 'certified to rock' score

setting standards too high?

mroswell's picture

I worry that setting such explicit mandates for drupal dojo vidoes will be a barrier to entry for many potential teachers.

Not really too high

add1sun's picture

Well, that may be true for some, but the standards we are setting are not really that high and are pretty standard for making a good video anyway. We also plan to have tutorials for people to follow to help them get set up properly and with specific guidelines we can make our tuts very solid and specific. One common complaint about Dojo videos is the variation in quality and format.

The main idea, besides trying to get quality video material, is to provide consistency in Dojo offerings. This consistency makes Dojo videos more appealing to both viewers and to potential teachers. Not only are the guidelines nice and solid (rather than vague "get it done however" kind of stuff) but also folks who do step up to do them will be able to have a consistent space to put their or their company's name on the video. Basically for the work of making a video and going by our standards, individuals and companies will get free advertising space on some pretty popular content. I think that will motivate folks over the very small barrier we are setting.

Also, an important thing to note is that a teacher can simply record the video section and as long as it is captured at the right size, they can just hand it off to someone else (either a compadre or a Dojo volunteer) to actually edit it down and make the final product. This is why we have 2 15 second spots, the first can be for the teacher that actually captured the video and the second can be for the editor that actually gets it prepped to Dojo specs.

Learn Drupal online at's picture

Mostly this is just about what format do use and sticking a standard Dojo intro and outro segments.


add1sun's picture

OK, I've updated the guidelines with the codec info rather than format and put in the additional frame size requirements. Do they look OK? Anything else we need to add before I break out the chisel? ;-)

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I'm new to screencasting so

clemens.tolboom's picture

I'm new to screencasting so thank for these guideline for creating the output. But are the output vars the same as the inputs?

As I use iShowU for recording there are some options left over maybe worth to discuss, some maybe answered elsewhere:

About sound
- should it be mono or stereo?
- record mouse clicks sound yes or no?
About video
- What is multipass encoding? I don't have an option for that.
- iShowU let the mouse captured in a sprite track. Is that wise to do?


I'm not an expert myself

add1sun's picture

but I think mono audio would be fine (and preferred). Feedback from someone who knows this stuff would be appreciated. :-)

Multipass encoding is normally applied when rendering the video after editing, not while you do the initial recording. We can address this in the future tutorials that will show how to meet these criteria. (But for you, on a Mac, there is an option for this in your iMovie settings when you go to render the video.)

What you do with mouse clicks (sound and tracks is totally up to you.)

Keep in mind that iShowU (which I use too) is for capturing the video and that it will also need to be edited (at a minimum to add the correct bumpers and credits) and then rendered to the final video. If you aren't set up for or are uncomfortable with editing video, then someone else can do that for you. That is why we have two credit spots - the first is for the teacher/recorder and the second is for the editor. If they happen to be the same person, then that person gets to use both spots.

Lullabot loves you

Learn Drupal online at

No mouse click noises, and no stereo sound

Senpai's picture
  1. We don't need any mouse clicky noises, so don't record them.

  2. A single headset mic makes a mono audio source. Two headset microphones equidistant from the sound source (your mouth) makes a dual-mono recording when one mic is recorded onto the left channel and the other mic is recorded onto the right channel.

Don't do this. It only makes the sound track twice the size with no measurable improvement in quality. Recording a true stereo sound would require that there be at least a two foot difference in distance between the first mic and your mouth, and the second mic to your mouth. Thus, if you wanted to wear one mic, and leave the other one sitting on your desk, you'd have a stereo recording. I can't think of a single reason why anyone would want to listen to a stereo soundtrack like this, especially if that second mic was picking up all the clicking noises of your keyboard. No thanks.

Mono sound. No mouse click noises. No mouse track sprites.
Senpai (my d.o account)

Joel Farris | my 'certified to rock' score


Bence's picture

You have to use mono unless you have 2 mouths :) Using stereo sound will result double audio file size and no quality increment.

perhaps a list of applications to create a screencast

jasperguy's picture

It would be nice to show a list of applications to use for the noob like me and others in the same boat.

For the MAC and the PC user.

oops, i just stumbled to this page that addresses my query:

I've been looking for this information!

dmarkcox's picture

One goal getting close to the front is to start making video and podcasts -- however I'm still laying foundations. I must first review PHP (today is the day to start that!). I'm hoping that will go quickly as I am an experienced programmer. I've got Git, Eclipse Helios, and the Drupal plugins ready so here we go -- We'll see how long I spend. The biggest challenge ahead is not the language but learning the API.

Another recommended today is Yes! Very much worthy of the subscription price. I had put down the full premium within the first single day of joining on a monthly basis.

Moving forward with Linux and Drupal requires time. I'm thinking four to six months daily to become a valued volunteer. Others may be faster. I plan to continue as long as I can, avoid distractions, seek opportunities, contribute -- watch, listen, and practice, practice, practice. As they say, "Be Bold". Definately going to make mistakes, but Drupal is one right place!


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