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This guide provides details on how to prepare video content for playback, what formatting to use, and how to use video content on the phone, providing links to resources and tools which will be helpful in the process.

Preparing Content - Technical

Most video content is created in a format which isn't broadly compatible with playback on mobile phones both because of the encoding (file format) and the size of the video (in raw bits and in screen resolution), both of which should be corrected when converting the content to be used on a mobile. The first step for preparing a video is to reduce its size.

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  • Mobile Media Converter - Free tool for converting video files into common mobile formats. Don't be confused by all of the junk on the download page, just proceed to the bottom Download button.
  • Any Video Converter- Free tool to convert video files into common smartphone formats.  You can choose specific phones/operating systems.

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Preparing Content - Design

Below are some general suggestions/guidelines/questions for consideration

Designing videos

  • Stick to videos that are around 2-3 min, maybe 5 min would be the longest. If videos are short then there's more flexibility if a phone user wants go to back to a specific part. without getting stuck in navigation. 
  • Always good to make videos and content thinking about the device and "real estate" screen size. It is recommend to make a test video and then field test it with users before investing in making the rest. 
  • Will the video be a still image with panning and zooming, or full animation? 
  • Pace, speed of voice playback and screen changes. The more quickly a scene changes might be difficult to really see what's going on if its a smaller screen or low literate users. Zooming and slowing down really helps.

Organizing videos in your app:

  • Do your users want display text about the video? Alternatively, they might want to have a title screen in the video itself for better viewability and leave the display text as a (.) period or blank (not sure if that's possible)
  • How should the videos be organized? Embedded within a protocol or checklist, associate videos with logic, or simple chapter lesson type format? For chapter/lesson, would you set them up so its modules (chapters) and forms (lessons) or one video module, with different forms that contain different videos? Or could create one form that has all the videos in there and use a top level question to select the video. 

Using Videos

Once the video files have been converted to a compatible format for the phone, it should be included in the forms and transferred onto the memory card as outlined in Multimedia in CommCare. Multimedia support in CommCare includes video playback in question labels.

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