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Uploading Videos Into Pivot Interactives
Teacher Instructions for Uploading Video
Teacher Instructions for Uploading Video

You can upload your own video and analyze it with our tools in an Instructor Instance Upload.

Peter Bohacek avatar
Written by Peter Bohacek
Updated over a week ago


You can upload videos for students to analyze using the measurement tools in Pivot Player, or you can embed videos from Youtube. This article is about uploading videos for use in the Instructor Instance Upload. For information about embedding Youtube videos in activities, go here.

Pivot Interactives allows teachers to create activities based on a video that the teacher uploads. For example, say a teacher discovers a giant rope swing and thinks it would be good for students to experimentally determine the length of the pendulum. The teacher records a video on her cellphone and then creates a Pivot Interactives activity based on the video. When the teacher assigns this activity to students, students can analyze the teacher's video to complete the activity.

Record video

Making the Ruler:

  1. Make sure to place a scaling object (an object of known size) in the video, with the object the same distance from the camera as the moving object. You'll need it to scale the rulers when you analyze the video.

  2. Make your scaling object something that takes up a large part of the screen. If your scaling object is too small on the screen, this will make it difficult to calibrate the rulers.

Recording Tips:

  1. Record in an area with lots of light. This will reduce the exposure time and reduce motion blur.

  2. Hold camera still; use a tripod, or rest camera on stationary surface.

  3. Point the camera perpendicular to the direction of motion.

Film Size:

  1. The maximum file size is 50 MB. This is about 1 minute of filming on a standard smartphone.

  2. To get a longer film, you will need to collect less data in each frame.

    1. Trim your video to reduce unnecessary time from the film.

    2. Consider compressing your film using a film compressor (like Cloud Convert).

    3. Reduce the film quality - HD isn't typically necessary.

    4. Turn off any other "special effect" filters like sports mode or color filters.

  3. When filming, you do not need to use the "slow motion" feature of your film. You will be able to analyze your film frame-by-frame.

I have a good film. Now what?

Send the film to your computer. Common methods include:

  • Emailing the video to yourself from your phone and retrieve the file using your email account while on your laptop.

  • Using Airdrop in iOS or Google Drive to transfer the file to your laptop.

Create an Activity for the Video

  1. From your My Library page, click +New Activity

  2. In the Activity Info area, enter the Name of the activity and a short description (optional), then save the activity. You want to see Edit Activity: (Name). This means your activity can be previewed as you save. It will look like this:

  3. Click Activity Content, then Add Section to create the first section of the activity. Name this section. Your activity will not save if you don't.

  4. In the Add Component dropdown, select Instructor Instance Upload, then click +.

Upload the video into your activity

Only MOV and MP4 files can be uploaded into Pivot Interactives. Also, video files must be encoded with the H.264 codec. Video from Apple iPhones and Android phones can be directly uploaded into Pivot Interactives. If you are not sure, just upload the video to see if it works. If the video does not display after uploading, try converting it to MP4.

Once you have a good video, upload it to Pivot Interactives.

Uploading from your Computer

  1. Share the video on your phone with your computer. Common methods include uploading the film to a cloud source, like Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox, or emailing the film to yourself.

  2. From your source, download the film onto your computer.

  3. Click Choose File.

  4. Select the video from your download location.

  5. Verify the record and playback frame rate settings

    1. Most phones record video at 30 frames per second. But slow motion can be 60, 120, 240, or even 960 fps. Check your phone settings to find the recorded frame rate.

    2. Most phones encode video for playback at 29.97 fps, but some exceptions exist. You can check your phone's settings to verify the frame rate.

  6. Once the film's name appears under the "Select Video" area, click Update to load your film.

Calibrate the rulers

If you want students to make measurements from your video using rulers, you'll need to calibrate the rulers when you create the activity. Your calibration will be saved, and all students will see the calibrated rulers. On instructor-uploaded video, students do not have the opportunity to re-calibrate the rulers.

To calibrate the rulers:

  1. Click on the Tools icon, then click the Calibration tool:

  2. Drag the ends of the calibration tool to align with the reference object in the video. In this case, we're using a Post-it note because post-it notes are a standard size: 3" x 3".

  3. When the ends are positioned correctly, type the length of the reference object, with units, into the text box in the middle of the calibration tool.

    Notice that the ruler automatically adjusts based on your calibration distance.

  4. You can verify that the calibration is correct by clicking on the ruler tool and measuring the reference object with the ruler.

  5. When you are satisfied with the calibration, press Save at the top of the activity.

Some notes:

  • You do not need to use "even" measurements. In the case of the Post-It, it is 3 inches wide. However, if I want my ruler to be in metric, I need to use the converted width, 7.62 cm. The ruler will adjust to show a 1 cm distance just fine.

  • You can change this after the assignment is assigned. It will update for your students immediately upon saving.

  • You do not need to use "traditional" measurements. The ruler reads your input as "distance units". So, you can measure the distance in dolls or hands or even dinosaur figurines. The sky is the limit!

Complete the activity

  1. Add instructions for the students, describing what kind of analyses you expect them to do.

  2. Add additional components to the activity, such as data tables and graphs or open-ended questions.

  3. Save the activity, and assign it to your students.

Convert video to MP4 format

If you have a video that is not MOV or MP4, or is encoded using a different codec, you can use free online conversion tools like Cloud Convert to quickly convert any video file to .mp4. Here's how:

  1. Click Select Files

  2. Select .mp4, and click Start Conversion

  3. When the conversion is complete, click Download to download the video.

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