First page Back Continue Last page Overview

VISITview tutorial

June, 2002
(This section added in June, 2005)

Automatic Recording of Audio and Annotations

This page introduces you to the Automatic audio and annotation recorder provided with VISITview.  The purpose of this tool is to allow you to record your voice and your on-screen annotations (actually all commands like start/stop animation, zooming, moving the BRP, etc), for later playback by the students in an off-line mode. Note this differs from the "page-by-page" audio and annotation recorder (click here) in that it is designed for recording "live" sessions.

Recording is still done page-by-page, but the Automatic Recorder will automatically save the page files whenever the instructor moves along to the "next page" of the lesson.

Finally, the audio is being recorded by default at about the slowest practical rate (8000 samples per second, 8-bit values, monaural) to keep the file sizes down. Even at this, however, the audio files will be about 500K bytes for every minute of audio recording! This implies, potentially, that a 45 minute session will produce audio files of about 25MB. The annotation files tend to be quite small.

After you have completed recording a session using the Automatic Recording program, you can go back and re-record audio and/or annotations for any of the pages by using the "page-by-page" recorder.

Starting the Automatic Recorder

  1. First start your lesson, using one of the "convenience batch files" contained in the saved lesson file (e.g., "visitlocal.bat" or "visitm.bat", etc.)
  2. Next, start the automatic recorder using the autorecord.bat file, or click on the Start->Program Files->VISITview Lesson Builder->Automatic Recorder.

  3. A "file dialog" will appear. Find the .bat file you started your lesson with in #1 and click on it. This is very important since the Automatic Recorder reads these files to obtain information about the lesson (server, group, etc).

  4. The Automatic Recorder window will appear.

  5. When you are ready to start recording, click the "Start" button. The recording will not start until a page has been loaded (if one is already loaded when you click "Start" the recording starts immediately).

  6. When you have finished, click the "Quit" button. The current page's recordings will be written to disk and the window will close.

During the recording session

You may click the Pause button any time. To start the recording back up, click the Resume button. If you do not restart the recording, and the instructor goes to a page that has not been previously recorded, the pause will be cancelled, the page's files will be written, and a new file opened for the new page.


During the automatic recording, the software will make only this assumption: If the instructor returns to a previously-recorded page, the recording continues for the original page's file.

If the instructor moves to a page that has not been previously recorded, the software will write the current page's audio and annotation files to disk and then start new files for the newly selected page.

Summary of Controls and Status display


Re-packing your lesson

When you are finished with the recordings, you'll want to repackage your lesson files to include the audio and annotation recordings. The easiest way to do this is to run ZIP directly to repackage all your lesson files.

Audio streams may get quite large, and so you might consider just ZIPping the audio/annotations and have the users download and install these separately.

Important Note: if you later re-edit the lesson using the Lesson Builder, you will have to recopy the contents of the autoplay directory, since it is not automatically re-written by the Lesson Builder.

Here's the way to use ZIP to repackage both the audio+annotations separately, or your entire lesson:

  1. From within the directory where you have installed the 'visitpack' (and from which you run the Lesson Builder), run one of the following batch files: In either case, you will be prompted to enter the name of the ZIP file to store the audio and annotations into. NOTE: this ZIP file must be put into your lesson directory and not the autoplay directory where your audio and annotation files are all located.

  2. Running either batch file will ZIP up any updated .class files, the visitplay.bat file, and all the files in your lessons "autoplay" directory. The first batch file (mkrepack) also ZIPs up the rest of the lesson files.

The Student's View

When the student gets your updated lesson, they install it in the usual manner. When they want to play it back, however, they use the command: visitplay.bat This command starts the client, the server, and the playback dialog:

They can then control the lesson playback as desired. The Prev and Next buttons step backward and forward one page. They may also just click on a Page Label, and the playback will start for that page. The playback will continue to progress through the pages automatically.

To return to the start of the tutorial, please click here.
To return to the VISITview Home Page, please click here.