Using QuickTime to create a movie

A group of students wanted to take some 360 models that we had filmed and put up on the web (see here), and record movies of them, with narration. Using QuickTime on a Mac seemed the simplest way to do this, and so we evolved a series of basic instructions to do this:

It’s a good idea to test how you will make the movie first – and then (unless you have already written a script) make notes of what you want to say.

This is the way to make the test AND the final movie.

1) Open Safari and navigate to Use the drop down OBJECTS menu to navigate to the models you specifically want to record.
N.B. – this would work for any web page you wanted to record.

2) When you have found the page you need to record, open the QuickTime Player.

QuickTime icon
QuickTime Player icon

QuickTime Player icon in system tray
QuickTime Player icon in system tray

3) Select File >> New screen recording

4) Make sure that you have the correct mike selected by checking the dropdown menu.

Selecting the mic
Selecting the mic

5) When you are ready, click the red button to start recording.

6) Enlarge your screen size to full screen (if you try to do this before you start recording on QuickTime Player, you will hide the record button)

7) Wait a couple of seconds before you start to speak and manipulate the model.

8) When you have finished, pause for a couple of seconds, then reduce the screen size so that you can see the Quicktime Player icon.

9) Click the black button to stop recording.

10) When you close the Quicktime screen for your movie (by using the red button top left) you will be prompted to save the file.

Saving the movie
Saving the movie

11) Save it to the folder on the desktop called: Students’ wax model videos

12) Name your file using the format: <<video title>> – <<your name>>

And that’s it!


The raw file that is created will be a little rough and ready (for example, it will have the web screen at the front end before the model is expanded to fill the whole screen) so it will need to be smoothed and edited in another program.  We could do it in iMovie, and I’ll address that soon.

CakePHP: Getting the full URL of the current page

In a CakePHP (2.3) project, I needed to echo the full (i.e. including scheme (http, https etc) and hostname) current URL in a view. I assumed this would be easy, and it is, but it wasn’t immediately obvious and took a bit of searching. The following examples assume we are on localhost, the project is called ‘project’ and the current page is /controller/action/1, so we would expect the full URL to be: http://localhost/project/controller/action/1.

The way to do it:

All we need to do is to echo a null url, with the ‘full’ option set to true, which means the scheme, hostname and project path are included. As well as null, any “falsey” value seems to work, e.g. false, 0, “”, and even array().

echo $this->Html->url(null, true);

Produces: http://localhost/project/controller/action/1

The ways not to do it:

echo $this->here;

Produces: /project/controller/action/1. This is missing the scheme and hostname.

echo $this->Html->url();

Produces: /project/controller/action/1. Again, this is missing the scheme and hostname.

echo $this->Html->url( $this->here, true );

Produces: http://localhost/project/project/controller/action/1. Here ‘project’ appears twice, once from $this->here and once as we have set the ‘full’ option to true.

Peer marking systems

With a couple of groups looking at peer marking for:

  • formative essays;
  • formative short answer questions

now seemed like a sensible time to look at what’s out there to make this possible so have created the following Google Spreadsheet – please feel free to add to/modify (apologies for any errors):


Google Maps need resizing after being “shown” with JavaScript/JQuery

If you have a Google Map on a page that, for example, starts off hidden and is shown using JavaScript (inc. JQuery or another library), it seems to only load the top left map tile. In order to fix this, you need to resize the map after showing it, using the following line:

google.maps.event.trigger(map, 'resize');    //map is your google.maps.Map object

This is mentioned in the resize event in the Map class documentation.