We have a great new tool available for you to use on the instructor stations in classrooms. It’s called VLC Player and it plays most video and audio files. It works similarly to Windows Media Player, but it has more features.
If video quality is very important when you are playing a DVD for your class, try playing the DVD ahead of time using the classroom computer instead of the DVD/VCR. There are some DVDs that will not play on a computer due to copyright restrictions. If it starts playing successfully, use the computer to play the DVD for your class. The computer has a higher-quality video connection to the projector than the DVD/VCR does.
Here’s how you can use this great new tool.
On the classroom PC, find the video or audio file you want to play. If you are playing it from your U: drive or a flash/thumb drive, browse for the file in “Computer” and right-click on it.
If you are playing a DVD, place the DVD in the player tray and let it load up. It should appear in the D: drive when you click on Start, Computer. Right-click on it. At this time, the disc drives in the classroom computers do not play Blu-Ray discs. As these computers are replaced, we will add that capability.
Scroll down to “Play with VLC Media Player.” In the dialog box that follows, leave “allow downloading media info” checked, but uncheck “allow checking for VLC updates.” Click Save and Continue.
With a DVD, VLC Player gives you a small window with the DVD menu screen.
If you don’t see the DVD Title menu, you can still control the playback with the drop-down menu items in the player window.
The Playback tab allows you to start playback at a particular chapter, among many other functions.
The Audio tab allows you to choose which available audio track is playing (English language, French language, commentary, etc.).
The Video tab allows you to choose which subtitles to display, if any, and even what color they should be and where they should appear on the screen.
To make the video play full-screen for your class, click on the symbol at the bottom of the window that looks like a rectangle with a smaller rectangle in the corner and an arrow pointing up and to the right.
While you are in full-screen, you can access VLC’s navigation controls (Stop, Pause, Fast Forward, Next Chapter, etc.) by moving the mouse arrow toward the bottom of the screen. To make the controls disappear, move the mouse arrow up toward the center of the screen. To escape from full-screen mode to the regular computer desktop, press the “Esc” key in the far upper left of the keyboard.
Playing a DVD on the computer typically works. Factory-made DVDs from Europe (marked Region 2) have played fine on VLC. Copyright protection on some DVDs will make strange things happen, like the DVD picture will be visible on the computer monitor but not the projector. A few Staunton campus classrooms that have newer equipment use a digital connection between the computer and the video projector that should reduce copyright blocks. These are ACA 410, ACA 411, WEN 402.