Creating Videos With Stream Mobile

Stream Videos to Mobile Devices

Microsoft Stream has mobile clients for iOS and Android. In many ways, mobile devices are the natural way to consume videos, which is why people do so with gusto using apps like Facebook and Instagram. As a fully paid-up member of the Grumpy Old Men club, the thought of using the Stream mobile app to access videos such as the recordings of Teams meetings isn’t the first thing on my mind. However, the experience is highly usable and useful with features to find and play videos, like videos and make (rude) comments, edit content, and download videos for offline access.

Watching a video on Stream for iOS. The captions are from the automatic transcript
Figure 1: Watching a video on Stream for iOS. The captions are from the automatic transcript

The automatic transcript generated by Stream for a video is available (Figure 1) when watching videos (and is sometimes helpful), but you can’t use Stream face recognition to find people.

Moving On From Consumption

A mobile device is a good way to consume videos, but being able to use the cameras and microphones in mobile devices to create content is increasingly important, even in the corporate world. Instead of writing a trip report, users can tape a quick video to inform co-workers about a topic.

The video creation features available in the Stream mobile app include:

  • Swap between the available cameras on the device. The default camera selected for a new video is rear-facing, but you’ll probably want to use the front-facing camera for in-person shots.
  • Record multiple clips before uploading the video to Stream. When all the clips are recorded, you can drag and drop them into the order you want the clips to appear in the video.
  • Include photos stored on the device in a clip. For example, you could take a picture of a new product and tape a commentary for the picture.
  • Annotate (draw), add emojis, or apply filters to a clip.
  • Trim clips by removing content from the front or end of a video.

For example, let’s say that I want to tape a quick report about the use of FIDO2 keys for Azure Active Directory authentication, I might start with a captioned introduction using some text overlaid on a suitable background (Figure 2).

 Putting together a video using Stream mobile
Figure 2: Putting together a video using Stream mobile

I might then tape some other clips to fill out the report, potentially including some shots of me talking to camera, and then decide what order the clips should go (two clips are shown in Figure 2) by dragging each clip into the right order. When everything’s ready, the Upload button starts the process of moving the video from the device to Stream (Figure 3).

Completing details about a video for Stream to publish
Figure 3: Completing details about a video for Stream to publish

The next screen allows the video creator to select options like sharing and to complete the publication process. The video is uploaded to Stream, which processes it to add automatic captioning (but only if you mark the video with one of the supported languages. The text used in the mobile client says that Stream only supports English and Spanish, but Microsoft’s documentation mentions eight languages. I have not tried taping a video in ChineseFrenchGermanItalianJapanesePortuguese, or Spanish.

Viewing Mobile Content

Mobile video content has its limitations. The sound quality might not be great unless you use an external microphone and the candy bar format of many mobile screens creates an elongated viewing experience (Figure 4).

Viewing mobile content in the Stream browser client
Figure 4: Viewing mobile content in the Stream browser client

In most cases, unless the sound is inaudible, these points won’t matter to viewers. The content is the sole concern, and it’s better to capture something on a mobile device than to miss the opportunity just because a film crew complete with cameras and heavy-duty sound equipment are unavailable.

The Office 365 for IT Pros team revisits chapters on a regular basis to make sure that we’re not missing anything. Our little foray into the world of mobile device video production is a result of reviewing the chapter on Stream. It’s the constant revision of our content that makes the eBook come alive.

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