Skype-like software that can play pre-recorded video?
July 31, 2012 3:11 AM   Subscribe

(Asking for a friend.) I need to find some sort of software that lets you both record yourself through a webcam (showing the image live in a window on the screen) and (not simultaneously) play a pre-recorded video in the same screen. Ideally it would have very minimalist buttons, or configurable buttons/toolbar.

For a psychological experiment a friend is conducting, she needs to have participants believe they are participating in a time-delayed video call. I.e. one participant speaks for a minute, and then that is relayed to the other participant, who then speaks for a minute and that is relayed back, etc.

In actual fact, one side of the "conversation" is pre-recorded. So she will record the actual participant, then play them the pre-recorded video from the other "participant", then record them again, then play pre-recorded video again, etc.

But to preserve the illusion that there is at least some sort of interaction going on, she wants to have everything happen in the one program/window. She will not be in the room herself, and the participant will receive instructions on what to do on a piece of paper, so it would be best if the software is easy to use - e.g. a simple record/stop/play set of buttons or something.

Does anyone know how she could make this work?
posted by lollusc to Technology (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This would be very, very simple to set up with Max. You could even build the deception into the program so that it was super realistic. Any questions about how to set this up, feel free to memail me.
posted by Brent Parker at 3:31 AM on July 31, 2012

one participant speaks for a minute, and then that is relayed to the other participant, who then speaks for a minute and that is relayed back, etc.

What's happening during the time delay? Does the participant still see a "live" image of the pre-recorded person waiting for the message to arrive and listening to it? Will the screen blank? Do you need to quickly splice in stock footage of the person waiting while hiding the edit behind some fake compression artifacts and network delay?

In theory, what you want to do is simple and can be done with any video conferencing software (i.e. skype) as a front-end. The trick is finding the right software to provide Skype with a "fake" webcam from which to broadcast the pre-recorded media on one side of the conversation. Virtual WebCam looks like it might provide the features you need, though there are probably many other applications that offer varying degrees of control over the video stream.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:25 AM on July 31, 2012

What's happening during the time delay?

Blank screen is fine for this.

And both of those programs you guys recommended look like they would do the trick. I'm passing them onto my friend now.

posted by lollusc at 4:33 AM on July 31, 2012

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