Using low/mid range visualisers for chemistry demos and why homemade might be best.

I’ve had a visualiser for a while now after I saw them in everyday use in Chinese schools.  Mine is an Avermedia CP130 visualiser which I generally use connected to a PC (greater resolution/ability to capture video/images).  I’ve used it to project up examples of student work for which it works very well.  It works well with printed images/flashcards and I’ve always been pleased with the results.

My KS4 students have been looking at trends in the periodic table.  I thought that a visualiser would be perfect for showing the reactions of the alkali metals, and for recording them to show absent students.  I tried to get the camera head into a suitable position but where it wouldn’t be at risk of jumping potassium which was easier said than done (I didn’t want to risk damaging it).  Let’s say I wasn’t very impressed.

This is typical of the still images I collected


This is typical of the video I recorded (I’ve removed the sound since it was captured using the microphone on my laptop and wasn’t much use).

I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the recorded video, and having the flexible neck on the camera didn’t allow the range of usable viewing angles that you would imagine.  My advice?  I’ve seen fellow bloggers talk about building a low cost visualiser (e.g. GlenGilchrist).  My advice is build your own – the quality of video from a home built visualiser will at worse be equal to the quality of the video I captured and would likely be much better.  As well as saving money you are more likely to be adventurous with a camera costing under £50.

BTW I’ll stick to recording my demonstrations with my Flipcam and mini-tripod!


Published by Rob Butler

Ex-science teacher, ex-school leader and full-time geek.