Video enhances learning in situations where a demonstration of a process or the modeling of behavior is required. It can also be invaluable to a busy instructor by standing in for you when you’re not available or as a presentation of information that you find yourself repeating often. While video offers a rich presentation experience for learners, it is a medium that requires a multitude of skills in its creation. Cell phone technology has made it easy to record and upload video but without the proper groundwork the final product won’t be successful. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your video presentation.

Recording methods

Whatever technology you use to record your video, certain rules will still apply. You will want to make sure that both sound and picture are clear and crisp, that action shots and talking heads are framed correctly, and that editing cuts make sense as the video transitions from one scene to another.

Bulky cameras are no longer required to make videos for classroom presentations. Today, instructors can record video using other technologies that they already have on hand. Smartphones allow you to record high quality video on your phone that can be exported to your computer for editing and presentation. Some content will translate well as a recorded screencast where the instructor creates the video by recording the content, often a PowerPoint video, running on the computer screen. Another method of creating video is the webcam, a small camera either built into your computer or plugged into your USB slot.

Preproduction steps in creating a video

The most important steps in creating your video happen before you hit the Record button. As an instructor you have the advantage of understanding the content and the audience. What you need now is a storyboard that lays out how the content will flow in your video.

A storyboard is a graphical representation of the elements that will compose your video. Think of it as a combination script, graphic book, and video shoot list. Creating a storyboard forces you to think about your video frame-by-frame. It’s a lot of work but once it’s done you’ll find that shooting and editing flow more smoothly. Storyboards can be created in Word, PowerPoint, and in many other software programs. Or you can sketch yours out on paper if you prefer.

Exploring storyboarding

In her book, Exploring Storyboarding, 1st Edition, Wendy Tumminello assembled real-life examples and simple illustrations to teach readers how to develop their storyboarding skills for media types from film to interactive media.

Each aspect of the storyboarding process is carefully examined including creating visually specific shot lists and overhead diagrams, and drawing simple sketches that express a clear understanding of staging, editing, and composition. Coverage is rounded out with a comprehensive overview of camera techniques that helps readers visualize a scene before the process of storyboarding begins.

As you create your storyboard you will likely find that you make multiple changes in the scope and flow of the presentation. Think of how much easier it will be to make those changes on your storyboard instead of trying to figure it out while you’re shooting the video.

Reference: Tumminello, Wendy. 2005. Exploring Storyboarding, 1st Edition. Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

Do you create videos for your courses? What are your tips for conducting a successful video shoot? Share them in the comments.