In a previous post, we looked at five basic video production tools available to faculty and students at St. Thomas. In this article, I offer some best-practice tips to increase the production value of your recordings. Because videos are often viewed independently online, it’s easy for the viewer to get distracted or multitask while watching. While you don’t have to be a “rock-star” to keep their attention, there are some basic things you can do to make your videos more engaging.
“Video Engagement” is a way to track views and retention. The main take-away is that if you want your students to view the entire video, keep it short (5-10 min. or less). If you have more content to cover, consider splitting it into a Part 1, Part 2, etc. Keep your message moving and provide appealing visuals to help carry the content and help students nurture meaning.
Here are ten more tips and tricks for increasing the production value of your audio/video recordings.
- Sketch, storyboard, or script your message before recording begins! Even though it’s more work, you’ll find that all your efforts will pay off in the overall quality and impact of your video.
- Good video can’t make up for bad audio! Use a good microphone and minimize extraneous noises. If people can’t hear clearly, you won’t get your message across no matter how awesome the video is.
- Use well-lit, well-balanced room lighting to light the subject but avoid shadows! Be careful not to shine a harsh light directly on the subject, nor record in front of windows open to the sunlight.
- Control your environment as much as possible! This includes distracting room noise, visual distractions, people and pets. It’s best to be in a quiet, well-lit space.
- Frame the shot to capture what’s most important, and then some! Balance your subject in the shot so it’s large enough to be visible, but not too close to be distracting. A little background helps provide context.
- Think about what you’re wearing! Avoid wearing pin-stripes or anything distractable. Select clothing that will be in high contrast to the background so you don’t blend in or get lost in the background.
- Make sure the text is readable on all slides! Leave plenty of white-space around the text. Choose contrasting colors for text and images. Remember, each screen displays colors differently.
- Use headphones and a good microphone during live web-conference situations! This minimizes audio interference and feedback.
- All video content need to be close-captioned! This helps all learners. Check out the Close-Caption Request form on the STELAR website.
- Check out St. Thomas’ LinkedIn Learning for good examples of videos and tutorials that help with video recording, editing and producing.
Following a few simple tips can make all the difference between students actually watching what you produce, or just skipping through it. After all, if “content delivery” is the primary reason for creating videos, don’t give them a reason for not wanting to watch.
If you’re interested in getting the most out of your pre-recorded videos, but could use a little more guidance, feel free to contact STELAR to request a consultation around your next audiovisual recording project.
This post was written by Michael Wilder, an Instructional Designer for the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at www.stthomas.edu/stelar or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.