Creating Video for Education

Things to Consider

Is a video really the best/most effective way to communicate this lesson or idea? Or could someone just as easily get the same information from text or images?
How would this meet your students’ or department’s needs?
What is the “shelf life” (and is it worth the cost in time and resources)?
Does any other content already exist which serves the same purpose?

"Bite-Sized" Information Works Best

Keep in mind that viewer engagement drops over video length. Short videos (up to two minutes) get the most engagement. For more in-depth content, 6 minutes is ideal. Break content into smaller pieces and make several videos rather than one long one if necessary.

Reasons to Use Video

When it’s more effective to show something visually than explain it verbally, such as when demonstrating a process or touring a location
When there is motion involved (moving images as opposed to still)

Best Practices, Tips and Tricks

Plan your video

  • Define your audience – who are you targeting and why?
  • Define your purpose – what do you want your audience to learn (key takeaways)?
  • Create an outline – introduction, body (with key items/bullet points), and conclusion/summary
  • Write your script – include all speech, images and other audio that will need to be included
  • Read script aloud – write for speech, not print (conversational style = greater engagement)
  • Edit your script – can you make it easier to understand and more memorable?
  • Re-edit your script – hone things to be as concise and to the point as possible (less is more)
  • Get feedback – preferably, using members of your target audience
  • Create a storyboard or PowerPoint presentation if necessary
  • Choose your images for the most impact. Show rather than tell. Use moving images rather than stills when possible.

Preproduction and Logistics

  • Key dates – what are your deadlines?
  • Materials – do you have all additional images, graphics, video, etc. that you want included, and are they of good quality?
  • Location – somewhere quiet, with consistent lighting and a clean background
  • Equipment – minimum needs are a camera and a microphone to record a presenter, plus a computer for displaying any additional media, and a way to record your presentation
  • Post-production considerations – will you need to edit your recordings?
  • Legal considerations – do you have all necessary talent, location, and copyright clearances?
  • Approvals – is there a review or approval process for your project?
  • Delivery – how or where will the final video be stored or shown? Will it be easy to access or download? Will it be viewable across all platforms (from any device, anywhere)?

Production Quality

  • Lighting – subject’s face should be in soft front lighting (avoid backlight and direct overheads)
  • Camera framing – keep lens level close to subject’s eye-line; medium close ups work best
  • Location – keep background clean (no distracting objects)
  • Audio – use an appropriate microphone, placed correctly, to make sure you get the best quality audio possible. Viewers will forgive poor video quality but not poor audio.
  • Visual aids – use easy to read, high-contrast, non-serif fonts in an easily legible size. Keep text to a minimum. Keep any slides clean and easy to read.
Post Production
  • Keep transitions simple
  • Keep visuals onscreen for a reasonable amount of time
  • Check audio and video levels
Posting your video
  • Include hyperlinks to any additional resources or information
  • Include interactive and responsive features (e.g., a short quiz, questions or chat) to promote reflection and engagement
  • Provide an avenue for feedback or follow-up
  • Include captions (required for ADA compliance)
Tips to look and sound your best
  • Wardrobe – solid colors; appropriate style/tailoring for audience; no logos; avoid wrinkles
  • Styling – hair should be tidy; watch out for overly-shiny complexion; no noisy jewelry
  • Rehearse – practice until you feel comfortable and natural
  • Persona – be genuine, but try to keep energy level up; be friendly and approachable
  • Presentation – maintain eye contact with camera and smile
  • Delivery – speak with enthusiasm to hold interest, and don’t speak too slowly