In this step, you are going to learn how to record the videos for your course.
9a: Setting Up For Video
What You Need On The Computer
You can get an account with Screencast-O-Matic here. It’s great – very easy to use and only $15 for a year for the pro version. You can also use it for free, but it will have a watermark and your videos will be limited to 10 minutes each. This program is great because you can have a box in the corner of the screen showing you on camera while you are also recording your screen. There are of course other recorders you can use, but this one is great because it is so simple. When you run the program, you get a box on your screen that offers to record screen, webcam or both. Select your choice and away you go.
A lot of laptops these days have quite good built in microphones. However, test it first by doing a few recordings, play it back and see if it sounds ok. Sometimes, you can plugin in iPhone headphones into the laptop and use the built in microphone there. Sometimes this will not work so test it first. There is a very high quality microphone available on Amazon for about €100 called the blue yeti microphone and it is great so you can consider getting one of these if you have the money. You can get one from this link.
By this stage, if you have finished the task from the last step, you will have your PowerPoint ready. Run through that a few times to make sure you are happy with it and then you can use it as a background for your video. Your students will find it much easier to watch videos with a nice, simple and colourful PowerPoint in the background. Ideally, you can have your script on a separate screen while you are reading so you don’t get stuck!
What You Need In The Room
You really need a quiet environment to record your videos properly. Switch off your phone, your skype or anything else that is likely to make noise.
For recording video with your webcam, you will ideally want to have a plain background behind you when you are filming. This way, the viewer will be able to focus more easily on what you are saying. You will also need to avoid any bright lights behind you when you are filming and aim to have the brightest light in the room behind the camera.
Experiment with different places to do your filming. Try using a stand up desk so that you can stand while you are recording. If you don’t have a standing desk, you can easily make one by just putting a smaller desk on top of your usual desk. Some people think you can project your voice better when you are standing up, but try it out and see what suits you best. Experiment and go with what is most comfortable.
9b: Practicing Your Video
Read Your Script A Few Times
For these videos you can use the scripts you wrote for your course. All you have to do is to read them, but it doesn’t have to sound like you are reading from a script. The more you read the script, the more familiar you will be and the more comfortable you will seem. Try reading through the script a few times before recording.
Record Straight Through A Few Times
After you have read the script a few times, you can load up your PowerPoint, switch on the recorder and start doing some trial runs. Run through the entire script a few times and record the whole thing in one go. Even if you make mistakes, carry on recording as you will gain familiarity with the entire course and will probably find some bumps in the road that you can look out for next time around. When you are doing the final recording, you can be really careful, but for now, take it easy, leave it recording and go through the whole thing a few times. You can then listen back and think about any improvements you might want to make to your script, your appearance or your delivery.
9c: Looking The Part
Dress To Impress
A few obvious things here. For the day of recording, you will want to look your best. So get out your glad rags and whatever make up or hair gel/spray you need. This recording will be going out to reach many people and you will want to be happy with how you look. This can also affect your levels of confidence as you deliver your presentation. Getting your own presentation right can give you a natural head-start.
Energetic & Enthusiastic
Ideally you want to come across as energetic and enthusiastic so that you can infect your students with that same enthusiasm. If you are getting excited about your topic, your students will find it hard not to get excited too. An easy way to do this is to break up your recording into parts and get a bit psyched up about each part before you record!
Light Behind The Camera
You need to have the bright lights behind the camera, not behind you. If the bright light is behind you when you are filming, you will appear more dark on the footage. A potential solution is to have your desk in front of a window with the webcam on the desk. That way, the window is behind the webcam and you will get natural lighting!
9d: Recording Your Videos
Have Script In View (Use 2 Computers)
Now that you are recording your videos, you will need to have your script handy. You might want to memorize the entire script piece by piece, but if you are happy enough to read from a script, you can just set up another screen to the left or right of your laptop with your script. You will only have to record in small snippets, so you can have enough on view so you can see everything on one screen. Again, you don’t want to appear like you are reading, so if you are looking at another screen, you can try to make it appear as if you are addressing an interviewer.
Have Your Windows Set Up
You may want to switch between windows during your presentation. For example, you could need to toggle between your PowerPoint and an example website. If you want to switch between windows, make sure you have your different windows open and set up in advance so you can easily switch between them. You can of course hold down the “alt” key and click the “tab” key to swap between different windows already open on your screen. Try practicing this a bit first, so that you don’t get stuck along the way.
Press Pause When You Need To
Screencast-O-Matic is awesome and you can simply click the pause button while you are recording. If you get stuck at any point, just click pause. You can click back along the timeline of the recording you have done so far and watch what you have done. Then if you want to start the recording from a previous point in the video and record over the ending, you can. Just click the red button again and you will be given the option to “Truncate the recording and continue at current position?” Just click Yes, Truncate and you will record over the ending of your video. However, BE CAREFUL. You don’t want to record over everything you have just recorded. If you click play, your video will start to play at the beginning. If you click record, it will record from where you stopped watching. So don’t record over your masterpiece please. And don’t say you weren’t warned.
Save Each Section Separately
Along the same lines, you can ensure the safety of your recordings by recording in small batches. For example, record one step, then click done. That way it will save the step and you can start another recording for the next step. This is better than having everything all in one recording so you don’t run the risk of recording over everything by mistake.
Chopping Up Videos
The final thing here is about editing videos. Screencast-O-Matic also allows you to edit your videos. You just go to the Screencast-O-Matic window, click on a video you have previously saved and then click edit. Here you can do all kinds of editing and you can play around with that.
You could for example, have a little jingle (or intro video) done that you can use for the beginning of each video. Then you can use the insert video tool (just click the tools dropdown).
There are many other video editors you can use of course, e.g. wevideo.com which is great value and there are also many apps for iPhone or android you can get which make it easy to chop and change your videos.