Last month I provided some tools that can be used for creating online tutorials and videos. This month, I am sharing my list of tips for improving videos. These tips are some things that I have learned along the way through trial and error. If you don’t currently create videos and need to start, don’t be intimidated. You will see that it gets easier over time. As usual, the professional development is available at the end of the post.
- Write a script and practice it. While you may not be face-to-face, an online video will still give the world an idea of who you are. Present yourself as a well-spoken professional. If there are gaps in the audio, re-record it.
- Place the script on the screen next to the slides that you are recording. Then if you are recording yourself, it will look like you are looking at the camera. In addition, placing the script next to the presentation will eliminate the sound of you turning pages.
- Record in small segments. My recordings are better when I use smaller segments because I make fewer mistakes, and there is less of a chance that someone will come in and interrupt me. In addition, if I make a mistake, it is quicker to fix 1 minute rather than 12 minutes. I typically use PowerPoint and VoiceThread to record videos in segments.
- Purchase a screen or sit in front of a piece of paper to make the background look professional. You don’t want other people to see your background clutter. Having a solid background will look more professional. If you use a solid green piece of paper, you can use an app like Do Ink to add different background effects.
- Avoid background noise by using a microphone or headset. When you are in a busy place, there is no telling what type of noise your computer will pick up when you are recording. The last microphone that I bought was $8.00 and worked reasonably well for eliminating the background noises around me.
- If you are in front of the camera, dress professionally. You are an information scientist and educator. You want people to perceive you as an expert. Sitting in front of the camera while dressed poorly will not help to change the image of librarians.
- Limit your recording to the part of your screen that is related to your presentation. Avoid recording your icons to protect your privacy. Screen-Cast-O-Matic is an example of a screen recorder that will let you zoom in.
- You don’t have to break copyright rules to get music. Garageband (Mac IOS) has music that you can adapt. YouTube has music that can be used to enhance videos too.
- Add captions or share a script to improve accessibility. YouTube has automatically generated captions that can be edited. Furthermore, YouTube allows for viewers to generate captions if you want to crowd-source the project. You might consider having your students create the captions for extra credit.
- There is nothing wrong with a short technology tutorial without audio. If there are only 5 or so steps, write them down on the bottom of the screen.
- Are you wondering if students or colleagues are listening to your videos? Then add a quiz to your videos. Now you have assessment data. You can add a quiz using tools such as EdPuzzle and PlayPosit which embed questions into videos. You can also make quizzes with Google Forms, make a flipped lesson with a quiz using Tes Teach (formerly known as Blendspace), or use Padlet to create an exit question.
- Sometimes there are slight changes between what classes need to know or updates for a new school year. Recording slides with tools like iMovie, Knovio, PowerPoint, and VoiceThread will let you quickly go back and make updates to videos. I don’t re-record the videos; I just change the part that needs to be updated.
In conclusion, creating videos can be time-consuming. However, video creation is a skill that is invaluable for personal branding, marketing library services, and providing information to your school community. I like to create videos because they can provide documentation of my efforts and viewers can watch a video as many times as they want for knowledge retention. Do you have additional tips for creating videos? Please share your comments!
May 2018 Professional Development
Note: The photo in this post was purchased from DepositPhotos.com.
Author: Daniella Smith
Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently an associate professor at the University of North Texas.