Quick Guide to Self-Directed Video

The quality of videos in your online classrooms can significantly impact the attention and learning of your students. In this quick-and-easy guide to recording videos for online classes, we will discuss recording software/hardware, setting up a recording space, editing and other best practices needed to make a quality video.

Many of you have already acquired a headset and/or webcam and may have realized that your laptops and desktops conveniently function as basic recording studios. Additionally, most of our modern day devices smart phones and tablets also have very good built-in video cameras and microphones. Many of you have also attended a meeting or workshop on using Webex or Zoom and have learned of their functionality.

So, we have the tools and knowledge, but how do we ensure we have the best quality for our videos? In the following 4 steps: 1. Pre-Recording Set Up, 2. Recording, 3. Editing and 4. Uploading to UM Learn, we will explore ways to ensure the best quality is applied to your video recordings.

1. Pre-Recording Set Up

Before you begin recording, here are some things to consider.

Video Preparation

  • Writing a script or outline of the material you want to include will help ensure the recording goes smoothly and stays on point.
  • For video lessons, the shorter, the better. Consider separating the lessons into individual videos for the students. Five-to-ten minutes is easily watchable. For complex lessons they can be up to half-an-hour long, but attention will begin to wane the longer the video gets beyond this.

Location

Take note of the following when selecting a recording space:

  • Fans, furnaces, fridges and other appliances all provide background noise, which you want to avoid. Select a quiet space and turn off any appliances that you can.
  • Sit close enough to your computer or device for the mic to pick up your voice and frame your head within the centre of the screen. Make sure your head is not sliced off at the top or positioned too low, thereby featuring your ceiling.
  • Setting the camera at eye level makes it easier to have a “conversation” with your audience. Raise your computer or tablet by placing it on books or another sturdy surface.
  • Smaller rooms will have less echo, as will carpeted rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms have flat surfaces which reflect a lot of sound and can add harsh-sounding reverb to your audio quality.
  • Clean up clutter in the background if it is going to be in frame. You can move some potted plants or artwork into the background for added visual appeal.
  • Interruptions can be greatly distracting when recording a video. Pick a low-traffic area far enough away from bathrooms and kitchens or similarly noisy areas.
  • Natural light in front of you looks best. It’s best to sit facing a window but be careful of shadows or too much light. Do not sit with your back to a window.
  • Setting up a lamp for some directional lighting can improve the visuals of your video.

Hardware

Most of you already have some form of microphone and camera in your devices and laptops, but the following are some options for those looking to improve quality.

Microphone

Base Options: Apple EarPods, other earbuds with built in microphones, camera / laptop microphone.

U of M Bookstore: Dell UC150 Headset
Must be purchased in person ($54.99)

Standard Option: AmazonBasics USB Headset
Buy from Amazon.ca ($21.22)

Professional Option: Sennheiser GAME ZERO Headset
Buy from Amazon.ca ($179.00)

Camera

Base Options: Built in camera on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

U of M Bookstore: Logitech C270 Webcam
Must be purchased in person ($39.99)

U of M Bookstore: Logitech C925e Webcam
Must be purchased in person ($122.99)

If you are recording with a phone camera, consider getting a stand or holder for your phone so it can be at the right height and angle.

Please note: Amazon prices may fluctuate significantly and keep in mind that none of this hardware is supported by The Centre or IST at the University of Manitoba.

2. Recording

The University of Manitoba has licensing and support for the Cisco Webex suite of tools which can be used to hold video meetings, but this tool can also be leveraged for simple instructional video recording.

How to Record a Cisco Webex Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62gsBYUvAPg

Zoom offers a similar capability but keep in mind that Zoom is not supported by the U of M.

How to Record a Webinar in Zoom: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362473-Local-recording

Other than video conferencing suites, there are plenty of options for recording video on all platforms. Here is a short list of recommendations for the most common platforms.

Windows

Base Option:
Microsoft Camera App
Included in Windows 10
How to use Camera App

Standard Option:
TechSmith SnagIt
Buy from TechSmith ($41.63)
How to use SnagIt

Professional Option:
TechSmith Camtasia
Buy from TechSmith ($234.91)
How to use Camtasia

macOS

Base Option:
iMovie
Download iMovie
How to use iMovie

Standard Option:
TechSmith SnagIt
Buy from TechSmith ($41.63)
How to use SnagIt

Professional Option:
TechSmith Camtasia
Buy from TechSmith ($234.91)
How to use Camtasia

iOS

Base Option:
Camera App
Included with your phone
How to use Camera App

Android

Base Option:
Android Camera app
Included with your phone
How to use Camera app

Please note: The software listed above, excluding Webex, is not supported by The Centre and IST at the University of Manitoba.

3. Editing

Editing is optional! Once you have completed recording your video, you may want to edit it to improve the flow or legibility of the presentation. This could range in complexity from appending videos from multiple recording sessions together into one video to adding visual or audio elements to your videos and editing out any mistakes.

Here are some recommendations.

Windows

Base Option:
Microsoft Photos
Included in Windows 10
How to use Microsoft Photos

Standard Option:
TechSmith SnagIt
Buy from TechSmith ($69.43)
How to use SnagIt

Professional Option:
TechSmith Camtasia
Buy from TechSmith ($346.11)
How to use Camtasia

macOS

Base Option:
iMovie
Download iMovie
How to use iMovie

Standard Option:
TechSmith SnagIt
Buy from TechSmith ($69.43)
How to use SnagIt

Professional Option:
TechSmith Camtasia
Buy from TechSmith ($346.11)
How to use Camtasia

iOS

Base Option:
Apple iMovie
Download iMovie
How to use iMovie

Android

Base Option:
GoPro Quik
Download Quik
How to use Quik

Please note: The software listed above, excluding Webex, is not supported by The Centre and IST at the University of Manitoba.

4. Uploading to UM Learn

Whatever editor or recorder you used, you will want to export your file as an .MP4 file at 720p. Some editors will have options such as YouTube 720p .MP4 that will work as well.

UM Learn has a 1GB upload limit. Here are some options if your video is too large to upload.

Handbrake is a free video encoding software for Windows and macOS that will compress your video and make the file size much smaller. Try re-encoding (saving) your video with Handbrake before lowering the resolution of your video to reduce its size.

Try saving with the pre-set General > Fast 720p30 first. If your video is still too large, try the pre-set General > Fast 480p30. If your video is still too big, you will have to split it into smaller parts.

Once you have successfully exported your instructional video, you need to upload the file into your UM Learn course so that your students can view it.

  • Go to umlearn.ca and login.
  • Navigate to the module you want to add the video to in your course.
  • Click on New > Video or Audio.
  • Click on the Upload tab and Browser… to upload your created .MP4 video.
  • Click on Save and now you will see the video embedded within your UM Learn course.


Still need assistance? Book an appointment with a Videographer to consult and learn about topics related to video creation!

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