Nowadays, you don’t need expensive or specialized equipment to create a video. Chances are, you already have access to most of the tools you need. We will need a non-watermarked MP4 output. Beyond that, how you choose to film is largely up to you. Many authors have created valuable educational resources using their home computer or personal cameras.
Some authors have partnered with professional video developers to develop their content. Your university may also have a recording studio available. Please be sure that your university will not expect to hold the copyright to any content recorded with university resources.
Resources we recommend for video recording include:
- Built-in video recording apps on Microsoft or Windows
- Video recording tools found on Zoom, Microsoft Teams and similar video communication software
- Screencast-O-Matic and other screen recording software
- Cameras: Please use a high-quality camera and film in high resolution
(Note: for interviews or close-ups, a high-quality tablet or cell phone camera often works well.)
We’ve found that even inexperienced videographers can create meaningful, effective films by prioritizing content over complexity. Tips for new filmmakers:
- Make a plan. Where possible, write a script. Practice it in advance. For outdoor filming, try to visit the location in advance and scout a good vantage point, lighting and noise level. Make sure you have permission from the venue to film, and see if they will provide special access for a good spot. For performances, record the dress rehearsal if possible, as there will be less chance for unexpected interference.
- Do a test. Do one quick test shot each time you film to double-check the audio quality and lighting.
- Look straight into the camera when speaking directly to your audience.
- Use standard shots. Imagine gridlines run through the frame, separating it into nine equal parts. If you have a single figure with no other objects to feature, position the figure in the center of the frame, with the top 1/3 at eye level. If you have two objects to feature (2 people, a kid on a drum set, a person and a building, etc.), try to position each figure where the left and right gridlines would be. Use a standard angle and shot. Secure the camera to a tripod so there is no movement, zooming or panning.
Plan to keep each video to about 4-7 minutes in length. If you are filming an interaction that will exceed this, and there are natural breaks in the lesson, please plan to break the clips into smaller segments. For example, in a counseling session, if there is a particular clip that shows building rapport and another that shows an intervention from a reality therapy framework, please plan to extract those as separate segments. We can also save the session in its entirety to share with students, but these smaller segments are very helpful in illustrating key points.
Proper lighting greatly improves the video quality. For indoor filming, please make the room as bright as possible (think photo studio!) with no backlighting. For outdoor filming, please avoid backlighting or filming at night.
Use a microphone. Even a small microphone can make a big difference in the clarity of your message.
Videos may be viewed on a small device like a phone or tablet, so please ensure all objects that must be seen are clearly in view. For screencasts, try to use black where possible, and colors that are easy to distinguish if they are close or overlap. Keep in mind that reds, greens, and blues/purples may be difficult to distinguish for some viewers.
Some authors have found videos are more appealing to students when they are visually distinct from one another. If you are a speaker in your video, consider using an assortment of outfits and backgrounds throughout the video series to give each video a unique look. Please note third-party virtual backgrounds provided by video conferencing software, such as Zoom, should not be used.
MP4 formats are preferred. We ask that flash (FLV/SWF) formats be avoided as they require additional conversion and/or cannot be accessed on many devices.
We will add splash screens (an intro page and copyright page) after we receive the files, so please make sure they are not secured or encrypted. Please do not add your own credit or copyright information to videos.
We can utilize a captioning service to develop on-screen narration of your videos, but we also recommend using your original script and editing it to make a full written transcript of the final version, which results in an accurate transcript and higher accessibility for students.