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Video Presentations

Engaging Video Presentations: Creating videos to present information, such as the delivery of a "flipped video," that are well–designed and engaging…

Even if you've never recorded a video before, new technologies have made it possible to do so quickly, easily, and from your own home or office. Sure, there are varying degrees of production and equipment quality possible, but, at a basic level, your video needs only to serve the purpose of communicating information to students, much as you would in the classroom. There's a good chance that with equipment you already own, like a laptop with a built–in camera, the addition of an inexpensive microphone or headset, and software freely available for download through WCMC's Educational Technology Group, you will be ready to record.

Recording your video can take as much or as little time as you have available. One activity most impacts the amount of time required: editing. How can you avoid editing?

  • Be prepared. It doesn't take long to write an outline or lay out a simple storyboard for your video, especially once you consider how much time planning will save you. Drawing up an outline or storyboard a week or more before you plan to record and simply revisiting it a couple of times for revisions will save you hours by not having to worry about leaving something out of your video content and then needing to re–record or edit. 
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Once you're satisfied with your content and begin recording, rest assured that you don't have to edit out or re–record with every stumble or flub. Rarely do we speak perfectly in front of an audience, and there's no reason to expect otherwise in a recorded presentation. In fact, the literature around online learning has shown that students see their instructor as more "present," or connected with the student online, when he or she gives a more natural–sounding, or imperfect, video lecture.

Student perception of the quality of your video will actually be more heavily impacted by the quality of the content. Although it can be easier to create a flipped video by simply shooting the lecture you give face–to–face, it rarely makes for a pleasant viewing experience. Whether the video features you on camera, a capture of your computer screen and PowerPoint, or a combination of the two, for your audience it is still, generally, a passive and potentially boring learning experience. The tips below will help you deliver more engaging videos and richer learning experiences online.

Tips for Quality Video Content

  • If you're going to incorporate a PowerPoint on-screen, make sure it meets standards for good visual and information design. Remember - no PowerPoint is better than a bad PowerPoint, even in video. (PDF iconDownload PowerPoint Checklist
  • Design to engage your audience, respecting the normal human attention span of 7–10 minutes. This doesn't mean you need to cut three quarters of your lecture, but, instead, use one of the strategies below:
    • "Chunk" your storyboard into smaller pieces that make up a coherent whole using natural topical breaks. Post these videos as a numbered sequence so that they can watch when it's convenient for them.
    • Every 7 to 10 minutes during the video lecture, instruct students to pause the video and complete a short activity. This can include completing a practice question, posting points of confusion to the dicussion board, which you can address later with students, or quickly writing or sketching their own interpretation of a concept. When finished, they can resume watching the video.

Tips for Quality Video Production

Congratulations on deciding to produce your own flipped video! Don't worry - we'll be with you every step of the way. Below is an overview of what's involved in production.

Choosing Tools and Equipment

The equipment you'll need will greatly depend on what you'd like to show in your video, another reason it's such a good idea to start with planning your video in a storyboard. Determine what you want to capture and refer to the guide below.

To capture…

I'll need…

Myself or another subject

  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Tripod or other solid surface
  • Light source (not overhead lighting)
  • Quiet space
  • Non-distracting background
  • Video and audio capture software (Panopto)
  • Script

Something on a computer screen, such as a PowerPoint

  • Microphone, if audio is desired
  • Quiet space, if recording audio
  • Computer content you want to capture
  • Screen capture software (Panopto)
  • Script

Writing or drawing by hand

  • Microphone, if audio is desired
  • Quiet space, if recording audio
  • Tablet and stylus
  • Computer content to annotate, if desired
  • Screen capture software (Panopto)
  • Script

Equipment Detail

  • Microphone (audio): Almost every device that records video comes with a built-in microphone to capture audio. However, the quality will be much better using an external microphone that you can position independently from the camera. There are many different types of mics that capture audio in different ways. (Learn more: Video 101: Choosing a Microphone, start – 2:21
  • Tablet (writing or drawing): Contact the Educational Technology Group to schedule a time to use the Wacom interactive display, or purchase a smaller, inexpensive Wacom graphics tablet for use in your home or office. 
  • Camera (shooting a subject): Most smartphones, tablets, and computers have built-in cameras that are usable to record video quickly and easily. A webcam plugged into a computer is a similarly convenient and inexpensive option. Dedicated video cameras on the other hand have larger image sensors that capture more detail, especially in scenes with low light and/or motion. Dedicated cameras will also have more tools to control zoom level, color, and more. (Learn more: Video 101: Choosing a Camera, start – 2:05
  • Lighting (shooting a subject): Office overhead lighting is intended to light papers and screens for the human eye, and is not as good at lighting objects for a camera. Professional lights can get complex and expensive, but even a simple desk lamp or window light pointed at your subject can go a long way filling in shadow and helping your camera capture more detail without harsh shiny spots. If you have light behind you (like sunlight from an office window), consider moving so the light hits your face instead of your back. (Learn more: Video Blog Tip - Use Natural Lighting
  • Tripod, or stable surface (shooting a subject): Holding a camera in your hands will result in video that shifts back and forth with your natural hand movements. If you cannot use a tripod, setting your camera/recording device on a desk or other solid surface will do. If you must hold a camera in your hands, treat it like an over-full cup. 
  • Script (shooting a subject): It's much more engaging to see a subject looking up than rather than looking down at a script while speaking on video. The best option is speaking without a script, but there are easy ways to produce a good visual while still having your words close at hand, including prompter apps to display on laptops and mobile devices. As long as the screen is close to the camera lens and the script is written in your natural voice, your video will look smooth and natural. 

Setting Up for and Shooting Video with a Subject

Ready to record? Be sure to have the one-page checklist for shooting video handy. (PDF iconDownload Video Shoot Checklist) Need help using the Panopto Recorder? (PDF iconDownload Panopto Recording Instructions)

Technology for Engaging Presentations

Strategy

Resources

Presentation tools

PDF iconPowerPoint Checklist

Recording Video

PDF iconQuick Start: Install and Setup
PDF iconQuick Start: Record

Creating Online Assessments

At A Glance
Settings (Video)
Questions (Video)


Additional Support: Contact etg-web@med.cornell.edu.

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