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Video & Screencasting Tools

Video & Screencasting Tools

Creating Video

There are many reasons to create your own videos and we can help get you started. With a bit of guidance, you can easily begin creating your own videos to share both in and out of the classroom. Here are some reasons why you might create your own videos:‌ ‌

  • Introducing yourself
  • Flipping the classroom
  • Demonstrating how to do something
  • Recording a lecture
  • Answering frequently asked questions
  • Engaging your students outside the classroom
  • Presenting ideas in a new format
  • Creating an approachable image for yourself
  • Interviewing guest speakers

 

Videos can take on many different formats as well! You can record yourself or others, show just your computer or tablet screen, walk through problems using software you use in class, or narrate a PowerPoint presentation.

 

Click below to learn more about the four steps of video creation!

 

Depending on the type of video you wish to create, you will need various equipment and software to get started. While you can create a video easily using just your computer's built-in webcam and microphone, we recommend external options for a higher quality finished product.

 

Cameras

Recording a presentation, capturing a lecture, or speaking straight to the camera? Here are some options:

  • Built-in Webcam - Most built-in webcams on laptops and tablets are capable of capturing good quality video.
  • USB Camera- If you're looking for clearer images and better quality, an external camera is your best option.

Microphones

Blue Yeti MicrophoneCapturing audio is essential if you're producing your own videos. If you plan on making any investments in equipment for your videos, a microphone is the best place to do so.

  • Built-in Microphone - Most built-in microphones on laptops and tablets do a mediocre job of capturing audio. Make sure you play with the audio settings for the mic to ensure the best capture possible.
  • USB Microphone - Easily the best option for improving the quality of your videos.
    • Yeti by Blue Microphones - A powerhouse plug-and-play microphone that has adjustable recording modes for capturing professional audio.
    • Nessie by Blue Microphones - A great mic for beginners that has a built-in pop filter and automatically processes your audio for high quality results.
  • Lavalier Microphone - Also referred to as a clip-on or lapel microphone, these mics are perfect for capturing lecture audio.

Camera and Screen Recording Software

Whether you're looking to record your screen or record from camera, you'll need software to help.

  • Camera Recording- If you're looking to capture video, these are the products for you.
    • Windows Movie Maker - A basic application that allows you to capture and edit audio & video. Windows only.
    • QuickTime Pro - Record audio & video, edit it, and produce your final project. Free for Mac users.
  • Screen Capture- These products record your screen and come with various levels of editing features.
    • Camtasia Studio - A full-feature product that lets you capture various inputs and edit them into a final video.
    • ScreenFlow - Capture video, audio, and your screen, then use the built-in editing features to complete your project. For Mac only.
    • Screencast-O-Matic - A free product that will allow you to save 15 minutes of screen capture. The paid version removes the watermark and features unlimited recording.

Creating Content with Apps

Apps can be used on your tablet to create content ranging from interactive videos to detailed whiteboard drawings. We can assist with the following apps (and aren't opposed to playing with new ones!).

  • Explain Everything - An easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.
  • TouchCastExperience both video & web like never before with TouchCast: a new medium that looks like video, but feels more like the web. A TouchCast is a video that is fully browsable, responsive, and alive. 
  • Knowmia - A lesson planning and recording tool that helps you create short video lessons on any subject and publish them on Knowmia.com so students, other teachers and the public can find them.

 

Once you have the appropriate tools for the job, it's time to start making your video.

 

Plan

While you may be eager to start recording, take a few minutes to think about and plan your video. A little bit of planning can make a big difference in your final product! Here are some things to consider when planning a video:

  • Think about your purpose. Why are you making this video? What do you want viewers to get from watching it? What do you need to do to get this message across?
  • Keeps things concise. Viewers are more likely to finish watching shorter videos and will appreciate if you avoid excessive material.
  • Write a script. Whether a word-by-word breakdown of what needs to be said or a general outline of points to discuss, a script can help keep you on-topic.
  • Make sure your materials are ready. Are you using a PowerPoint presentation? Do you have any demonstrations that you plan on showing? Have everything nearby and ready to go.
  • Test your equipment. Make sure that your microphone and camera are working and that your software is ready to record. 

Record

Depending on the type of video you're making, try out different workflows to see what works best for you. You may find it easier to record the audio and video separately, then match them up when editing. If you're recording yourself speaking, try both recording your content all at once and in sections so you can have a break. Figuring out what works takes time and practice; the more familiar you get with the process the easier it becomes.

  • Audio Recording
    • Record audio in a quiet location. Background noise can be very distracting to the viewer; even the A/C in the background can be a source of extra noise! 
    • Consider the distance between your mic and your mouth. Somewhere between 8 - 12 inches is ideal.
    • Set the microphone column in your software. Most software products have an adjustment where you can change the volume of your audio input; it often looks like a green-yellow-red bar. Speak into your mic and adjust the volume so that the highest peak is in the green/yellow range.
    • Depending on your mic, you may want to consider purchasing a pop filter. These devices help filter out harsh "p" and "b" noises when recording audio.
    • Speak with more energy than you normally would and take care to annunciate your words clearly.
    • Act naturally! Smile, laugh, or be serious as you normally would. The worst thing when watching a video is hearing a monotonous speaker... express yourself so your viewers can relate.
  • Video Recording
    • Shot Composition 
      • Rule of Thirds - Important and interesting items should be framed 1/3 or 2/3 up or across the frame. Use upper or lower third for guide when placing eyeliner and horizons. Gridlines in the photo to the side demonstrate the rule.
      • Move your camera so it's angled above your eyes. Webcams are most often placed below your eyeline, which creates an unflattering angle. Move the camera up a few inches to make a huge difference in how you appear on camera.
      • Consider how "zoomed in" you want your shot to look. Close-up shots focus on one part of the subject, such as their face. Medium range shots are the most common and are great for capturing body and face movements, just like reporters on the news. Wide shots or full shots capture the entire subject and show them in relation to their environment.
    • Lighting 
      • We suggest that you have a slightly off-centered, front-facing light source to evenly light your face. You may also find it helpful to have an accent light off to the side or behind you to help balance the brightness.
      • Different lights can effect the color of your video. For example, fluorescent lights cast a green tint while incandescent lights create an orange tint. Use your camera's white balance feature to balance out the colors.
      • Since light sources vary greatly, always test your camera before shooting to make sure it is adjusted correctly.
    • Wardrobe
      • Remember- what looks good in-person does not always look good on camera. Avoid anything that could be distracting to the viewer.
      • Avoid wearing white, black, navy, and bright red. Good color choices are grey, blue, green, pastels, and earth tones. 
      • Avoid any tight patterns like tweed, houndstooth, herringbone, and stripes & intricate designs like florals. Solid patterns are best.
      • Avoid shiny and reflective things such as lip gloss, glittery or shiny makeup, and hair products that add shine.
      • Avoid distracting accessories such as bracelets that might rattle and make noise, reflective jewelry, dangling earrings, and more than one ring per hand.
      • Wear your hair out of your face and check for stray pieces. Otherwise, that is what your viewers will focus on!
      • If you have the option to wear contact lenses, wear them. Glasses could possibly reflect light back into the camera, causing glare.
    • Environment
      • Remove distractions from the background. Take a moment to make sure your area is clean and uncluttered; otherwise your viewers will be focusing on the background and not on you!
      • If you are demonstrating something, use smaller gestures than normal. Everything you do on camera is magnified by the lens.

 

Once your video components have been recorded, it's time to edit them into your final video product. 

 

Editing Software

Here's a brief list of editing software that can be used. Keep in mind that your recording software might also offer editing features.

  • Camtasia Studio - In addition to more advanced editing, Camtasia allows you to add callouts, transitions, zoom & pan, picture-in-picture, and interactions to your project.
  • ScreenFlow - Similar to Camtasia, make advanced edits and add motions, zoom & pan, and filters to your project. Mac users only.
  • Screencast-O-Matic - A simpler product that lets your make basic edits to your recordings.
  • Adobe Premiere - An advanced product used for professional video production. Adobe Premiere is available at a discounted price from the Case Western Reserve University Software Center.
  • QuickTime Pro - Basic editing features including picture-in-picture and adding text tracks to your project.
  • iMovie - A great option for Mac users, with the ability to add themes and create quick projects.
  • Windows Movie Maker - Similar to iMovie for Windows users, Windows Movie Maker provides themes and basic editing tools to create a quick project.

Basic Editing

Depending on the type of video you are making, editing can be a quick process or an in-depth job. For every project you work on, there are a few basic edits that we recommend making.

  • Clean-up your audio. Many editing programs have audio enhancement features, which can remove excess background noise or fix common audio issues. Use these tools to increase or decrease the volume, cut-out any long pauses or breathing, and fix any areas where you may have misspoken.
  • Trim your content. If you've made a mistake somewhere, make sure that you cut it out of your final video. You might also consider getting rid of empty space or silence in order to keep your video succinct.

Advanced Editing 

Making advanced edits to your video can help engage the viewer and help you present your information clearly. ‌

  • Callouts - Callouts are a great way to draw attention to something within your video. A callout could be an arrow pointing to an area of a diagram, a text blurb offering more information on the screen, or an image popping-up to help clarify your point.
  • Zoom-and-Pan - Zooming lets you move in or out on a section of video, which helps highlight areas of your content. Panning is moving the focus from one area to another, which can help engage the viewer. It's important to not over use these features, as you can quickly make your video cluttered and confusing for the viewer.
  • Transitions - Transitions help move from one visual into another; think about the slide transitions in PowerPoint. These can be a powerful tool to help designate a structure for your video, but shouldn't be used too much as they can distract the viewer. ‌
  • Closed Captioning and Subtitles - Depending on your software, you can add closed captioning or subtitles to your project. This is recommended in order to make your videos accessible to all viewers.‌
  • Picture-in-Picture - Most editing software will allow you to add a second track of video to your project. This allows you to add a second video or image on the screen, creating a picture-in-picture effect.

 

Once you have completed any editing, it's time to save and share your video!

 

Saving

When saving or exporting a video, your editing software will give you lots of options. We recommend producing your video in a HD format (either 720p or 1080p) to ensure that no details are lost. This can take more time and results in larger file sizes, but can make a huge difference on the final product. Here are some recommended file formats:

  • MP4 or MPEG-4 - A standard file format that is smaller in file size but keeps the detail of your final video. This format is compatible with mobile devices, all modern browsers, and HTML5. This is an excellent choice for your project and should be used whenever possible.
  • MOV - These videos have a larger files size and good image quality. This format is regularly used on the web and is a good option when saving your project.
  • WMV - These videos have a small file size and good image quality. This format can be viewed in Windows Media Player, but is not easily compatible with mobile devices or Macs. This is not a recommended format for videos that will be widely distributed.

Sharing

Now that you have your video saved, you'll need to share it with your viewers! 

  • Upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. Once uploaded to one of these external services, you can easily share the link to your video or embed it in a webpage.
  • Post it on Blackboard. Blackboard gives you the option to directly upload a video within your site, making it quickly available to your students. 
  • Import it to MediaVision. MediaVision offers viewing analytics and engagement tools for your students, all conveniently accessible via Blackboard.
  • Host it in Google Drive. This is a great option if you want students to download the video to watch or want to provide it to them for download.