Michael Smedshammer, faculty instructional design coordinator at Modesto Junior College, wrote for Faculty Focus on creating effective instructional videos. Here is a recap:
- Forget the headset. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in camera and microphone, buy a webcam that does both.
- Keep it short. If you have a lot to say (and sometimes we do!), chunk up the message. Make a video mini-series with 5-10 minute chapters.
- Prepare well and then wing it. Sometimes a brief outline taped next to your webcam is all you need to stay on track without sounding like you’re reading from your notes.
- Position the camera above your eyes, so you look slightly up at it. Position your head to appear at the top third of the screen so the recording includes your face and most of your torso.
- Location, location, location. Your work or home office are usually safe choices as a background for the recording.
- Move it out. Don’t always shoot your videos from the same spot. Your audience will tire of seeing the same background.Keep the backgrounds neutral but varied. Your audience will appreciate it.
- Look right at the camera lens. Looking anywhere else looks weird. Your audience will think you have an avoidance problem.
- Cover your screen. Once you get everything ready, consider taping a piece of paper over your computer screen so you’re not distracted by seeing yourself while you record. Remember, you do not need to be perfect! Try not to be overly critical of yourself.
- Say “cheese.” Smiling helps everything. Whether you’re recording a webcast of your face or just your voice, smiling makes you look and sound better.
- Avoid over doing it. The wacky music, goofy fade-ins, and spinning transitions that come with some video editing software can make home-videos look corny. Leave most of those tools for the professionals (who don’t really use them either).