A Short Guide to DIY Videos

A video recording is a great solution for introducing new topics or covering material that students miss due to unforeseen circumstances. The information on this page walks you through each step of the production process. For additional resources on creating your own videos, contact OIR or FCTL.

Don’t forget to ensure your video is accessible. Accessible videos have closed-captioning and/or transcripts.

Getting Started

Let’s Get Started!

The pre-production phase is the longest and most important step in creating a quality video. Great films aren’t improvised, and your video shouldn’t be either.

  • Consider third-party, fully-produced videos. It’s possible that the content you want to present is already available online. Search YouTube or other video sources for high-quality content that will entertain and educate your students. For example, Brady Haran, a popular video journalist, has several YouTube channels on math and science that he has created in partnership with the University of Nottingham, such as Periodic Videos, Numberphile, and many more.

If you’ve searched the web and didn’t find a video to suit your needs, it’s time to create your own!

  • Write a script for your video. This will keep you on topic and help you create a concise video that will engage your students. You can also use your script in post-production to create closed-captions or a transcript.
  • Keep it casual. Conversational language is natural, more engaging for students, and prevents the dialogue from sounding stiff and formal.
  • Keep it short.  Students tend to quit listening and become easily distracted with long videos. It takes about two minutes to read each written page (double-spaced and 12 point font) out loud.
  • Gather additional materials. After you’ve written your script, consider any extra materials you may want to use in your video.  Props, pictures, charts, and graphs, or even supplementary notes are all things that can add extra appeal to your video.
  • Find a prime recording location. If you’re just recording audio, a closet can actually be a great option. The confined space of the closet and the sound-dampening effects of the clothes help provide clear audio that is easy to understand. If you’re recording video with your audio, make sure you choose a location with a lot of available light so that your students can see you. Don’t sit directly in front of a window or other powerful light source. The camera will have difficulty capturing the scene, resulting in a video that is too bright or too dark. Avoid any location with a lot of distractions, such as bright colors and patterns, moving objects, or loud noises.

Tools

What’s in your Camera Bag?

Once you’ve written your script, it’s time to gather your filming equipment. UCF’s Technology Commons offers free technology rentals to faculty, including a GoPro HERO4.

If you’re looking to purchase your own microphone for recording audio, we recommend using an external microphone such as a Shure MOTIV MV5 or a Blue Snowball microphone.

Using your phone is another option as long as it records high-definition video and audio. Record a voice memo if you have an iPhone or iPad and only want to record audio. If you’re going to record your video on your phone, keep the phone horizontal and stable by propping it up or using a stand.

Video Editing and Screen Capture Software

There are a number of easy-to-use software options for recording your video lecture, including:

  • iMovie: For video editing and screen capture (Mac)
  • QuickTime: For video editing and screen capture (Windows and Mac)
  • Screencast-O-Matic: For video editing, webcam recording, and screen capture (Windows and Mac)

Action

With your script in hand and your tools at the ready, it’s time to record your video.

  • Keep your props close by. If you’re using any props during your recording, have them close to make it easier to introduce them during the video.
  • Stay energetic! If you think that you are starting to drag on or ramble, do another take. There’s nothing wrong with having to shoot the same video a few times to get the best version. You can always edit it in post-production.
  • Look professional. If you are recording a video lecture of yourself, sit up straight or stand. Good posture and mannerisms come across in video and help engage your students’ attention.
  • Avoid stating specific dates or deadlines. If you want to be able to use this video lecture for a future semester, avoid speaking about dates or deadlines that fall in the current semester. A video that you can use across multiple semesters is more valuable and saves you time later on.

That’s a Wrap!

Now it’s time for the final touches. If your video requires editing, take advantage of a video editing software. Be mindful during this process. If you spend time on the details, you will end up with a seamless video. If you rush through it, you will end up with a lot of mistakes that your students will notice.

Uploading Your Video

When you’re satisfied with your video, you’ll need to upload your video and embed it in your course. There are plenty of free popular hosting sites like YouTube or Vimeo, but you can also contact Video@CDL to upload your video to CDL’s Vimeo Business account.

If you are hosting the video on your own, please be sure to upload your script with the video for accessibility. If you host the video through CDL, iDev can assist in creating subtitle files for your videos.

Finally, please embed the video in your course rather than just sending the link to your students. Your students will appreciate that you’ve made it easy for them to watch what you created.