The prospect of filming yourself and putting that material in a course may feel a little nerve-wracking. Even if you are confident enough that you have the proper filming equipment, the capacity to operate it as well as the use of intuitive, easy to use editing software you may still be nervous about how the end product is going to look, sound and seem to your audience.
But since video is an essential component of e-learning and there is no better way to reach the learners than to speak directly to them, you are probably well-aware that there is no use avoiding the task.
9 Tips for making a video for your course
Here are a few tips and tricks that are sure to make you feel safer as you broadcast yourself.
Look right into the camera
This is one of the first things professional trainers learn – it is very important to make and hold eye contact. Even if you are not a professional trainer, your course participants need to feel like you are addressing them directly even if the course does not take place in a physical room and you are not face to face. If you direct your sight anywhere else – on a fixed point in front of you or down looking at some notes, it will look terribly awkward and make your audience a bit uneasy.
Don’t use headsets
If you look at any vintage music show you will see the many funny ways in which producers tried to make the rather large sound equipment strapped to the performers’ clothes inconspicuous. It will probably make you smile. Well, that’s pretty much how you would look wearing a headset to record a video in 2020. Invest in a microphone and both the quality of sound and your image will have only to gain.
The camera should be above your eyes
If when you are recording you must look down at the camera, your viewers will be looking up your nose and regardless of its shape and your bone structure, that’s never a view that encourages information retention. If you are using a laptop for recording you can lift it up on some books. Your head should be at the top third of the screen. This way you will be filming your face and some of your torso.
Keep it brief
It’s no secret that the attention span of the modern audience is not that big. This is the main reason why micro-learning has taken off quite a bit in the past few years. Your videos should be short and to the point. If you feel like you have much more to say, it’s better to do a series than to be obstinate and try to get in all in one film – chances are people will wander off long before you get to make all of your points.
Use simple words and enunciate
Actors have extensive voice throwing courses and articulation exercises before they go on stage. So do tv presenters. Even if you believe you speak very properly and utter every sound the way you should, it’s best if you practice a little before a mirror or, even better, get feedback from an assertive friend. It’s very important that your audience finds your voice and pronunciation easy to follow and understand you.
Relax and smile
If you feel good while filming, your audience will feel good while watching it. Smiling makes your face look more friendly and approachable and your voice sounds nicer. Even if you feel rather shy in front of the camera, remember that the reason you are there is to do something you like – teach others about a subject you are passionate about. Let that shine through.
Mind the background
Even if your face will primarily be the focus, people will look behind you eventually so what’s there matters just as much. The safest way to play it is to have your back to a neutral wall while the source of light is in front of you. It’s best to avoid sitting by windows since the glare is likely to blur your face.
Have several locations
I have already mentioned the benefits of microlearning so while designing an online course you will probably need to include several short videos. It’s best if they are not all filmed in the exact same spot. If you feel confident enough, you can try to shoot some of the course outside, provided the natural light agrees with your plans.
Be prepared and be prepared to improvise
These are not two conflicting pieces of advice. It’s always good to know what you want to say and what the point of your exposition is. However, you want to look natural so the best course of action is to have the blueprint in mind and speak freely – after all, it should be a subject you are both passionate and knowledgeable about.
One last tip
These are a few items you should check before you ‘air’ your video. However, the most important counsel any person involved in broadcasting will ever offer is: have fun with it. I think that is pretty sound (and feel-good) advice.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.