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Monday, May 19, 2014

Lights, Camera, Edit?

Continuing on with my tips and tricks for adding different elements into eLearning, let's chat about video. It's a powerful tool that can add depth and quality to a course (if done right).  So, what do you need to make video content great? In my opinion it's the work that's done before and after filming. In order to do that, you need to:
  • Create a well written and easy to read script
  • Develop a location and filming setup that benefits you the most
  • Cast or use great talent
  • Pre-Record like you mean business
  • Set aside time to do a quality edit

So what does that mean?

  • Easy to read
  • Uses concise wording
  • Free of spelling errors
  • In a readable format
  • Explains abbreviations or market specific terminology
  • Content matches the reading level of your audience (Do you look at your content's readability rating?)
  • Include annotations for movement and emotion
Location and Setup:
  • Choose a location with natural lighting or try to set up a lighting system similar to the one found here: Lighting
  • When filming a product highlight create a Light Box
  • Set up your location specifically to cater to the needs of a Green Screen if one will be used (Camtasia offers some great tips and tricks)
  • Pick a background that is one solid color for a clean look
The Talent:
  • If you don't have the budget to hire a professional do an open casting call asking fellow employees for help
  • If you pick a professional, don't go into the commitment blind. Ask for previous work, head shots and maybe even a sample of the script before signing a contract
  • Create a list of things to wear and NOT wear. Avoid flashy jewlery, items that jingle and patterned shirts that compete with the background
  • Speak candidly about the tone and purpose of the video so they are fully aware of what style presentation to use
  • Practice, Practice and practice again
  • Try camcorder techniques a head of time to determine specifics
  • Leave the camcorder on during practice for additional film options or to create a bloopers reel for internal staff to enjoy
  • Make sure both the recording staff and talent are comfortable before moving into final production

The nice thing about video is that if it's done correctly and fits in with the company's marketing strategy (along with other aspects) it can be shared on social media and websites creating a greater audience than your eLearners.  Have you see Zappo's Company Culture YouTube series (#ZapposCulture)?

What tips and tricks have you learned along the way? What software do you use? What's the best hack that could save someone a lot of money?  Comment below, on Facebook, LinkedIn or tweet me @jvalley0714

*For the sake of time and argument I choose to leave out what products or devices can be used.

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