Teacher Q&A: Best Practices for Filming Your On-Camera Video Lessons

We want to you have the best experience possible when you produce your class, so we’ve asked a few of our top teachers to share some best practices for filming their on-camera video lessons aka the "Talking Head" or "Physical Demo" shots.

“My most helpful tool is my shot list. You'll end up wasting your time on shots you won’t use if you're just winging it as you record. A couple of days before shooting, plan out the shots you want to achieve. Test your angles, charge your camera batteries and make sure you know what you're going to be saying. As you shoot, check off the shots you've done and try to stick to your list.” - Andrea Campos

“I was a bit camera-shy at first, so I initially tried to avoid being on camera, just focusing my tutorial videos on the on-screen video captures. But now I think that was a mistake. Students prefer to see who's doing the teaching. I think it helps them trust the information more if they see the teacher. So now I make sure to focus on planning first-person explanations at key points in the presentation. I feel that personality piece is particularly important in the intro video and wrap-up video.”- Leitha Matz

"I tried to 'design'  my video lessons to be something that I wanted to watch. To that end, I would say vary your shots so students are not just seeing a talking head for much longer than 30 seconds. And don't hesitate to use b-roll. They seem to really respond to seeing glimpses of your life or your workspace etc. -- gives them opportunities to connect with you." - Ria Sharon

A few additional  audio-specific tips:

"Spend some time to learn about the audio editing tools. A little bit of noise reduction goes a long way toward smoothing out the recording. I also use the audio editing tools in Camtasia to clip out excessive "umms" and "uhhs." - Leitha Matz

"A technical tip I can give is regarding audio: if you have a walk-in closet that would work as a recording booth, that's the most ideal location in a house to be. It keeps you separated from a lot of ambient noise and clothes on hangers are a great way to deaden unwanted sound and reduce echo." - Aaron Bartlett

"I think sound quality is often overlooked and that makes a big difference in the student experience. A lot of the online content creators recommend using a second source for audio so I used this mic that plugs into your phone to capture audio and then import it into Premiere and edit into the lessons." - Ria Sharon