In two previous posts, I shared about "quick and easy" whiteboard videos and "structured and optimized" whiteboard videos for higher education asynchronous instructional settings.
Here, I'd like to share some moves to increase the production value for both the "quick and easy" approach as well as the "structured and optimized" approach. Here are the three areas that will be explored:
All of this gear might seem like way too much to want to deal with, but I am certain that small improvements in video and audio make a huge difference to audiences (live or via recording).
I use Canon's EOS Webcam utility (PC or mac) to enable me to use a 3 year old SLR (Canon EOS Rebel T5 with a Canon Lens) as my webcam. I have it set to video mode, plugged in via USB to my computer, and plugged into a power source (my battery was not in great condition). It's sitting on a small desktop tripod. I also am using a Newer ring light (which was sent to me as a gift) on a regular tripod with a 'gooseneck' extension for the small bend.
I am using a Yeti Blue USB microphone set to the 'Cardiod' setting.
Here is what it's like before (desktop webcam, desktop microphone, no lighting).
And here is what it looks like with the external camera and mic and lighting
"Quick and Easy" Recording via Zoom
If I am making a quick and easy whiteboard video and I want to utilize my camera and microphone setup to the fullest, I'll do the following steps:
Here is what the linked video file would look like:
Post-production with iMovie
If, as suggested in a previous post, you write out your script/talking points in full sentences, you can create two separate recordings. One will just be the whiteboard visual actions, and the other will be a 'talking head' video where you look at the camera and read from your script. In a video editing tool like iMovie, you can cut to and away from your main video as deemed effective. This requires of course both additional time for recording and editing (and some basic knowledge of timeline editing in a video editing tool).
Below is a snippet of what the video output could look like.
Join a free webinar on making videos for college and university instruction on Wednesday, 1/13 at 4PM ET.
In a previous post, I wrote about "quick & easy" steps for making whiteboard videos for college and university instruction using Explain Everything. Here are some additional steps that can provide more structure to the process and content while also optimizing the experience for your students. The areas to be discussed include:
Prepare a script
I admit that I often like to ad lib and be spontaneous in my live instruction. And even with some of my whiteboard videos, I like to be informal and conversational. Sure, I will jot down some talking points on a post-it note or text file on my computer, but I don't necessarily always think about the precision of what might come out of my mouth. Often, however, when I listen back to what i have said there are way more pauses, "uhh"s, "um"s, and "you know"s than I think are helpful to the viewer/listener.
Taking the additional time to write out a script accomplishes many things:
Stage visual assets
I like to prepare slides in tools like Powerpoint and Keynote, but I do so in such a way that if I know that I'll be speaking to them (live or video), I won't try to jam all of the words and ideas onto the slide. Instead, I want what is visualized and what is spoken to be complimentary to each other.
In addition to the backdrop slide, I like to prepare the things that I might want to add on to the stage as I am speaking. I could do this as staged builds within Powerpoint or Keynote, but I prefer to have some independence with the objects so I can move them around more naturally. I'll usually setup a folder that not only contains a PDF of my slides but also any additional artifacts (a PDF, an image, a Video, etc.) that I plan to add and make sure it is in a place I can access from Explain Everything (desktop folder, GDrive, Dropbox, etc.).
Record audio then visuals
First, I'll create a project and import my backdrop slides as separate pages in Explain Everything.
Then, using my script, I'll record the audio for each slide without worrying about any visuals or animations. I can really focus on my words and pacing.
Next, I'll rewind and MUTE my microphone. This is where the Mix mode of Explain Everything becomes really powerful. I can add visualizations while listening to myself speak. I can also pause, add something to the canvas, and then resume recording visuals. This will make it seem like things are instantly appearing to the viewer.
I'll add objects and annotations to each of the slides of my recording after first recording my talk track.
There are a lot of timeline editing options, such as removing dead/quiet space at the start or end of a video that you can learn more about at Explain Everything's Help Center.
Export and publish videos in chunks
It is possible to quickly generate a shareable URL that will show all of your recorded slides in a single, stitched together video. However, it can be very helpful to your viewers to separate longer videos into chunks. It requires a few additional clicks on your part, but reduces the effort for all of your students (however many there may be).
First, open up the timeline and rewind to the beginning. Then, press the Select area button and scrub to choose the entire timeline. Finally, choose the 'Web Video Link' button. It will generate a unique URL for just the video content of the selected area. This is the URL you can copy and paste to your Learning Management System. If your video has 5 sections, you'll have 5 URLS (here is where naming can be helpful).
Below is what it looks like in my Canvas course page editor just before I'm ready to hit save, and this link will take you to the entire video stitched together.
I'll be hosting a free webinar on this topic on Wednesday 1/13 at 4PM ET. Sign up below!
Here is a quick way to create a whiteboard instructional video using Explain Everything and content you already have for your college or university course. We'll go through three phases: Prepare, Produce, and Publish.
First, I always like to write on a piece of scratch paper or a note pad the talking points I want to cover and then imagine how those might be staged across slides/views.
Then, using my preferred tool I will review/create/update my visual backdrop according to those notes. I will export/save the file in a place that I can readily access. Here I am using Microsoft's Powerpoint and am exporting the file as PDF to my desktop as PDFs preserve formatting best and talk more nicely to other applications. If you normally use staged builds and transitions in your presentations, you will need to think about what is important or how to export the builds so they show up as different PDF pages
First, I will create new project and import my PDF. I might quickly set up my colors and desired pen thicknesses. Then I press record and using my notes speak to each slide on by one. Here I am using the web version of Explain Everything.
When I am done recording, I select the Create Web Video option from the share menu and copy the link.
Finally, I head to my Learning Management System and find the page where I want my students to access the video. This is where I will paste the link. Here I am using Canvas' LMS.
Here is the video that resulted.
Free Webinar Weds 1/13 4:00PM ET
I'll be hosting a free webinar on Whiteboard Videos for Higher Ed Instruction on Wednesday, January 13 at 4PM ET. In addition to "Quick and Easy" creation, we'll also explore more structured and optimized videos as well as higher production options.
It can be a worthwhile exercise to put some time and consideration into how information will flow across the platforms and devices that students might be accessing for your college or university course. It will be essentially impossible to expect all students to have the same conditions (hardware, notification setups, etc.) but it is possible to describe the primary information flow as designed so that students can adjust as best as possible.
Step 1: Identify the platforms used for Course Content, Text-Based Dialogue, and Video/Voice dialogue
Step 2: Consider the types of information and experiences used in each of those platforms
Step 3: Define the designed modes of accessing and contributing to each of those platforms for students
Step 4: Acknowledge all of the additional possible layers and interconnections between those modes and systems.
If you want to experiment with this exercise, here are some links that may help:
These are the instructions I am sending to students for my Spring 2021 course (via an LMS announcement):
Below are the screens of what students would see.
To get this all setup in advance, here is a whiteboard video showing what I needed to do as an instructor both in Explain Everything and in my learning management system (Canvas).