The most frequent question teachers ask of the video expert in their midst is what tools to use for making their own educational
videos. Fortunately, a wealth of excellent tools
is readily available. Here is my minimal-cost,
starter-kit shopping list for teaching with video.
From this, you can invest in improving your gear
wherever shortcomings for your specific needs
make themselves known.
• Field camera. They say the best camera is the
one you have with you. The phone you carry
around in your pocket almost certainly has
at least one HD video camera in it. Develop
a habit of using it to record inserts to include
in your video lessons. If you see something
that illustrates a concept in your discipline
that you could show your students, record it.
• DaVinci Resolve. The basic version of Blackmagic Design’s powerful postproduction software is free to download and works across
most platforms. Download the latest version
of Resolve and start trimming down the videos you shot with your smartphone into short
clips you can teach with.
• Quality webcam. It’s possible that you already have one, but if not, the Logitech C920
or C922 can both be sourced for well under
$100. These are solid webcams and include
good onboard microphones to get a decent
recording of your voice. The webcam should
be mounted at eye level to provide students
with a natural camera angle.
• Extra lighting. If you’re recording at your computer, your face will be lit with unflattering
colors. You’ll need to drown out the computer screen’s light with brighter, cleaner light
sources. It doesn’t need to be fancy: makeup
lights or ordinary room lamps will work.
• Acoustic controls. Ensure the kids and pets
are occupied, that no fans are blowing, and
that the ducts to the room you’re using as
your recording studio are blocked off. The
room needs to be very quiet if you aren’t using a professional microphone, and ought to
be even if you are. If there’s one thing that
students have very little willingness to tolerate, it’s poor audio quality.
• OBS Studio. Open Broadcaster Software Studio is impressively versatile production software, which primarily built its reputation
as the tool of choice for livestreaming video
game performances and similar low-stakes
event video. However, OBS Studio is also excellent for producing and recording educational videos. To do so, you would set up a
variety of scenes to transition between while
teaching. One scene might be the full-frame
webcam video, one may be your PowerPoint
slideshow, several others would be the inserts you shot with your phone and trimmed
down with DaVinci Resolve. Another could
be a composited scene with your slides and
webcam sources, picture-in-picture style. Using OBS Studio allows you to prepare exactly what you want your students to see and
to get the video pieced together live instead
of having to do so much editing in postproduction. OBS Studio allows you to guide student focus by deliberately changing scenes
during the recording session. Research using eye-tracking software informs us that
if the teacher’s face is on the video, the students’ eyeballs are on the face and not on
less dynamic content. If you want students
to look elsewhere, you’ll need to make other
content dominate the frame. When you bring
your recording into DaVinci Resolve, all you
should need to do is trim the ends and cover any flubs with smooth transitions. Because
OBS Studio is most frequently used for self-produced content production by You Tubers,
you’ll find solutions to almost any problem
you run into on that video platform.
• A second monitor in extended display. Assuming that you’ll use a computer screen
as a video source to show slides or software
demonstrations, you’ll need a second screen
to use for OBS Studio. If you don’t have one
handy, the secondhand market will readily supply a no-frills model at little expense.
School Supply List
for Teaching With Video
Liam Moran ( firstname.lastname@example.org) produces curricular digital
media and manages the servers to store, process, and deliver
it at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the
University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign.
Comments? Email us at email@example.com, or check
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