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10 Tips for Excellent Video in Computer-Based Training

Written by e-Learning Project Manager Karen Sparks

Video elements are excellent ways to convey information in computer-based training (CBTs). A short, single video can demonstrate something that would otherwise take many words (and slides!). However, all video is not created equal. How many times have you seen a video clip that was in the wrong orientation, too small, too grainy or too shaky?  Don’t fall victim to bad video. 

Here are 10 Tips for Excellent Video

  1. Use proper camera orientation, especially when using a cell phone, so always record in landscape (short and wide) as opposed to portrait (tall and narrow).
  2. Use a tripod or gimbal to prevent shaking (at the very least, use two hands and move slowly).
  3. Get the camera as close to your subject as possible (fill the frame) without overuse of zoom, which will degrade the footage and increase shaking.
  4. Footage will be more interesting when the subject is close and in full view.
  5. More light is always better. Be aware of the level of lighting when shooting inside units and control rooms. Turn on all available lighting. If lights aren’t available, have the subject face an open doorway or window to make use of natural lighting. Remember to always have more light in front of your subject than behind to avoid backlighting or dark exposures.
  6. Panning left/right or up/down is generally okay, but don’t overdo it. Also, try not to zoom in and out.
  7. Always shoot every scene at least twice. You never know when someone walked through the scene, coughed, etc., so you need at least two versions from which to choose your footage.
  8. If your subject messes up narrating, don’t start over. Just back up one or two sentences and continue on. You can correct the mistake in editing.
  9. Most cell phones use edit friendly file types, and any file type that can be edited and rendered as an .mp4 is acceptable. This is rarely ever an issue anymore with today’s technology, but if you are using a stand alone camera you will want to check for .mp4 compatibility.
  10. Shoot a lot of B-roll or secondary footage. People talking, walking, writing, using doors or switches, or operating equipment or machines. Example: If you are recording a scene for a gate with scales, do not just record one truck entering or leaving scale. Record two or three trucks, some from the front and some from the rear, as well as the scale operator and truck drivers interacting and doing paperwork. Again, keep the camera still while recording, avoiding fast or jerky motion.

Using these tips will result in video clips that are clean, smooth and ready for your training needs!