8 things you should know about creating video content

Students love videos…  Distance Learning students really love them.  And varying our delivery methods by creating videos for our students is something that more and more staff are doing every day, via a screencast – a recording of your screen along with audio or video narration.  Are you fully aware of all the screencasting tools available to you which could save you time, make your videos better and increase student engagement?  If not, read on!

As a new member of staff, I’ve attended a great deal of training over the last few months to get up to speed with our University’s systems. I’ve learned a lot about how we can easily capture ourselves on video, which I thought I’d share as I appreciate that some of you don’t have the time to attend training sessions regularly or just never get around to it, despite the best intentions!

So, what could you use a screencast for?  Here are some ideas:

  • Give instructions or demonstrate a concept
  • Provide assignment feedback
  • Respond to common questions
  • Summarise information
  • Replace lectures

Creating screencasts for your students will save you time in the long run and enables flexible access to learning.  Here are 8 of the most important things I’ve picked up about creating them:

1.  The most obvious of screencasting tools, our go-to University Lecture Capture and Media Management system, Mediasite, or MyMedia. With the options of capturing your lectures as you deliver them or via your work or home PC screen, uploading your own pre-recorded videos and creating new content on your phone camera, Mediasite has basic editing functionality for all of these options. So you can quickly chop bits out of your video, add chapters (place-markers) so that viewers can easily find or revisit specific sections of your recording, and fade your in and out to make it instantly more presentable.

You can also publish your Mediasite content easily and quickly from Mediasite to iTunesU, VideoLeeds, or the University of Leeds YouTube channel.Watch OD&PL’s video tutorials or refer to the written guides. Or watch this single-take video I made using Mediasite – it’s a screencast of how to make a screencast!

2.  If you need to create a more edited, polished, professional video, edit your voiceover separately from the video, or combine two or more videos into one, use Corel Video Studio – a University-approved tool that IT Services can install on your PC for you. This is useful for more advanced video editing. As well as the basic video trimming, chaptering and fading tools, you can also add filters and special effects, zoom in or out, change the speed, edit your voiceover separately to the video, add subtitles, etc.

Corel screesnshot

Although the University do not provide technical support for the system, here are some screencasts on how to create a video in Corel and how to edit one, plus your Faculty Learning Technologist / Blended Learning Officer can always help.

3.  PowerPoint actually has a screen capture option!  Just go to the Insert tab at the top, then select ‘Screen Recording’ under the Media section.  It doesn’t record sound, but there is an option to add a voiceover on top of it if you need to.  You also insert any other videos or screencasts directly from your PC into your PowerPoint in the Media section.

Powerpoint screenshot
4.  If you use an iPad, Skitch is a great app for making a different kind of video tutorial.  You don’t want a straight screencast, you want to stitch together some images with a bit of video, then finish with some more images, and then annotate them all with arrows and text to make an eye-catching resource.  See an example of what Skitch can do.

5. VideoLeeds has plenty of resources you could use and example screencasts.  Why not have a browse! Plus, any videos you’ve uploaded to Mediasite can be published, tagged and searched for by students here.  Remember students can showcase their work here, too, as they get 2GB of video space.

video leeds screenshot

6.  An ad-hoc lecture capture could be more effective than a screencast.  If you want to be filmed but don’t have a camera and tripod / a person willing to stand there for hours, then an ad-hoc recording is the perfect solution, especially if you deliver Distance Learning modules!  You can also be more animated and point at your slides, etc.  Over 250 teaching rooms now have recording equipment.  Find out how in this tutorial.

Also check which rooms have lecture capture and book a room / check its availability using the online booking system.  PGR students also have access to this! For help with recording equipment in the room, contact the Facilities Support Services on ext. 35555.

7.  There is training available to show you how to get going!  OD&PL run regular desktop capture training sessions, which you can search for via this link.  Also, your Faculty Learning Technologist will be able to help you outside of these scheduled sessions.  (E.g. There are some scheduled Screencasting for Beginners sessions for Faculty of Engineering staff on 26th and 27th March – sign up here)

8.  One final tip… if your video content is stored online, you can easily embed your videos into Minerva Organisations and other websites by copying and pasting the embed code.  This means you don’t have to make module-specific screencasts – you can pick and choose where you share a more generic video that you’ve made, perhaps introducing yourself or showing your students where a lab is located!

For example, to get the embed code for a video in MyMedia, go to the Share tab and copy the embed code, then paste it into an Item in a Minerva Organisation by clicking the HTML button and pasting the embed code, as shown in this short screencast.

Hopefully you’re now like a coiled spring and dying to get started with creating some (more) screencasts!  Do contact your Faculty Learning Technologist / Blended Learning Officer or the OD&PL department if you need any support or simply want to feed back or provide a case study on what you’ve done.

Please read the University’s AV policy before creating your content:



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