Recommendations on tech for making videos for teaching?

Amen!! We listen to professionals for most of our media consumption (making and assumption) and that’s our bar, but not really.

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Check with your institution’s and/or department’s Instructional Design and Technology group. You might have resources already available to you, e.g. Kaltura Capture, external mics, etc. Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind that some of your students may have accessibility accommodations you’ll need to meet.

As far as the videos themselves, as other people have mentioned start with an outline or script. If you use a script, you can use it later for captioning. As far as software goes, my recommendation is Camtasia Studio. It has a pretty low barrier to entry, plus you can do some powerful advanced editing in it.

A piece I give faculty and instructors creating video for the first time is, “Don’t be perfect, be yourself.” Don’t worry about “ums,” “ahs,” and “likes.” A second piece advice I give is to keep it short — 5 to 10 minutes, if that.

Howdy! I’ve been doing just that for more than 10 years now, as both a college professor and then as a high school teacher. A couple things I’ve learned… start each session with a big overdone smile. It’s OK in a video to be goofy or make a mistake as long as you explain it (don’t feel each recording has to be perfect). Students appreciate and learn from your mistakes too. When teaching to the camera, your lessons are going to be much shorter than in person – focus on the “essential to know” only and perhaps a couple examples, but leave additional practice and detail for asynchronous sessions – even college students will tune out after a maximum of 15 minutes.

Technical pieces / workflow are documented here:

Video on creating screencasts available here:

Most important, have fun with it. If you’re not having fun, students will pick up on it. Feel free to “hide” an Easter Egg in each video, or wear a goofy hat once or twice, include an odd background, special effect, etc. “Overshare” your enthusiasm and it will come through.

Be well!


I recorded my lectures for my students for 5 years, Fall 2010 to Spring 2015 when I retired. Somewhere between 400 and 500 hours, Electrical Engineering. Of course this was with a “live” student audience in class, and the recordings were for student review or absences.

It was all done using iShowU (various versions over the years) for screen capture (screen was projected in class) for presentation slides and on-screen demos. A videocam was aimed at the whiteboard to record that, and a second videocam was sometimes used to record demonstrations at the front desk. Editing was initially done with iMovie but went to Final Cut when they added multi-cam. Since I hosted the videos myself (school hosting came late in my teaching and wasn’t very good) I kept the file size relatively small by recording at 10 frames per second.

Since it was a live recording, there were no “takes”. When I made a mistake I’d usually just leave it in with an on-screen note in the lower third. I used a one page outline of the lecture to keep on track and no script. Since it was in front of a class, occasional questions would cause deviations from the plan, and I’d leave those in the video.

When school was closed because of snow or a class time was during a holiday I’d supply the lecture by recording at home. I would enrich the “slide deck” with the material I would normally write on the white board. The most difficult thing, and what would also be difficult at this time, is the lack of feedback. Theres no way to look at the students to see signs of confusion or boredom, nor is there a way to field questions.


Thank you. This crystalizes a significant failure in the asynchronous-only mode of lecture delivery.

I will have to think about this implications of this on how I will present my lectures for the coming Fall when we may be slated to stay entirely on-line for all or even part of the Semester.


Hey @DFullerton, great content on your site! Looking forward to implement some of your ideas and processes in perfecting my own workflow.

Currently, I’m using Screenflow for both recording and editing my videos. I see you’re going the extra mile and using Final Cut Pro X. I get FCP is far more professional than screenflow, but considering that many of the stuff I find useful seems to be already baked in screenflow and I, admittedly, do not use nor have used FCP before, I wonder why you’ve decided to go for that extra mile and learn/use FCP on your workflow.

Would mind to elaborate on the benefits of using FCP instead of just Screenflow for the editing process?

Now that FCP is offering that 90 days trial, I’m wondering if that would be a good tool or overkill for a teacher trying to produce some homemade content for his students.

Unfortunately this has largely been the case with my experience in synchronous online teaching as well with Zoom - most students keep their camera and mic off - I can take questions but definitely miss being able to readily gauge the attentiveness and alertness of the room.


Hi @Idebritto… Definitely no real need to go to Final Cut Pro – I did so in support of that “keep it fun for yourself” advice – in creating > 200 physics videos, the same old / same old gets a bit tedious for students and teacher. Final Cut allowed me to throw in a few more bells and whistles that kept me challenged and having fun. Absolutely not a requirement, but the additional features from Compressor, the enhanced Chroma Key capabilities, and a few other “nice to haves” pushed me in that direction. If educational video production had just been a one-year thing, certainly no need – but I was making them pretty heavily for about 7 years, and it allowed me to take my ‘game’ to the next level.

Another favorite of mine as I coach other teachers is TechSmith’s Camtasia – it has a fantastic feature set for the price, is pretty straightforward to learn, and includes tons of ‘extras’ you can start to incorporate as you see fit, but are not required.

Long story short – if making videos for the COVID-19 closure, but not a long-term thing, I’d absolutely go with ScreenFlow. If this is a multi-year adventure where you’re setting up multiple courses with online video, the additional investment might be worthwhile.

Make it a great day!

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Yes, your stuff is great, and I direction I’d like go! I’ll be scouring your site for more info. Thanks :pray:

FCP is great if you are cutting together multiple video sources rather than just the computer screen. With Compressor you get great control over the output format. And there is always the fun factor. Here is an example of the title screen of one of my lectures:

Wakes you up if you happen to be sleeping when you start it.

Nice @tomalmy! Just got my trial copy and started playing around with it!

Now I’m beginning to hunt for plugins and resources to add to my projects. Any tips?

I paid for courses from Ripple Training In my little video the fanfare came out of the royalty-free library in Garage Band and the school logo I clipped from the school website. I never bought any plugins nor did I have a need for Motion. The animation was done in FCP and I dropped it into every project and edited the course name and topic.

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WAIT! Has Jason Snell approved this?!

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You can implement a Classroom Assessment Technique. I recommend a five-minute paper. After the students watch the video, have them take a quiz answering one, long-answer question about the video. Give them a timelimit of five minutes.


I’ll keep this approach in mind.



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I’d like to “second” a couple of things in this post. I also use Camtasia and really like what it can do. I also recommend shorter videos. 45 minutes of someone teaching, especially if they’re just doing VoiceOver PowerPoint is too much.

I have found this true in meetings as well, so have switched to a standing desk with a wobble stool. This allows me to move about a good bit, but keeps me from becoming tired if listening to long presentations.

I wonder if having a smaller online group, with their cameras on during the recording, and encouraging them to ask questions, with the presenter calling on those in attendance, would make for a more interesting final product. A while back, I was in remote training session, and there were constant requests for student input. Knowing that the prof is going to randomly call on someone to answer a question about the material has a fantastic way of increasing attention. :wink:

You may even want to have an auction for who is going to be on the live recording, or just choose your best students by class test average, or some other incentive.

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Seems like a smart idea to me! There certainly was a difference between the lectures I recorded with a live audience than the ones I did from my home office with nobody present.

How did you make the intro animation! I’m planning on continuing making content after the fall to supplement my course. I’m tempted to make lecture online and lab in person. The unfortunate thing is that I’ll probably have to include some sort of quiz just to make sure students review the video before lab. I’m not sure why it bugs me so much, but I wish they’d do it on their own without points being attached.

I’ve made other screen videos but like @DFullerton mentioned I want to take my game to the next level. I created a welcome video for my course and it literally took me 1.5 to 2 hours for a 3 minute video. I think it took this long because I did so many takes. I also used my sonsy mark rx100 to record. Adding the bloopers at the end didn’t help. I hate sharing my content … but I guess that’s the whole point isn’t it?

I guess the trick is to go a little beyond just recording me speaking over my slides, but don’t kill my self trying to be like the star YouTube influencers. The weird thing is that my voice has been getting tired and I get vocal fry. I wonder if I’m straining my voice too much while speaking.

My short term goals are:

Work on the tone of my voice and not getting bored (or getting bored with my self)
Getting an external webcam or adapter to use my sony
Learn to edit and add graphics in final cut pro and screen flow

@dfay, how do you set the bright vocal preset in mainstage 3?