If your organization is in need of training videos for its employees and/or customers it can be a bit intimidating to think about the format, style of videos, topics, production and much more. So in this article I’d like to help you get started by outlining 5 basic steps you need to know in order to create great training videos.
1. Outline Your Topics
A great training video series starts with an outline of the topics you intend to produce. Essentially this is your roadmap. It may evolve as you move through the production process, but without an outline you’ll have no idea where to start and where to finish.
If your organization already has a training outline for live training sessions, then use that as starting point. It’s best to keep your videos short and concise. When creating an outline try to keep each video to 1-3 concepts or learning objectives. This approach is commonly known as a microlearning.
2. Choose The Right Format
There are a number of different formats available depending on what you need to communicate to your audience. Here are some to consider:
● Screencasts – Screen recordings with voice-over.
● Talking-Head - Presenting on-camera, directly to the audience.
● Animations – Motion graphics, character animations, etc.
● Interviews and/or Vignettes
Each type of video takes a certain amount of time, resources and money to complete. On the lower-end of the cost spectrum is typically screencasts – as a rule, anything that requires fewer actors and less camera equipment will cost less, and is typically easier to complete in a timely manner. But forget about cost for a moment, and consider what will be most effective for your organization. Are you in need of software tutorials? Then screencasts are definitely the way to go. Do you need to demonstrate a physical product, or show a product in use? Then you’ll probably need to breakout the cameras and microphones. Can you get your point across by simply telling a story with animations or graphics? Then maybe this is the way to go. Consider your audience, product and distribution methods to make the best choice.
3. Write A Script And Storyboard
Regardless of the format, it’s important to write a script and sometimes a storyboard (depending on the style of video) before you begin production. Although you may have a clear vision in your head of how you want your video to look and sound, it can be difficult to translate it for the screen unless you have a script from which you can draw references throughout production.
Writing a script isn’t rocket science, but does take practice and the know-how to communicate your points effectively. Pop open a Word document and start writing out what you want to say, and if needed, some ideas for the visuals. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the script should outline the major topics and points. At Clear Point Video we almost always prefer to write a script verbatim. This allows us and our clients to maintain the integrity of the original idea and overall keeps us all on the same page - it sets the appropriate expectations.
Then, you can move on to a storyboard if applicable. You can use screenshots for this, or make rough sketches of the scenarios and scenes in your video – it’s your call. Don’t spend too much time on it. Just think of it as a visual supplement that goes alongside the script, that again, ensures all stakeholders are on the same page.
While the script and storyboard can easily be overlooked, and at times seem like a tedious process, scripts will save you a ton of time in the long run and are essential to the project's success. So DON'T skip this step.
4. Record And Edit The Video
If you have a thorough script producing and recording videos are just a matter of following that roadmap. It may be as easy as hitting record on your computer or smartphone and you’re on your way. At Clear Point Video we use Techsmith’s Camtasia for screencast recording and editing. For camera work you can use a web-cam or your smartphone. We use a variety of professional cameras and audio gear when shooting videos. Currently our main camera is a Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro with a variety of lenses, audio equipment and lighting (depending on what is needed for the production). For editing there are numerous options. We prefer Apple's Final Cut Pro.
Although you may be jazzed about doing it yourself, it's important to consider wether or not you have the knowledge, time and resources to produce a video that will be on par or elevate your organization's brand. From pre-production to production to post-production and revisions, it all takes time! Also consider the quality you’ll end up with if you don’t really know what you’re doing. Video production, like any skill/craft/art takes time to learn and effectively execute. Remember, the quality of your videos, just like your website and other brand and media assets, are a reflection of the quality of your brand. If you don’t plan on investing the time to do it well, I recommend you hire a pro (I know, that was a selfish plug for me).
For example, although I know how to create simple graphics and I understand the basics of graphic design, I don’t want to take the time to be an expert. So I hire a pro to do it for me when possible. Or put it this way, I could jump on Google or YouTube and learn how to change the oil in my truck, but learning the entire process, purchasing the supplies, and actually taking the time to change the oil is not how I want to spend my time. Nor do I have plans to be an expert in oil changes. So I take my autos to the mechanic... and viola! It’s
done for me.
Once you’re done editing your videos, it’s time to produce and distribute them. It’s easy enough to export an .MP4 from your video editor, but where should you host the videos? This depends on your end goal and your audience. Here are 4 suggestions:
1. Host it yourself – honestly this shouldn’t even be on the list unless you or someone at your organization knows how to setup a server that can effectively and efficiently stream videos. If so, then more power to you. You’ll have all the control you need to distribute the videos anyway you like.
2. Vimeo/Wistia – these are both great streaming services (I use Vimeo For Business and so do many of my clients). For a relatively low cost (check their sites for details) you can stream your videos with little effort. Both of these services offer excellent privacy options to keep your videos from being shared with the world, you can build playlists, embed the videos on your website, customize the look of the video player and more.
3. YouTube – ever heard of it? I always say YouTube is great for marketing videos because typically you want as many eyeballs as possible on those videos. While YouTube does offer an “unlisted” privacy option, there’s not much more than that in the way of privacy. So stick with Vimeo or Wistia if you need to keep your videos private.
4. Learning Management Systems – a learning management system will typically host your videos and allow you to create and organize courses. Best of all it allows you to track your viewers’ progress, require videos to be watched in a specific order, create and track quizzes, and whole lot more. My preference is Litmos LMS. It’s easy to setup and use. The downside? A good LMS can cost a lot of money. Costs usually vary based on the number of learners that you need enroll.
Need help with producing professional training videos? Let me know!
At Clear Point Video, we’re experts at creating videos that drive understanding and results quickly. Whether you need help making some basic screencasts to show new employees how to use your HR systems, or you need help with a full series of custom training videos for your customers, we’re here to help.
Now, don't delay, go get started!