If you want to create video courses you need to have the right equipment. In some cases, that may mean using screencasting software to capture video and audio from your computer screen, Or, it may simply mean recording a Webinar or Webcast. In many cases, though, you are going to want to create video courses – or at least parts of your courses – from shooting live video with a video camera. On this page, I cover the options you may want to consider for that scenario.
Keep in mind as you read that you do not have to have the most expensive, top-of-the-line equipment to create high-quality video. Nor do you have to hire a professional crew or go to film school. These days, you can create excellent video with very modestly-priced equipment and some basic knowledge about how to use it effectively.
Create Video Courses: Shooting
One of my main tips when it comes to shooting video is to make it absolutely as easy as possible. So, if you are going to be out and about – say, at a conference or other event where you can capture content – keep a simple, lightweight “kit” packed and ready to go.
For “studio” work – i.e., video that you capture in your office or home – try your best to keep a permanent place set up with the most essential equipment. Often time, having get set up is barrier to simply capturing short video that you can add into a course or use for marketing. Having said all that, here is a run-down of essential equipment
When your aim is to create video courses of the highest quality, it can be tempting to blow a lot of money on a fancy video camera, but these days, it’s really not necessary to spend a lot to get excellent, high definition video. Consider the following options:
- Your phone – If you don’t already have a video camera, this is where I would start. Smart phone phones – particularly iPhones – have gotten so good with video that you may not need anything more.
- Canon Vixia Series – If you do decide to step up to a dedicated video camera, take a look at the Canon Vixia series. I use a Vixia for a lot of my video and have found the quality to be excellent. The Canon VIXIA HF R700 is a great all around choice for under $300, or you can jump up to the Canon VIXIA HF G20 HD if you are really looking to be a video pro (and still achieve amazing quality for far less than the high-end Canon video cameras).
While having a good camera is important, good lighting is the essential element that will enable you to create video courses that look truly professional. In general, always try to shoot video in places where there is plenty of light, preferably natural light. To the extent that you need to add in light, or simply have better control over it, consider:
- Basic Lighting Kit – A solid, relatively low-priced lighting set-up that provides all of the major tools you need to light your video properly.
Your camera will, of course, have a microphone, but using the camera microphone is usually not the way to get the best sound in your videos – particularly if you are filming in a place that has background noise. To get better sound, consider using either a shotgun microphone – a highly directional microphone that picks up only what it is pointed at or a lavalier/lapel microphone – a microphone that clips to the lapel or some other part of the clothing of the person speaking. Here are some options:
- LyxPro CMG-50 Condenser Shotgun Microphone – Check first to see if there is a shotgun mic designed specifically to fit onto whatever camera you use. If not, the LyxPro is a good all around choice.
- Ampridge MightyMic S iPhone Shotgun Video Microphone MMS – As the name suggests, this is a great shotgun microphone option for use with an iPhone
- Royal Voice Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone – Best if you want to be able to pick up the sound all around you or the person speaking
- Sound Professionals Unidirectional Lavalier Microphone – If you want to here just the single voice/audio source you are recording.
With a good camera, lighting, and audio, you are pretty much set. There is, however, one absolutely essential accessory that you need: a solid tripod.
- AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod – The Amazon Basic tripod does the job nicely and comes with a carrying bag
- LOHA Cell Phone Tripod Adapter – If you are using your smart phone as your video camera, you are going to need one of these
Create Video Courses: Editing
Note: I’ve stuck with lower end desktop packages here. If you need more editing capabilities than these provide, you are probably better off hiring a pro.
Web-Based Video Editing Software
There are starting to be some very cool options for creating and video on the Web. The YouTube editor, for example, can handle a lot of basic editing tasks, but one of the sites I really like (thanks, I must say, to my kids introducing me to it!) is WeVideo. It has the full range of features you would expect from a video editing package, but without the hassle of software updates. As a bonus, it is also great for screencasting.
Installed Video Editing Software
These are options that can actually be installed on your computer, so they don’t require an Internet connection for editing.
- For Macs
- iMovie (Comes standard on Macs)
- iSkysoft Video Editor for Macs
- Camtasia (Great for both screencasts and general video editing)
- Screenflow (Like Camtasia, great for screencasting, but also a good general video editing tool. I use this often for synching up presenter video with slides)
- For PCs
Many online course platforms are going to provide hosting for video. If you want to host your video independently from the course platform, consider:
- Amazon Web Services
If you have questions, or want to share your own experiences with any of these tools, or if you use different tools to create video courses, please comment below.