How to create quality video tutorials.
Despite living in a time of information we still have a strange and sometimes ill feeling of sharing. Why put the time and effort to explain something to someone and maybe lose the upper hand in the process? The internet is currently full of content regarding of topic. The flip side is just: Most of them are poorly made. How often have you watched multiple videos on one topic you wanted to understand or learn until you find the right one or the missing link after a dozen.
The reason for that starts with complete random content, missing the pointand continues with bad video and audio quality. Sometimes it feels more like a service for the video creator and less for the viewer.
You remember … aehm … the guy in this … aehm … video who barely thought of a structure and … aehm … improvises his way through it while the viewer is trying to understand this mess.
Why creating quality video tutorials?
Easy: For yourself. Good teaching means questioning your skills. Talking and explaining topics forces you to think of what they mean in detail.
If you can’t explain a subject properly, you maybe didn’t understand it yourself.
You also learn:
presenting informationcontent creationvideo creation & editingconnecting with the world/interact with unknown people
A great side effect is that other people can learn from you and maybe feel encouraged to create good quality videos on other topics which you may pick up. And never underestimate the effect on social or business recognition.
Learning by teaching others and making the world a little bit better on the side.
Create quality video tutorials
There are a variety of reasons why to create great quality video tutorials. Two of my main is: It is easier to show than reading and I wished to have such an introduction when I started.
Good content doesn’t have to be new or flashy and you don’t have to be an expert to have the right to present it. That said, content that is not new should at least follow the
“I wish I had that video at the time”-rule.
show new information to the world/a groupexplain old stuff fresh and in the zeitgeistexplain a task for a specific group (scripting for artists)teach others easy and fast in your company/study group/… (instead of writing a long text)
You do have to know what you are talking about. Even if you improvise most of your talk, you should create a guideline beforehand and check facts. Personally, I am more likely not to say something as the other way around and also noticed that during rehearsal I regularly stop and think:
“Do I know that or am I just guessing?”.
Your presentation style depends on what type you are:
a slideshow (with voiceover)a live presentation (with webcam feed)a prerecorded screen capture/footage with voice over
I tried all 3 forms and currently use a mixture of one and two. The slideshow helps me to show information easily and guides my talk, while the live presentation allows me to create a video showing the impressive nature of the subject. (How fast can I create a small software with huge capability.) It also allows me to be done in one run with not much effort in editing. The flip side is the imperfection of the talk … mistakes will happen and the time spent in rehearsal and rerecording of the whole video or parts of it can be frustrating.
Doing a version with prerecorded or edited footage with a voiceover can create a tighter video with fewer mistakes but will take quite long to produce while you are rerecording parts and re-editing the footage to fit the talk and the pace.
3. technical quality
The best content and presenting style in the world will not cut it if your voice is hard to understand, there is an annoying hum in the audio or you can’t see the exact action but can count the pixels on the screen.
Have crystal clear video and audio.
Currently, Full HD (1920x1080) is the absolute minimum for your video resolution. If you can handle it, using 2k or 4k could even be a better idea since it provides your video with a longer life cycle. In terms of fps, you need to have at least 24 fps but should also have 48 fps for the same reasons in mind.
In terms of screen recording, I have good experience with “Camtasia” which is a paid recording software but there are a ton of free software out there. (Open Broadcaster Software, Fraps, …). Just make sure that the quality of the video is fine without glitches, the right resolution, fps and in synch with the audio and the webcam (should you do live sessions).
Please don’t use your webcam or USB mic which you also use for your Skype conversations. Your voice is the other half of the video so it should be well understood without distracting noises and lack of presents.
For a great beginner setup, I can recommend the “Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone Bundle” (163,-€) with a “Boom Scissor Arm Stand” (16,-€) and the “Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen” (142,-€) which I use.
The setup doesn’t sound cheap but it is a great investment in creating videos which hold a minimum in terms of quality. It would be a shame to lose the chance of getting your thoughts out, because of poor microphone quality. Post processing in video and audio can also add quality to your result with a graded image and strong equalized voice.
4. flow, platform, and sharing
Flow: Generating a flow when creating new videos not only helps you to stay focused but allows followers to have an expectation of time.
Platform: Since I am mostly publishing artistic and programming videos for VFX and animation I focus mostly on Vimeo but also have a copy on YouTubesince I like to reach as many people as possible. [Vimeo gets the most views in my case.]
Sharing should be also in your schedule as recording, editing, and uploading since people need to know you have something for them. It is very unlikely that your video will be seen by a lot of people by chance. And since you created it with a purpose in mind, you should tell others.
Sharing is fun. You learn to appreciate your own knowledge and push yourself to present it better to others while choosing to talk about whatever you want. Leaving behind more people understanding the things you did.
Just don’t do it for the praise since it will probably disappoint you. Do it for yourself and to free some people from the same struggle you had when you wanted to learn the same thing.
"If you can’t explain a subject properly, you maybe didn’t understand it yourself.”