Top Tips for Making More Effective Training Videos

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Many companies make a great deal of money making products that help people learn how to do something, whether it be a professional skill or a hobby. Training videos are probably the most effective medium to impart this knowledge, and putting together an effective one can be a challenge. Here are some tips to improve the quality and effectiveness of your videos.

Put Together a Script

While you do not have to plan what you will say exactly down to every last word, making a script can help immensely. It will ensure you cover all the important things you want to say and will keep you from rambling on and on. Trying to wing it completely can lead to wasted time, oversight of important points and a poor flow. Again, no need to pre-plan every word, but at the very least, you want to make some bullet points of what needs to be included in the video. If you are writing out exact speech, make sure you read it out loud—something that looks good on paper may not sound so great when actually spoken aloud.

Short, Sweet and to the Point

With the constant bombardment of information we face in our daily lives, our attention spans are shrinking accordingly. You cannot make your videos too long. This is especially true if you are planning on making online videos. If the skill in question is a simple how-to, such as a specific make-up technique, aim for the two- to- five minute range. If you are teaching something more in-depth, no more than 30 minutes, ideally. Anything that will take longer than that will work better as a multi-part series.

Make Sure the Audio is Good

It is easy enough to watch a video with poor aesthetics, but poor audio quality is a whole different matter and people will turn away quickly. Do not rely on the microphone in your camera to catch what you are saying—always use an external microphone. If you rely on the camera mic, the sound will keep changing as you move closer and further away from it, creating an unpleasant listening experience. Even the cheapest external mics will be leaps and bounds better.

Background and Lighting

While I mentioned previously that people can get around a poorer quality video in terms of visual appeal, this does not mean you should ignore this aspect. You are doing this to make money, and you want to appear as professional as possible. You do not have to worry about fancy, detailed backgrounds—in fact, this may distract and take away the focus of the topic you are discussing. If you need to make some adjustments to your space, you can get some curtains, bed sheets or some inexpensive fabric from a craft store. Avoid bright, white walls. If you are making use of tables to show off products, use lighter cloth to display darker items and darker colors for items in lighter shades. You want to make sure you have ample lighting; you do not have to worry about anything fancy; a simple stand lamp is sufficient—whatever you use, set two of them at 45-degree angles from the center.

Considerations for Close-Ups and Cutaways

Most training videos will require cutaways to close-ups, whether it is to give greater detail about a particular technique or specific items you will need to complete the task. To shoot these most effectively, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, do not make these shots during the shooting of the video; do them separately and edit them in. Pay attention to continuity. If you are doing something with your left hand in the main part of the video, make sure you are using the same hand in the close-up shot.

Considerations for Hard Copy DVDs

If you are making hard copy DVD videos, you should consider using the services of professionals to maximize the quality of your video; you can contract companies to provide a number of services, from media authoring to replication.