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Tips for Creating Educational Videos

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Shawn S. Lealos•updated: 5/25/2011

Many people who enter into film school or their careers in video production have their eyes set on film and television, but that is not where the majority of the work is. Here is a look at some of the elements important when creating videos for educational purposes.

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    Creating the Right Video

    The world of corporate videos, web videos, and, especially, educational videos are actually much larger than you might realize. Today, educational video production has evolved to take advantage of the multimedia and web based technologies available and used in a changing classroom. Here are a few tips on how to put together your own educational videos to aid in the curriculum for a particular type of classroom.

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    Production Value

    The world of video production has changed drastically in the last couple of years, mainly around the type of video quality you can produce with consumer gear. Even beyond standard HD formats you have the ability to raise the the production value and most audiences do not see anything less than this on even the lowest budget productions. If you want your educational video production project to be taken seriously in classrooms, be purchased by actual educational institutions, and even have the possibility of Blackboard serialization, you will need to meet the current standards of quality.

    In terms of image quality you will want to utilize a DSLR camera for this because film stock is going to be too expensive and the type of stylaized image that DSLRs are now known for is what is going to be expected by the consumer. Right now, the Canon EOS 5D Mark is a great option and, although the package is not cheap, it is still less expensive than high end HD cameras. Beyond this you will need to match it with adequate lighting and the correct form of non-sync audio equipment.

    What is important for video production value beyond the equipment is the actual environment and dress utilized, which is often where the budget can become unrealistic. What is great about these types of videos is that you can use actual locations to give a real world sensibility. Try to find donated locations that reflect the natural locations for your video so that you can add this sense of production value without actually building sets.

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    Narrative Match

    What is different about the video format from other instruments of education is that it is inherently tied together with a narrative structure. This is because this is the style in which the film format was developed and how the audience expects from this form of media. To do this effectively in educational video production, you want to match the progression of a lesson plan with a narrative structure. This allows you to develop a storyline that is going to be able to carry your educational lesson.

    This does not have to be an explicit plot or something with a complex array of characters, but instead just a sense of progression that will organize the content and carry the attention of the audience. A good example of this is with educational videos on how to build certain items for your home. To do this, you want to introduce the main subject, giving him a personality that will encourage interest from the audience. Then you will have him presented with the issue to be solved or the desire to create a certain item, such as a spice rack. From here you will see the creation of the spice rack from start to finish, showing it in the context of the home at the end of the educational video production.

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    Since newer video productions are based around a web video format, or at least one that has an interactive component, there is theComputer Room  option to create an interactive structure. There is not one singular way that this happens, but you may want to consider developing the format for your educational video production as one that is broken up into a few small episodes. The audience member then has the ability to select what order they are watched in and select the segments according to their own interest. To do this you may want to create more concise forms that do not have a consistent narrative structure between them, but instead common characters and styles that will tie them together.

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    Computer Room

    Source: author's own experience.

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