After scriptwriting and producing educational and marketing videos for more than 15 years, our team has fully transitioned into online courseware.
We understand that a clear, attractive and consistent video style is more essential for students’ engagement and learning than perhaps any other aspect of an online course. Video is responsible for introducing content like lectures and solidifying it like tutorials.
Our course production methodology is derived from our team’s experience as students and instructors, an understanding of landmark research on pedagogy and other institutions’ findings. Some of the tenets we abide by were first drafted by Guo, Kim and Rubin in their popular “How Video Production Affects Student Engagement: An Empirical Study of MOOC Videos” paper. They were confirmed by 6.9M logged events of video watching data and producers at edX:
- Short videos are more engaging
- Talking head is more engaging
- High production value might not matter
- Khan-style tutorials are more engaging
- Pre-production improves engagement
- Speaking rate affects engagement
- Students engage differently with lectures and tutorials
Our production studio in Union City, New Jersey (August, 2016)
There are several ways in which an instructor may deliver content. These have been discussed extensively by Philip Guo, et al, Anant Agarwal (CEO at edX and professor at MIT), University of California, Berkeley and top conferences like the ACM Conference on Learning at Scale.
Our preferred form intermixes the following styles in order to break monotony and deliver content in a clean and easy-to-understand manner:
- Studio: utilizes a green screen as well as high-quality audio and lighting equipment
- Screencasts: combines an instructor’s voice-over with slides from a PowerPoint presentation, code from an editor or Khan-style, free-hand drawings on a tablet
- Live: records an instructor in a classroom, office or another type of setting (this typically requires more production work)
We provide the tools and instructional design support that best fit your subject matter and intended audience. We work with you to analyze relevant case studies and produce courseware that takes full advantage of your platform’s pedagogy.
The first stage of the production is to obtain the materials that the instructor will use to guide the lecture. Typically, a PowerPoint presentation that ensures a clear way to deliver the material suffices –note that these may not be the slides that appear in the finalized videos; the latter will typically be more polished and redesigned to match the ambience of the recording.
Some instructors like to transcribe their lessons and read from scripts, but we do not necessarily recommend this as it has the potential to diminish the quality of their connection with the audience.
Our team of three-to-four videographers per project typically utilizes the following:
- Single or multi-camera setup
- High quality audio and lighting equipment (Audio and Lighting Pro)
- Switcher/mixer for multi-input recordings
- Green screen
Post-production work is about structuring the content from the studio, live settings or screencasts into short videos (typically less than six or seven minutes). As expected, having outlines of the lessons before producing greatly expedites this process. Graphics, animations and other forms of third-party media may also be integrated in this stage.
Before the delivery, our videographers and instructional designers review the material in order to ensure its consistency and quality. At this stage, we also develop the transcripts for the videos.
Regarding compression specifications, we follow edX’s recommendations for content that is hosted on YouTube or AWS, though we are able to accommodate other platforms’ requirements. Additionally, this is the template we follow to schedule the whole production.