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One of the fi rst things I learnt from the experts when I started doing this properly is that poor sound will ruin your videos faster than poor video. I started with a small digital voice re- corder and a mid-cost (£20) lapel (tie clip) microphone and got good results. You can get adapters to connect lapel mics to your smartphone, and you have a great sound recorder ready to go. In fact, I have tested the iPhone’s microphone and been impressed if you can get it close enough to your mouth, but out of camera shot. I also bought a good quality

USB microphone to use with screen recordings, as well as webcasts. T is also allows me to record live video, by mounting it on a stand and connecting it to a laptop. T e sound quality you can get by spending around £100 is remarkable. T ere are, of course, steps upwards, and I have taken the fi rst of these, but you don’t need more than this to get well and truly underway.

Location and lighting

Where to fi lm is an important question for most of us. Your ideal location is well lit by diff used natural light, with either a blank background, or a background that is far enough away to be out of focus. Getting a background out of focus is called ‘bokeh’ and pretty much requires a DSLR or professional camera that allows you to adjust the focusing and depth of fi eld. Find a neutral wall in your home

or offi ce, opposite a window. If the window is very bright, hang nets or a translucent shower curtain to diff use the light and reduce shadows. T is is especially important if you are close to your back wall. A light-coloured back wall will back-light your head by refl ection and help you to stand out from it. To add side-light for interest, you only need a cheap refl ector. Spend a couple of quid on an A1 or A2 sheet of white card at your stationers. With a bit of ingenuity (or a friend to hold it), you can place it to cast extra light on your face. If you need to add your own light,

there are lots of options. Start with inexpensive battery-powered LED spot lamps and graduate to larger mains-powered lights. T ey provide the lighting to make videos clear and bright.

Figure 4: Three-point lighting

highly of your attempts anyway! Tools like these allow you to

Back light

Creates separation from background

superimpose images upon one another (called ‘compositing’) and if you look at my still from above, you may see (I hope you cannot) that the background and the whiteboard are digitally created. I am real. Yes, by buying a £20 green sheet

Fill light

Key light Provides strong light

Avoids heavy shadows. Here diffused to soften the light

(a ‘chroma key backdrop’ to you) and using software that will ‘key out’ the green background (anything I have mentioned), you too can create green screen eff ects on your own computer.

Learning more Camera If you are going to fi lm talking

heads, read up on the three-point lighting set-up (see Figure 4). It is pretty easy to create and, as suggested in the paragraph about natural light, you can do it all without lights.


Filming is the quickest part of making a video. I shall assume you are capable of planning the content and creating your script and slides. T at means editing is the biggest challenge. I started by using the free (and remarkably good) editing software packaged into Windows: Movie Maker. When I moved to Mac, I used the equally free and arguably better iMovie that comes with your Mac. When you are ready to move up,

there are plenty of options. Camtasia and Screenfl ow, which I mentioned above, are good video editors. At the top tier are professional grade editors like Adobe Premier (Mac or PC) and Final Cut Pro X (Mac only). Feature fi lms are made with these, but both can be learnt by a keen amateur. As you may expect, if you want to learn something properly, fi nd a skilled and expert trainer. T e secret to good editing (like

good writing and good graphics) is keep it simple. Forget 90 per cent of the transitions and eff ects these tools come bundled with and focus on getting your message across clearly. Your training audience will not think your content is better if you have Hollywood-style titles, and unless you spend a lot of time learning the craft, Hollywood producers won’t think

T ere are plenty of sources of really good quality information on the web (and many more sources of drivel). To avoid a reference list as long as my arm, I have created a web page1

from which you can

link to my favourite sources of guidance. It also has links to the kit I recommend (most of which I use) on Amazon, so you can take a look.

You aren’t going to be entering your video into Cannes or Sundance, so a clear, screen-fi lling image is all you really need

❝ Video-making is challenging but

fun. It involves a lot of learning and problem solving, and I love that. I look forward to making many more, even better videos for my online students and my real world clients. And for anyone brave enough to start learning, I think this off ers a great additional direction (full-time or part-time) for any learning practitioner.

Mike Clayton is a trainer, speaker, author and trusted adviser. You can contact Mike through his website, at and �ind out more about his latest venture offering video-based project management learning programmes.

Reference 1 htt ps:// video-resources-page

| August 2016 | 19

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