Do you want to start creating tutorial videos like a pro?
If you’re new to the world of video creation, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Where do you even start?
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be too complicated. You don’t need a big fancy setup or Hollywood director skills. Often, simpler is better.
Ashley Chiasson is the Senior e-Learning Developer at Traliant, a compliance training provider for workplaces. She is also a self-proclaimed Articulate ambassador and is most well-known for her popular screencast tutorials.
She joins The Visual Lounge to share how she helps create valuable training content with the power of video.
In this video, Ashley explains instructional design and why video is the go-to resource for training content. She shares her workflow and processes, how she creates videos, and some tips and common mistakes to avoid if you’re new to video.
You can watch the video on this topic at the top of this post, to listen to the podcast episode, hit play below, or read on for more…
What is instructional design?
Self-paced learning and e-learning often get a bad rap, but instructional design is a way to “make training and learning suck less,” according to Ashley.
Beyond that, instructional design is a field that takes into consideration all the best teaching practices and decides whether training is the right decision. It’s also about how to structure content, deliver it, and share it with others.
Nowadays, video is one of the go-to mediums to deliver training content because it’s easy to understand and demonstrate the message you want to get across.
“I can explain how to do something in text and put that to paper. But it might not be as meaningful as if you were to watch me do a specific task or use the tool.”
Ashley says that you need to figure out whether a video is not only necessary but also a better medium for getting your point across.
Building a solid workflow
Over the years, Ashley has managed to forge a system that works for her. This starts with a notes document with a list of video ideas that she wants to film one day. She will either grab one from there or choose another more timely one, and then she starts her process in one of two ways.
The first way is if she needs to create a quick and easy tutorial videos. This involves using Articulate Storyline and Camtasia to do a new recording. She simply takes the user through what she wanted to show them and then stops the recording.
After that, she typically trims the top and end of the video to neaten it up, and she’ll make any edits or adjustments as necessary. She then exports it.
The second way she approaches tutorial videos is the more complex way. This is where she builds a storyline, takes notes, and creates a script to cover all the necessary elements in the video. She then records it and makes some edits, usually more if it’s a longer video. She will also do some audio leveling to cut out any background noise like her dog barking.
Is a script always necessary?
Whether to script your videos is a big debate in the video creation world. Some swear by it to keep themselves focused. Others hate the idea of reading from a script.
But what’s the right way?
The truth is that there’s no right or wrong answer. It comes down to personal preference, working style, and other factors.
Ashley highlights another interesting factor to consider. While she doesn’t usually script her shorter videos, she will use a script and a guideline for longer tutorial videos that she wants to be more polished.
“I do have some format, some form of a script to follow, and just keep me keep me on top of what I want to show so that I’m not going all over the place.”
If you’re wondering whether to script or not script, there’s no reason why you can’t try out both methods for different videos.
How long should a video be?
Like with all things video, it depends on many factors, but Ashley prefers to keep her videos very brief. There’s certainly a place for longer, more detailed videos, but in a lot of cases, a shorter video is easier to digest and follow.
An interesting way to assess whether longer or shorter videos are better is to look at the analytics on YouTube. One thing Ashley noticed is that when she posts longer videos on YouTube, she sometimes sees people drop off halfway through. This then suggests that the video should have been split up into two separate ones.
“If people are dropping off around halfway through, maybe I should have done a dedicated video on topic one versus having both topics in the same video. So getting feedback like that kind of helps guide how long I want to keep videos.”
Creating video with limited resources
One of the biggest barriers to creating video is a lack of resources, whether that’s a good camera, editing or screen recording software, or audio equipment. Another barrier is bandwidth in rural areas.
Ashley’s advice, in this case, is to keep videos short and concise. You don’t need a big fancy recording setup to get your message across. Sometimes a phone camera is all you need to get started.
If you’re struggling to make a long tutorial video, you could split it up into little chunks and edit it all together, or you could experiment with different visual mediums.
“I think you could do a long-form video, but then edit it down into smaller bits… You can do a lot of really creative things, like create a video that also incorporates imagery. So it’s not necessarily just a giant video. You might have a minute of video that you’re supplementing with imagery or on-screen text.”
Controlling the audio and background noise
What are the common mistakes that video creators should be aware of? One thing that Ashley mentions is background noise.
This is something we don’t always have control over. We can never guarantee a siren won’t go off, or the dog won’t suddenly start barking. So, what can we do?
“Either go to a quiet place or make sure that when you’re editing, you’re doing noise removal as part of that process because as a learner, I do find that really distracting. I recognize in my own videos when I hear my dog barking as I play it back that it might be a little jarring and distracting for the learners.”
By now, most people are used to remote work setups and having Zoom calls with kids or pets in the background. While people are perhaps more forgiving now, it’s best to reduce the distracting background noises if you’re giving training content.
Dealing with first-time video nerves
Video production can be a bit intimidating at first. If you’re not familiar with all the equipment, best practices, and software, it’s hard to know where to start. Many people also get nervous in front of the camera, which can affect the viewing experience.
The best thing to do is acknowledge that you’re learning and everything’s new to you. It doesn’t have to be a polished corporate video on day one.
Ashley’s advice for those nervous about video production is to “watch them back and take notes on what you like and didn’t you like.”
“What would you like to improve upon the next time? Then just grow from there. Starting is really the hardest part with almost anything, so as soon as you can get out there and start creating videos, I think you’ll be up and on your way in no time.”
Remember, you don’t have to know everything before you get started. You don’t need lots of fancy equipment or to utilize every single feature in your editing software. Start simple and go from there.
To hear more from Ashley, listen to the full podcast episode or watch the full YouTube video.
In the meantime, for more tips on creating tutorial videos, be sure to check out the TechSmith Academy. You’ll find a huge number of free resources to get started with so you can level up your skills.