Overview of the technical implementation

When producing recordings and videos for teaching, you can get help and support from the recording team of the TU Darmstadt e-learning group. In the section below you will find information and tips on technical implementation as well as the different kind of services we offer. In addition to the technical aspects, do not forget the didactic design and a good contextualisation in your course.

Learn more about the didactic considerations for using videos in higher education teaching

Possibilities for using videos for different teaching purposes

Recordings or videos can be used in a variety of ways of teaching. We distinguish between:

  • Standard lecture recordings, which serve to conserve and follow up lectures and to prepare for examinations. (In the current digital semesters, lecture recordings are often pre-produced and made available online as learning material in asynchronous teaching settings).
  • Educational videos (e.g. tutorials) produced to present or illustrate content in a condensed form.
  • (External) videos can be used to motivate for a topic by arousing interest and curiosity (e.g. from research or everyday life).
  • Video as a feedback tool, e.g. for presentations and exercises in order to be able to analyse your own performance.
  • Video/ audio as a substitute for a presentation: Students can be instructed to create a video or a podcast (audio recording) to actively engage with certain content and, if necessary, prepare it for other students.

Technical possibilities for the production

We would like to share the following technical and organisational tips for producing lecture recordings and educational videos.

  • The concept should be the first step – see Recommendations for the didactic design of educational videos
  • Create a script (what should be shown/explained?)
  • Draw up a shooting schedule (timetable), especially for classical video production with a camera.
  • Set up and organise the production technology
  • Find suitable locations (plenty of light, little noise)
Sample extract from a script

Why a script?

  • Especially helpful for educational videos created by classical video production with camera
  • The ideas of the video are concretised
  • Structured work minimises the time investment
  • “Working through” makes work easier during filming
  • Work in the editing room is made easier

What does a good script include?

  • All scenes, listed individually
  • Visual content (what is shown and how?)
  • If applicable, spoken text or sounds
  • Length of the scenes (format: 00:00 min)

As an alternative to the script, at least create a written plan.

  • Particularly recommended for educational videos that are produced as Screen Recordings and do not necessarily require a script, but for which a content plan should nevertheless be prepared in advance.
  • First, create the speaker's text. Clear and activating formulations are important, i.e. short sentences. Check the text for comprehensibility concerning the target group.
  • Where necessary, show appropriate visualisations (e.g. software or slides) > Make sure that what is said and what is shown are in sync!

A script is never “set in stone” and can still be adjusted during shooting and editing. However, the production process based on them is much less prone to mistakes.

The shooting schedule can be created based on a script.

What is the point of planning a shoot?

  • Structured work minimises the time investment
  • Avoids misunderstandings
  • Contact details and procedures are clear to everyone
  • Good time estimation

What does the shooting schedule include?

  • Date and times
  • For outdoor shoots: weather forecast (rain, wind, clouds, sun)
  • Equipment list (what equipment is needed and who is responsible for it?)
  • List of people: List of people involved with contact details
  • Shot list (which scenes are to be shot on the several days?)
  • Schedule of the actual shoot
Backward planning: When must the individual steps be completed so that the deadline (incl. buffer) is reached?

In general:

Video projects should always be planned backwards from the deadline (When does it have to be ready?). From this, it can be concluded when conception, shooting and editing must begin. Several feedback loops for the coordination of the final version should also not be underestimated.

What affects the time needed for the individual steps?

  • The production complexity of the video (number of scenes/cuts, number of perspectives, number of locations, synchronous live sound recording or dubbing, additional elements such as animations).
  • the experience of those involved (technical competence and experience in front of the camera with free speaking).
  • the pre-planning (script, shooting schedule) > post-production is always time-consuming if poor recording quality results from bad planning.
Example of a well illuminated and positioned video image

To achieve optimal image quality in video productions, there are some parameters to pay attention to:

  • Illuminate the scene/people as evenly as possible (do not shoot against direct sunlight, e.g. in front of a window, no hard shadows) – additional light is useful if there is a shadow in the face.
  • Adjust the white balance (otherwise the image may be too warm/cold) and use manual focus to control sharpness (newer cameras also have relatively good autofocus).
  • Keep the camera at eye level and choose an appropriate frame (also when using a webcam), otherwise, the perspective may be unfavourable (unstable background).
  • Ensure that the panning/zoom speed is appropriate
  • Ensure good readability of the media used

Further background knowledge on image composition sizes (e.g. long shot, close-up), as well as the use of camera functions (focus, aperture, white balance etc.), can be found in the Moodle course “Videos in higher education teaching”(Information in German only).

Didactic considerations on the question “Should the person presenting be visible in the video?” – see Recommendations for the didactic design of educational video.

Even if a video is primarily a visual medium at first glance, the sound is usually even more important than the image.

The following parameters help to achieve an optimal sound to the video:

  • Find a room with little echo and as little background noise as possible (construction work, noisy hallway, tram, etc.).
  • Use a good microphone, e.g. an external USB microphone/headset or a wireless set (see also lending options).
  • Adjust the microphone level (for quieter recordings, the level can be raised afterwards, but overmodulation cannot be corrected!) – Make a test recording and listen to it!
  • Take pauses, even if you have misspoken, wait a moment and then continue speaking (makes editing easier afterwards).
  • Make sure your pronunciation is clear and vary your tone of voice (no monotonous reading or speaking) – if in doubt, ask a second person to be your listener!

Use of the Panopto video platform

Videos produced with the Panopto recorder are saved on the video platform by default. They can be made available from there via automatic integration in Moodle (TU-ID protected) or via a public link anywhere else on the web. Existing videos can also be uploaded to the Panopto platform via drag & drop and then integrated as desired.
More details on video distribution via Panopto and integration in Moodle

Use of the HRZ Media Portal

Lecture recordings/ educational videos can be saved on the HRZ media server (media portal) and integrated into your Moodle course via a link. The videos are uploaded to the media portal in the so-called “moodle share” area. Access to the videos is thus TU-ID-protected.

Video tutorial on how to use the media server (in German) – especially for the case of Camtasia recordings; if you only upload MP4 videos, there is no need to compress them as a ZIP file.

Please note:

  • Access to the media portal (for saving your recordings in “moodle-Share”) is NOT personalised via the TU-ID but via the access of the institute. You will receive the access data from the Moodle team.
  • The files and folders in the media portal should not contain spaces, special characters or umlauts in their names, as this will lead to problems when calling up the links!

If you do not yet have access to the media portal for your institute, please contact the Moodle Support Team .

Services

Support and assistance from the Recording Team:

We also offer initial support with lecture recordings in the lecture hall if you produce them yourself or get them done by your student assistants.