Scripting for Screen-Recorded Videos

From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Contents

Module Summary

Screen-recorded videos cover a range of types: slideshow lectures, software demonstrations, brainstorm web sessions, student work critiques, and mixed-content presentations (moving between various sources). These videos are a popular way of conveying learning contents to learners, in “flipped classrooms,” open-source learning objects, online learning modules, and others. This module introduces screen-recorded videos and their technological affordances. This addresses effective ways to plan for creating a screen-recorded video (in terms of legalities, scripting, storyboarding, and visual content development) then then how to record one effectively.

Takeaways

Learners will...

  • consider what a screen-recorded video is and some of the enablements and affordances of these videos are
  • review how to plan for a screen-recorded video, particular in terms of legal considerations
  • consider common ways to create visuals for screen-recorded videos, including slideshows and online presentations
  • describe some common screen-recorded educational video sequences and the role of the presenter’s “talking head”
  • think about the roles of storyboarding and scripting for screen-recorded videos…and the role of making dry-runs and practice-presentations before actually recording

Module Pretest

1. What is a screen-recording video? What are some enablements and affordances of screen-recorded videos? What are the typical contents of a screen-recorded video?

2. What are effective ways to plan for a screen-recorded video? What are some legal considerations in the creation of contents for screen-recorded video? What legal sign-offs are needed for media releases? Uses of copyrighted contents (imagery, text, audio, music, video, and others)?

3. What are common ways to create visuals for screen-recorded video? What are common sources for visuals (including photos, imagery, diagrams, websites interfaces, software user interfaces, and others)? What are some benefits to building a slideshow or an online presentation, to serve as the basis of the screen-recorded video?

4. What are some common video sequences? What are the typical sequential parts to a screen-recorded educational video? Is it important to include a “talking head” of the presenter? Why or why not? How long are typical educational videos? Why?

5. What sort of storyboarding and scripting are required for making screen-recorded videos? How do these planning documents enhance the experience of video recording, and how do these improve the quality of the finalized videos? Why are dry-runs and practice-presentations important for such videos?


Main Contents

1. What is a screen-recording video? What are some enablements and affordances of screen-recorded videos? What are the typical contents of a screen-recorded video?

A video created with screen-recording / screen capture technology enables the capture of anything that may be displayed on a computer screen…along with audio from the built-in mic on a computer (or a mic connected by USB)…and the audio-visual signals from a connected web cam (usually as either picture-in-picture or as a separate additional video channel similar to the desktop screen capture)…simultaneously. As such, contents in the video may come from a mix of sources: software programs, slideshow programs, websites, simulations, online documents, and so on. Anything digital that is viewable on a screen may be captured through screen-recording. This is not to say that motion is captured as effectively. So if a video is played on a computer screen and captured using a screen-recording software, the speed of the frames per minute have to be sufficiently fast to capture the motion of the video; otherwise, there will be a lag effect. Also, the screen capture has to be at sufficient resolution to capture visual details.

In online education, typical contents of screen-recorded videos include the following:

  • a slideshow lecture
  • an online web-enabled meeting
  • steps to navigating a website
  • steps to using a software program, and others…


2. What are effective ways to plan for a screen-recorded video? What are some legal considerations in the creation of contents for screen-recorded video? What legal sign-offs are needed for media releases? Uses of copyrighted contents (imagery, text, audio, music, video, and others)?

An early step to planning for screen-recorded video is to brainstorm what the contents of the video will be.

Acquiring visuals involves legal considerations. If photos, audio, and video of people’s likenesses are captured and used, these individuals should have already signed a media release to enable the use of this data. For example, if extant contents are used, these have to be released to the public domain by the owner(s) of the digital contents. Or, the contents have to be released through a Creative Commons licensure, many of which still require attribution, and many of which require “share-alike” (in an open-source way), and many of which delimit commercial uses, and many of which do not enable editing and re-versioning. If visual contents are created, these elements should not rely on copyrighted works without permission.

With reverse image searches and other tools, it is not difficult to backtrack an image to its original source (if that information is online). The costs of mis-using others’ copyrighted works is prohibitively high, so it’s smarter to err on the side of ultra-caution.


3. What are common ways to create visuals for screen-recorded video? What are common sources for visuals (including photos, imagery, diagrams, websites interfaces, software user interfaces, and others)? What are some benefits to building a slideshow or an online presentation, to serve as the basis of the screen-recorded video?

For many instructors who create screen-recorded videos, they will go to [Creative Commons Search https://search.creativecommons.org/] to find imagery, music, video, multimedia, and web resources for their lectures. [Others skip the process of using their own contents altogether and go with publisher-created slideshows…YouTube videos…Khan Academy videos…and other resources that others have created and have hosted online.]

Those who create their own contents may use software to create data visualizations. They may draw manually using a stylus and tablet. Or they may sketch by hand on paper and scan the resulting imagery into a digital file, for further revision and editing. There are plenty of diagramming tools that enable drawing using a mouse…

Some imagery may be from photos…and screenshots…and screen grabs.

There are slideshow programs that enable the creation of visual- and text-based sequential presentations. These are built with aligned fonts and color palettes that enable accessibility and aesthetic pleasure.

Some data visualizations may be built on online presentation systems. These also come with built-in font-skin-visual features that are aligned…and there are also built-in navigational sequences built in. (These include Prezi, Adobe Spark, Canva, and others.)


4. What are some common video sequences? What are the typical sequential parts to a screen-recorded educational video? Is it important to include a “talking head” of the presenter? Why or why not? How long are typical educational videos? Why?

A typical screen-captured video sequence may be as follows: an opening screen or scene, intro to the topic, a video sequence, a conclusion, and credits. Some videos may have HTML overlays that pause the video and elicit a multiple-choice response from the viewers. There are free software tools that enable such overlays, or these may be introduced into the videos using video authoring tools (such as TechSmith’s Camtasia, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Replay, and others).

The webcam is often used to capture the talker’s face to humanize the video. This may be treated as its own video channel (such as on Mediasite’s Desktop Recorder) or as a picture-in-picture feature (as in TechSmith’s Camtasia, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Replay, and others).

Some prefer the use of a photograph to humanize themselves. Some use the webcam only early on in a video to introduce themselves and then focus on the contents during the rest of the video. Some skip the webcam altogether…and just use the visuals and their voices…and the actions demonstrated in the video capture.

The length of a typical educational video may range from a few minutes to an hour or two. What works will depend on the contents, the learners, and other factors.


5. What sort of storyboarding and scripting are required for making screen-recorded videos? How do these planning documents enhance the experience of video recording, and how do these improve the quality of the finalized videos? Why are dry-runs and practice-presentations important for such videos?

Depending on the complexity of the video, (1) storyboarding (drawing out the various sequences of the video as visuals, with text) and / or (2) scripting (writing out a narrative for the main speaker) may be helpful. These planning documents help define what visuals are needed along with what text.

For those who tend to be less formal, it may help to have a mere set of notes…to build the presentation on-the-fly…and to capture the screen-recorded video after a few dry-runs. If a presentation is well put-together sequentially and coherent, most presenters can riff off of the presentation fairly effectively. Oftentimes, some dry-runs of presentations will highlight areas lacking information…or poor logical transitions…so it is important to do walk-throughs of the presentations in order to correct the underlying contents. It is important to closely revise and edit the underlying presentation to get rid of errors as well since that is much harder to do once a video has been captured. (It’s not impossible. This just requires remaking the slide with the mistakes…and swapping out the wrong image with the right one…while preserving the audio waveform. However, getting visuals to align with the monitor settings and the color handling inside the screen-recording software…may be harder. It is always better to have all digital contents fully vetted and fully correct before going into the videography.)

With screen-recording software, the initial recording has to be accepted, rendered in video format, saved as a project file, and exported as a compressed video format (usually .mp4). It is advisable to keep a raw copy of the project and the video prior to compression since those are the least-lossy video formats…in case the instructor wants to re-edit the videos for other uses, etc.

Examples

There are a number of examples of screen-captured videos on YouTube, Vimeo, and other platforms. Knowing which technologies were used to create the videos may require a more trained eye…and / or other data, though.

How To

There are many right ways to approach this work, and a lot of what is “right” depends on what is comfortable for the lecturer.

If an instructor is familiar with his / her field and has ready access to contents, a lecture capture video may only take a few hours to make from beginning to end…

One other note: Learners do not want to see a perfect instructor. They would rather have a person who is approachable, human, funny, and supportively benevolent... In other words, it's okay for a person to be himself / herself...and to make an occasional mistake on the video (as long as it's a non-fact-based mistake).

Possible Pitfalls

As with any online learning sequence, there are various tests for its efficacy:

  • Is the learning content accurate?
  • Was the online learning object created legally?
  • Is the learning sequence effective for learners? Is it pedagogically sound?
  • Is the learning object accessible?

If the screen-recorded video meets those requirements and is engaged with on an accessible video player (which enables users to full-screen, pause, slow, speed, and otherwise control the video)…then the video may be a winner.

The other issue is that contents in videos will date out as technologies update, as user-interfaces update, as knowledge in the target domains update, and these will require that a video be recaptured or revised at some point. Too often, instructors are reluctant to re-record contents before the work is effortful. However, if he or she or they maintain accurate files and records…re-doing a video may not be as difficult as assumed.

Module Post-Test

1. What is a screen-recording video? What are some enablements and affordances of screen-recorded videos? What are the typical contents of a screen-recorded video?

2. What are effective ways to plan for a screen-recorded video? What are some legal considerations in the creation of contents for screen-recorded video? What legal sign-offs are needed for media releases? Uses of copyrighted contents (imagery, text, audio, music, video, and others)?

3. What are common ways to create visuals for screen-recorded video? What are common sources for visuals (including photos, imagery, diagrams, websites interfaces, software user interfaces, and others)? What are some benefits to building a slideshow or an online presentation, to serve as the basis of the screen-recorded video?

4. What are some common video sequences? What are the typical sequential parts to a screen-recorded educational video? Is it important to include a “talking head” of the presenter? Why or why not? How long are typical educational videos? Why?

5. What sort of storyboarding and scripting are required for making screen-recorded videos? How do these planning documents enhance the experience of video recording, and how do these improve the quality of the finalized videos? Why are dry-runs and practice-presentations important for such videos?


References

Extra Resources