Video & Audio Recording Best Practices

This guide outlines a workflow that will help you create effective, accessible video and audio for your courses.

1. Plan it Out

A little planning will save you a lot of time when creating videos.

  1. Use an organization aid, such as an outline or CTEL’s Storyboard Template to think through the content of your audio or video.
  2. Stay focused. Or at least have a number of small “essential” clips followed by a longer “discussion” clip.
    • Six 5-minute clips “feel” less daunting than one 30-minute clip.
    • Online students find it more difficult to retain what they hear in the comfort of their own home than in a classroom.
    • Segmenting your audio or video in this way also makes it easier for students to find and review specific details.
  3. Pair each clip with a reinforcing activity, like a short quiz or simple assignment. This activates retrieval learning, which helps students remember important points in your clip longer term.
  4. Contextualize everything. Always follow conceptual topics in your audio or video by explaining applications of that topic.
  5. Have each successive clip’s activity repeat and build on the previous one—repetition is key to mastery of core concepts.

2. Write a Script

Why should you use a script? Because it

  • reduces the number of filler words in your speech, thus making your clip shorter and more pleasant to listen to;
  • helps organize your thoughts and structure your content; and
  • makes captioning your video or providing an audio transcript easier.

We recommend that you

  1. use Word, Google Docs, or another word-processing application to write your script;
  2. use a copy of your outline or storyboard as a “skeleton”;
  3. use correct capitalization and punctuation because later you’ll be using your script to create captions or a transcript; and
  4. for video, annotate your script to indicate when you’ll display different resources or perform specific actions, e.g., [Open PowerPoint Presentation].

3. Prepare Supplementary Materials

Supplementary materials include media, links, presentations, assignments, and other resources you will use while recording.

  1. Make a list of things you’ll need based on the annotations you made in your outline/script.
  2. Gather all of the resource materials you’ll use while recording. Follow these guidelines if you’re preparing resources:
    • Differentiate your content. In other words, use multiple mediums to convey the same information. This will help make your content “stick,” and it’ll be intrinsically accessible.
    • Carefully describe all images as they’re displayed. Be sure to read aloud any text that will be on screen.
    • Be careful with your color choices. Foreground objects like text should be a color that contrasts from the background in both hue and brightness, for example, black text on a white background.
    • Use bold fonts in large sizes. None of your text should use a font size less than 18 points.
    • Avoid novelty fonts, e.g., Comic Sans, Zaph Dingbats, or anything “cursive-like.”
  3. Caption everything. Make sure any third-party supplementary audio or video you use is captioned.
  4. Prepare a way to see your script while you’re recording. Here are some options:
    • Print it.
    • Memorize it.
    • Use the “presenter notes” in PowerPoint or Google Slides.
    • Use a separate device as a teleprompter.

4. Record Your Video

If you plan to use the video-recording application licensed by the University of Maine system, Kaltura CaptureSpace, and you need help with getting started, visit our Kaltura page for instructions on accessing it and installing it.

Don’t like CaptureSpace? It’s fine to use a different video-recording application. However, we recommend that you still upload your video to Kaltura since it’ll securely host and caption it, plus it’s flexible in the video formats it accepts.

  1. Record in a quiet place with minimal echo. CTEL has a room for this, the Vault in Glickman Library. Contact us to reserve it.
  2. Record in an evenly lit room if you’re recording the webcam.
  3. Turn down the brightness on your screen since it’ll prevent your face from looking washed out.

5. Polish Your Video

Step-by-step instructions for uploading and captioning videos in Kaltura are listed at the bottom of this page.

  1. Finalize your video. CaptureSpace gives you the option to trim the ends of your video clip and add title slates.
  2. Upload your video to Kaltura. You’ll find it through the My Media link on your Blackboard homepage or at video.maine.edu.
  3. Add a useful description and tags for your video. A tag is a single word that is relevant to the video. A good choice might be the code for the course the video is for, e.g., MAT101. Each video requires at least one tag, but you can add multiple ones by separating them with a space. Tags are useful for filtering and searching a large collection of video in your My Media account.
  4. Review your video’s captions. Once your video is added to My Media, Kaltura will scan the audio and automatically generate captions using speech recognition software. The auto-captions are only 60-80% accurate, so you must check them over.
    • Use your script to quickly fix captioning errors by copying and pasting text.
    • Make sure your captions have correct capitalization and punctuation.

6. Post Your Video

Once your video has been uploaded and captioned, you are ready to post it in your course for students to watch. (See the instructions below.) Don’t forget to post any supplementary materials, assignments, etc. along with your video.

Upload your video to Kaltura
If you have media files on your computer, you can upload them to Kaltura, or you can use it to record new video or audio. To get started with either task,

  1. Click the Add New button on the My Media page. Its dropdown menu will open.
  2. Select one of these options:
    1. Media Upload: Add media files to Kaltura (i.e., ones you have saved on your computer).
    2. CaptureSpace: Create new video or audio files using CaptureSpace. Once you’ve finished creating new media, Kaltura will upload it directly to your My Media account.
NOTE
Check out University College’s Upload Error page if you get an error while uploading a media file or if you can’t find it in your My Media account after the upload process is complete.
Edit your video's captions
  1. Record your video or audio (and follow your script as closely as possible).
  2. Upload your completed video or audio to the My Media tool in Blackboard (or at video.maine.edu). After your file is uploaded, Kaltura will add machine captions to the media (usually within 90 minutes). A “captioning complete” tag will appear on your media when the captioning process is done.
  3. Click the title of the video with captions you want to edit. A page with the video’s options will open.
  4. Click the (a) Actions link below the video to open its dropdown menu, then select the (b) Caption Requests option. A table that displays caption requests for the video will be displayed.
  5. Click the “Refresh List: CLICK HERE to see all caption requests for this media” link near the bottom of the screen if no caption requests are displayed. Information on the machine-generated captions that Kaltura automatically added to your video will be displayed in the table.
  6. Click the blue Edit button that appears in the Status column. The Customer Edit page will open.
  7. Examine the captions on the left-hand side of the page, and copy and paste text from your script into the yellow textbox in the middle of the page to fix incorrectly detected speech.
  8. Finish editing your captions using one of two options:
    • If you need to stop editing captions and come back to finish later, click Save. This will preserve your changes but not make them active when the video is watched.
    • If you’re done editing and are ready to make your revised captions viewable, click the green Save button, then the green Approve button next to it.

Caveats

  • Videos imported into Kaltura using the YouTube import tool do not get machine captions; however, if the video has captions in YouTube, they will be viewable in Kaltura’s player as well.
  • If you try to trim a video that has been captioned, you have to first delete the caption file, then trim the video. Then you’ll need to request new machine captions and fix mistakes in the caption file again.
Screenshot of step 4a and b, locating caption requests in Kaltura
Step 4a & 4b: Locating caption requests in Kaltura
Screenshot of steps 5a and 6, accessing a caption file for editing
Steps 5a & 6: Opening a caption file for Editing
Add your video to your Blackboard course

You can share media as a content item, which means it’ll be displayed on its own, or you can embed it within a textbox with other content, like text, images, other videos, etc.

As a Content Item

  1. Go to the content area in your course where you want to add your media. (If you need to create a new content area first, follow instructions for changing your course menu.)
  2. Hover over Build Content in the top menu. Its dropdown menu will open.
  3. Click Kaltura Media; it’s the last link in the “Mashups” section. A list of all of the audio and video files in your My Media account will be displayed.
  4. Click the Select button to the right of the media file that you want to add to your course. The “Create Mashup Item” page will open.
  5. Enter a title for your media file.
  6. Click the Submit button on the bottom-right side of the page. Now your video or podcast should appear as an item in the content area.

Within a Textbox

You can add Kaltura media to any textbox in Blackboard that has a WYSIWYG editor (i.e., it has buttons for formatting options). This includes announcements, content items and folders, discussion threads, and assignment instructions.

  1. Click the Mashups button. Its dropdown menu will open.
  2. Select Kaltura Media. A list of all of the audio and video files in your My Media account will be displayed in a pop-up window.
  3. Click the Select button to the right of the media file you want to add to your course. The My Media window will close, and the media file you selected will appear within the textbox.
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