The secret of making a great instructional video

October 4, 2021
Marketing

When you want to learn a new skill, for example, learning how to use photoshop, or learning how to make a PowerPoint. Will you choose to read the text or watch a video?

Obviously, it’s watching the video, as motion pictures will make it easier to understand and practice.


A recent study from TechSmith indicates that 53% have seen 2 or more than 2 instructional videos per week (up 152 percent compared to 2013).


However, making instructional videos is not as simple as you think. It must be interesting and easy to absorb to your audience. 


And that’s why this free guide is here to make sure you can produce great instructional videos. Discover it now!


Part 1: The definition of an instructional video


An instructional video is a video showing a process, transferring knowledge, explaining a concept, and teaching someone how to do something.


An instructional video is a video showing a process


It’s not limited to use instructional design professionals in instructional videos. 


Anyone in any industry can (and probably should) create instructional videos. Here are some examples of instructional videos:


Tutorial videos


Tutorial videos are produced to present a process, or to give step-by-step instructions. Tutorial videos can typically use multiple instructional methods between 2-10 minutes.


Screencast videos


Screencast videos are generally intended for a smaller audience than tutorial videos. 


They are also quick and informal. They include audio narration from your computer screen.


Micro videos


Micro videos are short training videos focused on instructing a single subject. They usually take less than a minute and appeal to today's media consumers, whose attention spans are short.


Training videos


Training videos are designed to enhance an employee's skills. Companies often create interpersonal online training videos, such as rules and harassment training, and work-related issues such as hardware and software training.


Training videos often use real people’s footage to connect the trainer and trainee. These videos may be interactive and often fit big training courses.


Explaining video


Explaining videos are short (usually less than 2 minutes) videos that explain a business concept or product in a visual, or an interesting approach. 


They usually use basic animations to explain a big subject, product, or service. Explaining videos turn complex ideas into digestible content.


Presentation videos


Presentation videos are used for people who want to rewatch and re-update the content, or those who could not attend the event in person. 


You only need a microphone and a webcam to record audio for a presentation, or record PowerPoint slides.


Part 3: How to create a screen-captured instructional video


Most people who finally make videos didn't expect they will make videos one day. 

As a result, many people don’t prepare well enough for their first video.


However, the biggest secret for a great screen-captured instructional video is a good plan to go.


Follow the steps below to create a good tutorial video plan:


Determine and learn about your audience


Before you think about hitting the record button, you should analyze your audience and determine why they need your help.


Talk to your customers about the way they use your product and where they find it. 


Ask your students what learning outcomes they hope to achieve if you hold a class. 


If you’re training new employees, ask yourself which questions your employees need the answers the most.


Use that information to choose the most helpful topics for tutorials.


Even if you know your audience well, don’t skip this step. It will be better if you write all information down the paper to make a detailed outline.


Answer these questions about your audience and video before you move on to step two:


1. What's your topic? 


Choose only one video topic. Your video is more focused and easier to create by narrowing your coverage. You will also estimate your video length to keep your audience’s attention.


2. Who's your audience?


Analyze your audience based on basic demographic information such as education, age, professions, association with other groups.


3. Why are they interested in your topic? 


You’d better know why your audience cares about your topic. This means you know their concerns and reasons for viewing your video.


4. What’s your video’s objectives? 


A clear learning goal helps you to provide more explicit instruction with better results.


5. What benefits can your audience have after watching your video? 


If someone spends time watching your video, what benefits will they get?


You can learn more about planning a great video by checking the video from Matt Pierce, TechSmith's guru below.


You will get even more questions when you plan your video after watching this short video:


Where will you host or finish your video?


Which is the best size for that location?


Do you want to add interactivity, such as questionnaires or interactive highlights?


You need features like subtitles for accessibility?


Answering these questions will help you to create a clear, concise and interesting video. 


By researching your audience, you will know exactly what you are looking for. 


Therefore, you can avoid losing viewers and help viewers retain information. 


Write a script and storyboard


Storyboard 


You should create a storyboard that describes and visualizes what you plan after you define your topic and know your audience.


Some people get creative and draw complicated photos.


Storyboard can be complicated


Or they can be as simple as this:



Quick sketches and stickers are perfect for live video. A series of simple screenshots can be used to display roughly what you plan to show in the screencasting or screen recording.


You're ready to record when you finish storyboarding and have a detailed plan.


Script


You can save yourself and your viewers time by writing a script (even a simple one). A script also gives you much less chance of forgetting something.


A script helps you less forget details


Here are some tips to get you started. 


Use simple words and avoid jargon.


Show and say: Instead of orderly play your on-screen activities, let the actions do that "first I click this, then I click it." Take time to both tell your audience what you do and why you do it.


Practice: Before recording, you should read your script aloud. You might find it’s difficult to say loudly something that sounded great in your head. Go back and make sure that you use natural language if you are tricked up.


Record voice over


It's time to record the story with your script in hand. 


You should invest in the best microphone if you can. Even a headphones mic offers much better sound quality than the one on your computer.


Next, find a quiet recording place. 


Record your script slowly and clearly when you're ready. Don't start over if you make mistakes, just pause and begin again right before you made the mistake, so you can remove the errors when you're done.


To remove errors and any additional sound from your audio, I recommend using Audacity or Adobe Audition.


After finishing the audio narration, you can record your video.


Screen record


Before your start recording screen, you should clean and close all unnecessary applications. Turn off notifications that may pop up. 


The last thing you might encounter after recording all footage is a blurred video.


Open the application you want and practice a few steps to show your viewers exactly what you want. This will help you to make smooth cursor movements, and you can end up with fewer edits.


Then, open the recording device and record your screen as you practiced. Remember, just pause when you make an error and then start right before the error. You can smooth things out when you edit your video.


Try adding a webcam capture to your screencast if you want a simple way to increase engagement and help viewers connect to your content.


You can edit your video when you finish recording your desktop.


Edit video


Many people think only professional video editors can make nice-looking videos. However, you don't have to start with expensive editing tools or a great deal of knowledge.


To begin, remove errors by choosing them with the playhead and then click Cut. Drag the end of the clip in to cut extra images from the ends or recordings.


After finishing editing the video, you can add your audio. Use clip speed and extend the frame to synchronize the audio and video with the narration timeline.


Below are a few examples of simple edit:


If you need more time to explain a concept, divide the clip and use the extend frame to freeze the video basically.


Add the velocity of the clip, then drag the handles to accelerate a boring part of your recording.


Or use animations to zoom in on important parts to focus your audience's attention.


Add a video introduction


A video introduction leads and ignites your viewers’ curiosity about your content, but don't overthink it. 


You should keep your intro easy and straightforward. Audiences want nothing more than what you promised to teach them within your video.


A good introduction defines the subject and explains quickly what viewers can expect to learn.


Add some space at the beginning of your video to create a video intro by holding the shift key and drag the playhead to the right.


Then, open your media basket and choose the Library tab. Drag the intro you want on the timeline from the "Motion Graphics – Intro Clips" folder.


Select your clip on the timeline and edit the text and shapes in the properties panel to customize your entry clip. Enter text, select a font, and change any shape, text colors, or other settings.


Now is a great time to add some music to your video, after you've all set up your video. Though music is not necessary, it can help your video be more stunning. 


Pick something up-to-date and positive for a How to or Video lesson to help your viewers to have a good mood.


Share your video


The last step is to think of where your video is going to live. Many options for video hosting are available these days. 


You may share your video on platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Screencast, or save it as a local file. You can also share it on your favorite social media.


Users prefer to store finished videos on Youtube, especially for external videos. And uploading your educational and learning videos on YouTube brings many good reasons.


You should share your video with a few people to receive some feedback before you make it live.


This ensures that your message is clear and your video achieves your objectives.


Before starting your project, take a step back and decide whether you do everything yourself, or hire a video company.


Budget often plays a big role in this decision, and you might want to begin by taking into account the impact you want your video to get.


Here are a couple of questions you should consider


How many videos do I need?

How much money can I afford to produce a video?

Will this video lead the marketing campaign?

Is it going to stay in a prominent place like the landing page?


There are also some pros and cons of outsourcing and self-making video.


Outsourcing 


If you’ve never tried to produce a video yourself, you may want to hire someone to do this. However, it will take you a great deal of time and money. 


Moreover, you will need to pay an additional fee if you want to continue editing your video for further use.


Pros 


Video manufacturers have the expertise to create the best videos. They know how to make a good video that fits your audience’s demand.


Cons


It’s costly. The average cost for a 60-second explaining video is about $8,000. And only one professionally created tutorial video might cost $10,000 or more.


Self-making 


Self-making is, of course, a money-save option, you don’t have to pay for an extra cost, and you can do whatever you want with your video. 

Screencast is a kind of video that people prefer to DIY.


Pros 


You can control your budget and have full freedom of creativity.


Cons


It takes your time, especially with people who’ve never used editing software, tools before. Your editing skills are limited as well.


And although you may never achieve the level of a full-time video producer, your video quality will surprise you because you do it yourself.


After reading this article, many of you might complain that making the instructional videos is difficult, and you’re afraid you will not be able to do it well.


But anything will have difficulties at the beginning, you may not be successful in the first few videos, but over time, if you cultivate your skills and apply these free guides above, you will soon get what you expect.


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