video recording equipment on a white background 

Video Production Studio

 

Ready to kick your educational video content up to the next level?  Or maybe you have an amazing student project that incorporates video production?  Did you know that UMPI has an innovative Video Production Studio (VPS) in the bottom floor of the CIL, which houses a great recording space, complete with lighting, microphones, cameras, a green screen, and even access to an Editing studio complex with Adobe Premiere Pro!

How can the VPS meet your needs?

Having the Video Production Studio on campus is such an amazing asset to help faculty, staff, and students create higher quality, engaging video content.  Demand for video, and specifically, high-quality video continues to increase every year, and the VPS equipment is an accessible, portable way to capture and edit media for a wide variety of purposes.

With your instructional materials

Gone are the days of videotaped chalkboard lectures, badly lit, riddled with bad audio, and long monotones. Tech-enhanced education at every level is adopting new, increasingly active techniques. Video plays an essential roll in interactive-learning and in flipped classrooms. Students are more engaged when a video is used, and retain more of what they are taught when video design is thoughtfully designed to reduce extraneous cognitive load.

Students have also come to expect high production values, and this can be a challenge for the educators making the videos, and the VPS gives us the tools to start creating higher quality course intros, lecture segments, lessons, and demonstrations.

With your project-based learning assignments

 The VPS was conceived with student project-based learning in mind!  Creating assignments or assessments with a video component can be rewarding and engaging for students or small groups–and can also provide students with additional career-ready skill-sets.  Be sure if you would like to incorporate video projects, though, that you give students lots of extra time to practice and get to know the equipment.  If you would like more tips of guidance on how to set students up for a successful semester with the VPS, please give the Center for Teaching and Learning a call!

 

Savvy Pre-production Step 1: Script-writing

Depending on the purpose of the video you’re creating (whether a short 1-2 minute introduction, a longer 5-7 minute instructional video or an even longer documentary or interview), you should over- plan in your script-phase, with the knowledge that you will need to trim it down as you go. Regardless of production length, though, you should plan for 125 to 150 words of dialogue per minute.

As you begin, focus on saying everything you want to say, you can even use a voice-to-text program to capture your thoughts if that process works well for you.  Once you’ve got all of your dialogue down, check your word count–does it align with your desired video time?  Is there any repetition that was not by design that can be cut? This method makes your script clear and concise. It forces you to keep only the dialogue you need.

Let’s look at some easy-to-apply tips to get you started:

  1. Speak to your audience. Use “you” and “your” language. After all, who likes to be talked at, right? 
  2. Be conversational. Your script should read as if your audience is sitting down with you while you walk them through your topic, not like they are reading a trade journal
  3. Nothing beats a read aloud. The easiest way to determine if your dialog sounds natural (and to practice your tone, pacing, etc) is to read your script aloud–to yourself, or your neighbor or your dog.

Once you go through these three steps, you’ll have a really great handle on how long your video is going to be AND how much footage you need to shoot and what shots you need (if you are doing a voice-over). As a bonus–your script can play double duty as a tool to help you storyboard the visual pieces of your video!

Savvy Pre-production Step 2: Story-boarding

Storyboards are a way for you to decide how you will split up your script into individual segments, either with or without placeholder images, so that you can then get a clearer overview of your digital story plan. Creating storyboards may seem like an unnecessary and time-consuming extra step, however, it is a time-saving step in the creative process. It allows you to visualize how the project will be put together and help illustrate any holes that may exist before you start filming. Storyboarding also inspires new ideas lets you easily rearrange potential segments before the final development begins (again: see time-saving).  Storyboards can also be created digitally, with a pencil and paper, or using post-its (perfect it you like to switch segments around).

Here are some things your storyboard can include:

  • Boxes are read left-to-right.
  • In each box draw the basic composition of the scene.  Art will not be assessed (stick figures are okay here)
  • Key props or production details (like background or text additions to the scene)
  • Indicate camera changes as necessary— pan, zoom in/out, focus rack
  • Fading between shots should be indicated if important to the storytelling
  • Notes for music cues, sound effects, and ambient noise, as applicable

Here are some example storyboards:

Ready for Production: Lights

Lighting yourself (or your subject), so that the viewer can easily see the speaker is a key (no pun intended) step to getting a well-produced finished video!  Check out this quick beginner’s guide video from Full Sail University, and then the additional resources below.

Ready for Production: Sound

Creating great, clear sound is a must for your finished video, and that is why the VPS is set up to capture a high-quality audio track with the use of a Tascam Camera adapter and additional microphones.  You should note–that to get this great sound, that this set up will capture 2 audio tracks–but fear not, they can be easily synched (check out the tutorial below). Check out this cool intro to this piece of equipment that will take your video to the next level:

 

 

Ready for Production: Understanding the Camera

 

So, you have your script, your storyboard is ready, you’ve got your lighting just right and the sound is spot on?  Now enter the most basic piece: the camera!  If you are a beginner or are unfamiliar with the Canon EOS 80D, please check out the short intro video below:

Want to dig into some recommended settings? Check out these resources from the field:

 

Preparing for Success: Booking time

Booking space in a timely manner

Be sure, when you are preparing to film, that you check to see when the VPS is available!  Use the calendar below to see when the Studio is already in use.

Post-production and the Editing Process

Adobe Premier Pro

The VPS on campus has a great editing room attached to the recording room!  The computer in that space has Adobe Premier editing software installed-which is a rich editing tool that will allow you to work with film clips, multiple tracks of music and sound effects, manipulating a green screen and more!  Learning premier can seem overwhelming at first, but if you start with the basics, you can always develop more skills (as you need them).  Below is a playlist from UMaine’s CTIL to get you up and running:

If you are feeling like you’d like to be a bit more hands-on in your training, Adobe has some great resources:

  • A Short Course for Premier Beginners, with downloadable project files (just note, that in order to work with the project files, you will need to be on a computer with access to Adobe Cloud products)
  • An exhaustive video tutorial page, where you can search for just the training to meet your needs
  • A Premiere Pro User Guide, for text-based tutorials–though this manual is not for the faint of heart
Uploading and Editing in Kaltura

You may have any number of reasons on why you might like to save your completed MP4 film in your Kaltura My Media Space–including the ability to request professional captions, easy portability between your classes, adding interactive quiz elements, and to track viewer analytics!  You should note that the Kaltura video editor is much more basic than the Adobe software, and is really more appropriate for trimming the ends, adding bookmarks and making clips–please contact your instructional designer if you would like to talk about how this step may (or may not) meet your needs.

 

 How to upload your MP4 to your My Media

Getting started with the Kaltura Video Editor

 

Uploading and Editing in Youtube

Why would you utilize Youtube (or screencast-o-matic, if you have an account) to edit and host videos, when we have Kaltura or the LMS?  Well, perhaps you need your video to have a more public-facing presence, or you are a student (or working with students) who would like a more portable video that is easier to share outside of the University System.  Everyone at the UMS has a Youtube account (as part of the GSuite for Education tools).  Let’s take a quick look at how to upload your saved MP4 video to Youtube, and a peek at the basic editing features available to you if you need this capability:

Saving Your MP4s in Google Drive

As a UMS faculty, staff or students, we all have access to the Google Suite of education tools, including Google Drive.  Saving your video projects pieces, such as sound files, video clips and images in a Google Drive project file is a great way to keep all of your project assets organized.  This also is an easy way to access your project to review, preview and share pieces through your creative process.  Let’s look at some ways to save multimedia to your maine.edu Google Drive, as well as how to view video from your Drive project folder:

Top 5 video project tips

  1. Make time to script and storyboard–to save time on production and editing
  2. When creating your timeline for creating your video, be sure to incorporate time to practice and learn the tools
  3. Test the lighting and sound settings before you start shooting
  4. If you are using a VPS SD card, please remember to save your video and project files to your Google Drive project file before leaving the studio.
  5. If you are utilizing a green screen–remember: don’t wear green (or green patterns)!

Want to really dig into the nuts and bolts of the space?

This instructable was creating by UMA’s Justin Hafford, who consulted on the VPS space design, assembly, and training process–it is a great guide to building your own space AND to introduce you to the basic elements of our Video Production Studio–then when you are ready, book some time on the VPS calendar!

Mini Studio InstructableBook time in the VPS!