A "talking-head" style video or a physical demonstration should be used when you need to physically appear in front of the camera to demonstrate your process. Additionally, some teachers choose to mix talking-head shots with their screencast presentation to create a more varied and engaging visual style. (We strongly suggest switching up your visuals every 30 seconds or so to keep students engaged.) Take a read through our guide on building your very own at-home video setup, and then read on below!
To set up and record a talking-head or a physical demonstration, you'll need a camera, tripod, microphone, editing software, and optional lighting tools. These tools range from simple, cheap solutions, to more expensive professional equipment.
- iPhone or iPad
- Point & Shoot Digital Camera
The options below are lavalier microphones that plug straight into your smartphone or camera and clip onto your clothing near your chest. If you are recording your entire class with your webcam, it is best to use a USB microphone (like the Snowball USB Microphone).
Good Microphone Options
- Polsen OLM-10 Lavalier Microphone ($22.95)
- Aspen Mics HQ-S Lavalier Microphone ($44.95)
- Giant Squid Audio Lab Lavalier Microphone ($52.00)
- Rode smartLav+ for iPhone and Smartphones ($79.00)
More Advanced Options*
- iRig Preamplifier for iPhone and Android Devices ($37.07)NOTE: The iRig requires this cable to use with any camera other than an iPhone or Android device.
- BeachTek DXA-2T Audio Adapter ($179.00)
- Audio-Technica PRO70 ($129.00)
- Audio-Technica AT899 ($269.00)
*In professional settings, a preamplifier is used in conjunction with XLR microphones in order to provide a more robust signal and better results.
Great lighting can be achieved simply. Most likely your workspace already has enough light, and we think that natural lighting looks best. Check out this tutorial to learn how to get the perfect lightning setup.
If you don’t think your space will have enough light, we recommend these inexpensive lighting tools:
- Reflector ($9.98) – A simple reflector can help you direct light from your source to where you need it.
- Paper Lantern ($6.30) + Light Fixture ($9.95) + Daylight Bulb – This combination can be hung very easily and adds bright light without being too harsh or creating dark shadows. The paper lantern acts as a diffuser, which softens and spreads the light all over.
Most computers have built-in software that are very easy to use, like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Check out this tutorial to learn how to edit and export your class in iMovie and take a look at these three easy tips on editing your class! Here are some other options for more advanced editing work:
Here are a few more best practices to keep in mind when recording your talking-head or physical demonstration videos:
- Natural light is best. Keep your shots bright and balanced. Avoid shadows.
- Use high resolution 720p or HD (most modern smartphones and digital cameras can record in 720p) with a resolution of 1280x720 or an aspect ratio of 16:9.
- We encourage teachers to keep a tighter frame. This means framing your shot above your waist, and just above your head. Too much room above your head (headroom) can make your frame look empty. Keeping a tighter frame also allows for there to be less distractions in your background. Find more tips on framing in this tutorial on how to setup your camera to get a well-balanced shot.
- We asked a few of our top teachers to share their personal best practices for recording a physical demonstration. Check out their insights here.
- Watch this free class from the content team at Vimeo - DIY Filming: Creating Pro Videos with Tools You Already Own
- Check out guide to building your very own at-home video setup.
Still need help? For extra help with filming and editing, VideoPixie – a freelance network for videographers and editors – offers a special discounted rate for Skillshare teachers! Learn more here.