Making Tutorial Videos
Updated: 27 July 2020 10:02 AM

What approach should I take when making videos? 

Perfect is the enemy of good. 

If you are just starting out, the best approach is to keep things as simple as possible using technologies and approaches that are self-serve, where you can control and execute your own content. 

What will determine the success or failure of any of this video content is:

  • Whether it’s available in time for the students
  • If it captures the process
  • That the content is planned and well organized
  • It serves the learning outcomes of the course
  • It is captured at the minimum required fidelity

Higher investment in fidelity will not ensure that the video content is available in time, captures the process, is well organized and serves the learning outcomes.  

What makes great videos? Or rather, what videos do people watch? 

  • Put the most important points first. From the start of your video, people’s attention will start to wane. Or break your video into parts. Sometimes things go wrong and it’s a nuisance to discover your capture didn’t work out after talking for an hour. 

  • If your video is excellent and engaging, let it run. But proceed with caution with more than 12 minute videos. 

  • Videos that balance the right amount of planning and spontaneity. Plan for your video, but also be yourself, because your students are interested in your presence in the course.

How should I plan for my videos? 

  • Make a Plan. Write out a bulleted outline or script for yourself. Write it up in Word or OneNote. 
  • Plan to make mistakes.
  • Get prepared. Have everything you need to document the process, and be prepared to make mistakesGather all tools, materials, and if you only have one screen your computer, print out your notes. 
  • Try different approaches. Crafting the video is a matter of personal choices. You may prefer to record the process without speaking and then edit/narrate after the fact. Alternatively, you may just want to capture everything at the same time. Whatever works for you is best, and this might be a bit of trial and error. 
  • Start Small. Prepare by creating some smaller, shorter videos, and then work up to videos that you know will be more difficult. 
  • Find Similar Videos. Go to YouTube and search for processes that you already know and be inspired by how other people have shot them. 

How do I measure the success of my videos? 

Detailed analytics exist for every video on TechSmith Knowmia (formerly Relay).  

  • Access this data by clicking the Analytics button found below the video.  
  • Find out whether anyone is watching your video, and how much of it they watch.  
  • If no one is watching your video, try to find out why and use different strategies like posting videos of different lengths. 

How do I use Camtasia? 

What is the minimum required fidelity? What camera should I use? 

You should use the camera you’re most familiar with. For most people, this will be their smartphone. We know that almost all faculty and students have smartphones 

  • Since the iPhone 4s in 2011, smartphones shoot 1080p HD video from the rear camera 
  • 1080p which is the desired target format for capture, editing and delivery of most video.  
  • If you are shooting a selfie using a camera or your laptop and the camera may be limited to 720p, that is still just fine.  
  • Techsmith Fuse is a camera app that uploads directly to Knowmia (formerly Relay) and Camtasia 
  • Or, use the default camera app for your device. 

What about 4k? 

Shooting in ultra-high definition improves quality but introduces many compromises, and doesn’t radically improve the end-user experience. It creates giant files, that are harder for your computer to edit, there is more data to store – and inevitably – most users will view that file at 1080p because they never full screen the video or have enough bandwidth to view in 4k. Don’t bother.  

What about audio? 

Audio for Live Audio

Bad audio will kill your well captured video every time. Conversely, people are far more likely to tolerate poorer video quality if the audio quality is good. Aim for good audio quality. 

For live video, either use your earbuds attached to your phone, get close to your phone or connect an external microphone. 

Audio for Demonstrations 

It’s hard to shoot a demonstration video and have it go perfectly on the first take. It’s better to shoot the video, and the overdub any voiceover audio in afterwards. You can trim the video to the most essential components and then overdub when required. 

How can I stand up my iPhone? 

Most of the time, you will need a way to support your iPhone. There are DIY and Paid options. 

DIY Options 

Paid options 

Online retailers have a number of solutions for this. 


Again, there are DIY and Paid options for improving your lighting. 

DIY Options 

  • Sit next to a window. Do not sit with your back to a window, but face a window, or have in your vision. This way the light falls on your face. 
  • Turn on home lighting, and move desk or standing lights to accommodate 
  • Use some $2 white foam core board to reflect lighting if required 
  • Pot lights are challenging to work with, and you will want multiple light sources to reduce hard shadows. Diffuse Illumination is best, because it doesn’t create harsh shadows. Torchiere lights are an example of this, or point a desk light at a wall and bounce the light. 

Paid options 

  • CCFL Light Kits. You can purchase light kits with diffusers. Are daylight balanced, so don’t mix well with ambient home lighting, but very affordable. 
  • LED Lights or Light Kits. These are often portable LED Lights powered by Sony NPF batteries or power adapters. LED lights often have variable colour balance and are dimmable. 

General Resources for Making Tutorial Videos 

Adobe MAX 

This presentation is where I got the expression “evergreen” from: 


LinkedIn Learning 


There are countless videos on YouTube on how creators make videos. One of the challenges is that many YouTubers invest heavily in gear, which can be a disincentive to getting started with what you have. However, many of these folks suggest a low cost option 

Here is just a sample. 


What further assistance do you provide faculty for making demonstration videos? 

We support faculty in using their mobile devices, iPads or laptops and their use with Techsmith Camtasia, Capture and Knowmia (formerly Relay). We can advise faculty using other camera brands to import their files (assuming they are compatible) into Camtasia for editing and distribution via Knowmia (formerly Relay). We can also direct faculty to this resource and other resources in LinkedIn Learning and YouTube 

Do you offer funding for equipment to record demonstration videos? 

Not currently. If you are just starting out, we would not encourage you to spend lots of money on gear. What is most important is to learn how to imagine, create, edit, deliver and measure results of your videos first to determine where any investment might make the most difference. 

Permanent Faculty and Technicians receive Professional Development funds, and you can learn more here.  

Are you supporting video production on campus? 

We have no idea when campus will reopen. When it does, there will be strict controls to ensure the health and safety of all visitors and it's unclear how this could be facilitated.

Do I own the Intellectual Property to my Videos? 

Yes. Please see Appendix F of the Memorandum of Agreement with OCADFA. 

Can I include copyrighted materials in my videos from YouTube or LinkedIn Learning, including music? 

No. Please only include items that are very clearly marked Creative Commons and no other materials. There are six license types for Creative Commons. For instance, if you wanted to modify content, make sure the license covers it. For a full explanation of the license types, please refer to this wiki article. 

It is against the terms of use otherwise. Please refer to the copyright information provided by the Library.