“Hey Mel. What’s your setup for making your training videos?”

Upset teenage boy at computerSo that was a question I got asked (again) recently. I've written about this before. (Ref: "My Studio Setup For Screencasting Production.") But, it's also good to update the list every now and again.

Below is my latest response to this question. I'd be remiss if I didn't share it with you, as well. So here you go.

For recording/editing stuff on the computer screen, here’s what I recommend:

For audio setup, here’s what I recommend:

For any camera work:

  • Almost any DSLR with video/audio capabilities… though I do recommend a model that has a flip-out / reversible LCD and an audio-in port. (We use a Lumix GH3, but there are other brands that’ll do the job just as well…. Or better.)
  • Studio lights… you’ll need at least 3 of these… 4 is better. (One behind the subject, and then two in front of the subject.) For this you might look to dynaphos.com or amazon.com.

If you have any requirements of a backdrop:

We got ours from Amazon.com. If you need a backdrop setup, then I can recommend the following shopping list:

  • A 10’ x 10’ frame (I got this one)
  • A paper-based backdrop. Check out those by savage paper (also on amazon)
  • Clips (I got these). You’ll probably want about 6-8 of these.

eLearning Course Production

Just a quick note here about the tools below. There's a bit of a learning curve with developing eLearning training programs.  Beyond the "mechanics" and "buttonology" of learning the software, there's also a bit of theory (adult learning theory, cognitive load theory, spaced repetition, and so forth) that go along with the use of these tools. To that end, I also listed a couple of books that might be of interest.

  • For hosting my eLearning productions, I'll use one of the following:

- If there's a requirement to track learners' progress: then you'll want a so-called SCORM-compliant Learning Management System (LMS) like Moodle or one of the quickie hosted sites, like Litmos.

- If you're a small business, information marketer or self-producing your own online courses, you might also want to take a look at some of the cool work Justin Ferriman has done with Learndash. It works as a plugin to your self-hosted WordPress site.

  •  Here are a couple of books that might be of interest:

- Efficiency In Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines To Manage Cognitive Load, by Ruth Clark, Frank Nguyen, John Sweller.

- Design For How People Learn, Julie Dirksen.

- Screencasting & eLearning Wizardry, curated by yours truly.

Finally, these articles from Wistia are pretty good, too, for “quick and dirty” DIY setups:

Did I miss anything?

What would you add to the list?

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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of ScreencastingWizard.com; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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