Loyola University Chicago

Information Technology Services

Self-Guided Media Production

Welcome to the Self-Guided Media Production webpage. This webpage will provide numerous resources for faculty/staff who want to start a video recording for their class or lecture and for those looking for techniques to enhance a recording already filmed. If you are interested in being filmed in a studio setting with professional quality cameras, lighting, and sound, head over to the Media Production Studio Collaborations webpage.

Planning Your Ideas and Recording (if not already completed)

Recording videos for lectures, welcome videos, course introductions, syllabus explanation, assignment walkthroughs, and weekly or module introductions does not have to be one long take and you’re done. Some creative structure in place before filming will decrease the number of times you have to re-record and will increase the quality of your video. Creative structure includes using storyboards, determining how your lesson or presentation can be broken down into short scenes, using an outline or even writing out a script beforehand. The main thing is to have a plan in place before hitting the record button.

Keeping videos shorter helps maintain the viewers’ attention and if broken into pre-requisites within Sakai, shorter videos could help a student see progress as they go through the tasks. Short videos also encourage repeat viewing and makes it easier to locate specific soundbites and sections for review. Plus, shorter videos will have smaller file sizes, making upload times quicker.

Content will dictate how long your videos will run but breaking up long recordings will make the content more ingestible and memorable for your students.  

While the Lightboard can be configured to work in a live setting, it is only available for recorded sessions.

You will not have to clean the glass once the recording is finished. The Media Production Studio will take care of cleaning the board.

Yes. Everyone who uses the Lightboard will need to take our writing backwards courses in Panopto.

Just kidding. You’ll write as you would on any type of board and during the recording, or during post-production, the image will be reversed.

The length of time it takes to film depends on the length of the content and any preparations done before filming. A discussion about production plans and a possible in-person tour would make the recording session quicker.

We recommend making videos in short chunks rather than one long video. Our recommendation is to keep videos under five minutes.

At least 72 hours advance notice is needed to set a recording session.

Yes, and not just digital images. You could also use video to assist with your lectures.

Writing out an outline is a great way to organize your pre-production ideas. Keep thoughts linear, brief, and easy to follow when reviewed.

A script is not always necessary, but it will help when determining how long a video will last. Seeing your lecture written out as dialogue will also aid in visualizing where a transition to a screencast could occur or when to add images over when you are speaking. Using Office 365 to access blank Microsoft Word documents is sufficient but if looking for a more robust option for script writing, the following website is free to sign up and you can start writing scripts instantly.

There are over one million results when searching the web for storyboard downloads. To narrow it down, we have provided our recommendations for storyboard templates. These sites are free with a registration but have options for upgrading. There are print options within both if you prefer to write out your actions.

We do not want recording sessions to last longer than 90 minutes. For first-time users of the Lightboard, a small amount of the recording session will allow the Media Production Studio staff to review on-camera behavior, set up lighting, set crisp audio and confirm all production plans. Once the recording is completed, we will discuss post-production details and set a timeline for asset deliverables.

You will not need to provide any specific items to use the Lightboard. The Media Production Studio will have markers for you to use. Please bring any notes, scripts, or props, if needed.

Lights have been built into the board and when neon dry erase markers are used on the glass, the writing will glow.

Focus Features and Visual Aids

A major aspect of online teaching is maintaining students' engagement, and a recorded lecture viewed at home often competes with numerous distractions. Incorporating one of the following ideas into your video can give your audience something for their eyes to move to and aid in retention of the subject matter. If you have a big idea outside of this list, share it with us at the Media Production Studio request form and we can discuss the options for getting those ideas into visual form.

If you recorded a video already, you could still break up the recording into multiple sections and add many of the following ideas to your videos. So even before we get into editing, having an idea of what you want to show and the audience to hear will make the editing process smoother.

Consider the following options that can enable your video to be more dynamic and engaging:

Including images, video clips and audio clips can help maintain student engagement. These types of multimedia can also be used as a transition, similarly to the screencast, where the video can cut from a talking head point-of-view to narration over different forms of multimedia content.

Copyright Resources

When using images, video, and audio that you did not create, consider reviewing the Copyright Resources pages here: https://www.luc.edu/copyright/

Digitization and Conversion

Digital Media Services does not provide any services related to digitization and conversion. There are a few options to take into consideration. For on campus recommendations, LUC Libraries may be able to assist or obtain the materials for circulation and/or viewing via digital streaming. A purchase request can be made here: http://libraries.luc.edu/avpurchase

For outside sources, a 3rd party service such as Chicago Scanning (www.chicagoscanning.com) would be able to conduct a digital transfer for a fee. However, there might be copyright issues on the DVD's if they are not your own material.

Links to royalty free webpages

Anyone wishing to add images, video, or audio and wants to avoid possible copyright infringement should peruse our TechConnect webpage where we have provided links to royalty-free websites. Some content creators will ask for proper attribution but otherwise allow for their creations to be copied and distributed for academic purposes.

Utilizing multiple angles will help with the pacing of your videos and adds a new dimension to your videos. Capturing multiple angles with one camera is possible but adds time to your recording schedule by having to record the same scene twice. In our screencast, we will show you how to record simultaneously with two cameras. This is beneficial if you want to record yourself writing on paper, sheet music you’re reading from while performing, or a lab demonstration. If in need of another camera, visit our loan program resource page to browse our inventory and check on availability.

  • Set a clear objective for the recording, trying to make each recording one topic

  • Focus on meeting your objective before filling up the Lightboard with writing or images

  • Consider writing or drawing some aspects of the lecture on the Lightboard before recording

  • Any images or text you want to add should have a black background

  • Practice on equal sized white board
  • PowerPoint slides should have black backgrounds

  • Any images or text you want to add after the recording should have transparent backgrounds

  • You can run a movie in PowerPoint and point to or talk about the video

  • Set-up for 16:9 ratio and black background before creating your slides

PowerPoint slides have become more than just a place for bullet-pointed ideas. Utilizing their built-in design ideas will enhance your videos by either being the focus of your video after a transition or you could set the presentation deck to hover over your shoulder like a news broadcast. Further below on this webpage, in the Editing section, are screencasts detailing how these ideas can be implemented. 

If you’re able to, incorporating one of these three into your video recording will keep someone’s attention and continue in keeping the video stimulating and engaging.

We do offer portable green screens from our loan program if you'd like to record your video with a green screen.

If you would like to utilize a second camera to show a prop or artifact during your discussion or presentation, these instructions will assist in using Panopto as your recording source: Add and Edit Video Streams

Creating a screencast is an effective technique to maintain your students’ interest in your videos. They could be used on their own but are also used as a transition from any recorded video footage of a talking head.

There are many ways to record your screen using Zoom or Panopto but you could also use your web browser for recording. Once you have the recording, there are numerous other types of screencast editing software, each with their own skill level, pricing, and features.

  • Avoid wearing black or dark colors. Those colors will blend into the background and the final recording will only be your floating head!

  • Try and wear a solid color

  • Avoid wearing anything with a logo or text as they will be inverted during post-production
  • When writing on the board, look at what you are writing instead of the confidence monitor

  • To assist the viewer, point to and look at, the text or drawing on the board

  • When you are lecturing and not writing on the board, try to look at the camera

  • Try to not draw horizontal lines through your eyes or mouth. Leave an opening so you are always seen on camera

  • Draw black dots on the glass to help with navigating where to write or draw on the board

  • Don’t erase during the recording

Accessibility

Accessibility in media is an important requirement and consideration. Such considerations include utilizing Panopto's auto-captioning, but also providing verbal/written descriptions for images displayed in the video, movements or actions, and more.

Visit the Student Accessibility Committee website to learn more about available resources, support and guidelines.

Recording Your Presentation At Home or In the Office

Before filming, you’ll want to read through some of our best practices and tips on setting up for recording at home or in your office.

Another major aspect for recording videos at home or in the office is good audio. You may be framed perfect with Oscar winning lighting but if no one can hear you or understand what you’re saying the video will not be well-received. If you plan on creating multiple videos or teaching synchronous classes, we recommend investing in a nice microphone that can be attached via USB. If recording is rare, a Logitech headset with the microphone close to your mouth will work well in just about every noisy environment. Be sure to limit that excess noise, though, by filming before or after your neighbor starts mowing their lawn. Or by finding as quiet a spot in the building you work within.

An effective framing technique for recording at home is following the rule of thirds. While setting up, try and imagine tic-tac-toe lines across your screen. For videos featuring only your shoulders and head, you want to stay within the center squares and set your eyes on the top horizontal line. This will allow ample headspace but also keep you centered during the video. Too much to the left or right and you’ll start to include aspects of your background which are unimportant for the video itself. Remember, you are the focus of the video.

For positioning, you may need to adjust the camera itself to get your eyes onto that top line. If you’re using your laptop camera, instead of pushing the screen backward so that the audience is looking up at you or your ceiling, put your laptop onto a box or a pile of books. Get the laptop screen even with you so you can still see what’s happening on the screen while maintaining a good position in the frame. If you have a webcam attached via USB, you will need to adjust where the camera sits or you can move the monitor forward or backward to frame yourself properly. You don’t want to be too close to the screen but you also don’t want to be too far away. We recommend staying at least an arm’s length away from the screen.

Lastly, be sure to check your surroundings and look at everything that is in the background of the frame. Anything distracting like dirty dishes left out, a television turned on, your grocery list written on a board, or anything you don’t want the audience to see must be removed from the frame. Go for as simple as possible. A clean, white wall will do the trick. But with your laptop you can move from room to room until you find that spot. If recording in your office, do your best to make things look less cluttered.

Another culprit of a low-quality video is not enough lighting or the light source coming from the wrong direction. Webcams are wonderful, but they lack the lens power to make a difference in low lighting. The main thing to improve lighting in a video, is making sure you have enough light covering your entire face. This is so students can see each expression. Some offices on campus where you record will have natural light coming in through windows and that is a great source for lighting your face but do everything you can to keep the window in front of you and not behind you while recording. A webcam will adjust to the brightest light source which will leave you in the shadows and your students will not see you well at all. Closing blinds or changing where you are sitting will improve the quality of your videos. If you are in a windowless room and only have lights from the ceiling, those lights can be helpful but there could be shadows across your face or under your eyes which is not flattering. If you can, put on either side of your computer up to two lamps. Each lamp will light your face well enough to get through a recording.

The Digital Media Services loan room also has lighting tools that could be used for your recording.

Recording Equipment and Software

If you have not made a recording, here is a list of basics for equipment and editing:

The options for recording your videos are plentiful. You could use the built-in camera on your laptop if it has one, or even use a webcam or DSLR by attaching the proper cords to your computer. If you do not own a camera or webcam, visit the DMS Browse Our Equipment page to see what we have available for you.

There is software available for editing your recordings at DMS lab locations on both campuses. As a faculty member, you have access to Premiere Pro in the Adobe Creative Cloud by going to this webpage and we have provided video presentations of specific editing techniques that can be done within Premier in a separate editing section on this page.

Video editing is also available within Panopto, Loyola’s lecture capture software and video repository. Instructional webpages on Panopto and utilizing it to edit your uploaded recordings can be found here and here.

Lighting will have a substantial effect on your video and how well your audience is able to perceive you and the content, coming from a range of sources from natural to artificial light. In the Recording Your Presentation section above, we have listed some best practices and suggestions for understanding the fundamentals of achieving good lighting and using it to focus on specific areas.

If you need lighting equipment, look to the DMS equipment loan program for many lighting options.

The audio quality of your recordings should be a top priority. It is an integral component that you should take care ensuring success the first time around, as recovery and improvement in post editing can be difficult. There are many audio equipment options and you may already have a preference, but please refer to the section above for recording at home for best practices and suggestions.

The DMS Browse Our Equipment Page will list the audio equipment available to you through the loan program. The item descriptions also include options for numerous recording situations and making a reservation based on availability

Editing

The video editing process may seem overwhelming when initially opening a linear editing program, but this section will provide techniques to complete editing quickly and efficiently. Put simply, linear editing is where you arrange all your multimedia materials into the order you want them to be viewed. At the same time, you are also reviewing your chosen content, so this is when to change your approach if needed. Remember, it is easier to remove footage then to try and fit footage back onto the timeline.

If you have never opened Adobe Premier, we have provided a link to short tutorials put together by Adobe to get you started. Media Production Services recommends this webpage for anyone ready to revisit for more experience as there are two knowledge tracks to follow.

The Basics: https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/tutorials.html

The webpages/links below will be specific techniques the Media Production Studio has put together for you to follow at your own pace. Each will refine your videos without needing much production knowledge.

Titles, Transitions, and Effects

Once you have your overall cut the way you want it, it’s time to add transitions, lower thirds, titles, and music to help navigate your audience through your scenes.

Exporting Your Video

When you are satisfied with the edits you have made, and there is nothing more to add visually or auditorily, it is now time to export the video using the proper codec. Codec is a portmanteau for "coder-decoder." It is an algorithm used to encode data, such as an audio or video clip. Because codecs are always improving, the list of options for exporting is long. Instead of trying to explain each codec, the following screencast will show you which settings to stick with for uploading your video to Panopto. These settings will be optimal for streaming video. The screencast will also show you a way to see how large the file size will end up, which is always beneficial for storage and uploading speeds.

Depending on how powerful your computer is and the length of your video, this may take some time so stretch your legs, have a celebratory snack or drink, and soon your work will be ready for uploading to your preferred streaming site. For information on how to upload your videos to Panopto and how to link to your videos in Sakai, peruse these webpages.