E-Learning Video Workshop

We are hosting a video workshop!

Is this for you?

You’re probably starting to get organized for the beginning of the school year. Maybe you have been thinking about incorporating new resources or displaying older content in a different way. Maybe you have students who are in a different province or country that you are trying to reach out to and build a better connection with. Video could be something that creates these connections or brings new life to static content.

We don’t expect you to have amazing equipment or grand ideas. This kind of thing starts small and that’s where we come in. During this brief 2 hour workshop we will talk about the basics of planning, shooting, editing, uploading and sharing video.

This is a very simple overview of an area that may interest you and that could light the fire. We want to encourage creativity and curiosity in this workshop and everyone will go home knowing a little more about video production!

If you would like to join us register here.

If you have any questions about this workshop contact Kristy McKinney at kmckinney@upei.ca or elearning@upei.ca.

Video Lighting Tips


This week we have another installation for our video production blog posts. So far we have covered video basics and a more in depth look at audio. Now let’s think about visuals, specifically lighting which you probably already noticed from the title. This is one of those things that isn’t the be-all and end-all of a video but if you put a little thought into your lighting it can definitely increase the quality. Let’s not make this too complicated and stick to some easier concepts to give you a beginners guide to lighting.

Unless you have lighting equipment available to you, natural light will be your best friend. Become aware of the lighting throughout the day if your recording room has a window. If you are relying solely on natural light this may predict what time of day is best for you to record.

This brings us into the different types of light that works best for video. Other than the fact that you might get incredibly warm there are many reasons why it is important not to use direct lighting. I’m not sure if I have to explain some of these reasons such as not being able to see and causing some funny faces. Direct lighting can cause very harsh shadows on a subject and is in general unflattering to most.

Now that we have determined that you should avoid direct lighting as much as possible I’m going to introduce diffused lighting. This is exactly what you want to aim for. Diffused light can be achieved by creating a barrier between the subject and the direct light source. This barrier should still allow light to come through but it will take away those harsh shadows. The easiest diffused lighting comes from an overcast day. We aren’t always that lucky so it can be created by moving into a shaded area or hanging a white sheet in front of a sunny window.

The principles of direct and diffused light are the same when it comes to artificial lighting as well. This is why you may have seen soft boxes or umbrellas used by photographers. Direct vs. diffused light is important but not the only things you have to think about when lighting your video. The direction of these lights can make a huge difference. It is recommended that the key light, which is the brightest light source, should be facing the front of the subject. If the key light is facing the back of the subject the camera might have problems with exposure and lens flare. The video could look too dark or hazy due to the direction of the light source and the angle of a camera lens.

In the end it is always best to try different lighting styles and see what works for you. Video production is a process and this is just another thing to think about!

Here is a short video to give you examples of direct, diffused and backlighting which we covered in today’s post.

If you have any questions about making an audio or video project send us an email at elearning@upei.ca!


How to Create Good Audio


Like design, good audio generally goes unnoticed. It’s when you are presented with bad audio that the complaints begin. Let’s skip all the reasons why audio can be so unappealing and move right into making your audio listenable and even enjoyable for your students!

What is your plan? Are you thinking of recording a lot of content? Is this a one time thing? This is where research comes into play. Get a general idea of your project and then think about your budget or lack of. Maybe you have a great mic on your camera/computer/phone so you are looking into software and apps. Maybe you are looking to buy, borrow or rent a microphone to boost the quality of your content. Spend a few days doing some research, there are so many resources online to help you decide on the right equipment and software for your purpose.

Now that you have acquired the right tools you’ll want to learn how to use them. Play with your microphone, find a few tutorials and have fun. This is when you can test the limits of volume and pitch and learn to make friends with your audio set up. Don’t be afraid to try different microphone locations and settings to get the right sound.

The next step is to find the right space. We recommend finding somewhere quiet, this can be difficult but will pay off to find the right room to record in. Think about background noise as well as the size of the room. A larger room may create an echo but a room with a humming fan might be just as distracting. In this situation it will be worth it to do tests in more than one location. Compare your recordings and see what sounds the best. 

You’re nearly ready to start making great audio! The final step to your process is to relax, let yourself make mistakes and keep going. Recording and listening to yourself can be uncomfortable at first but it will get easier over time. You’ll find a system that works for you and it might take time but that is your end goal to create something you are proud to share. 

Lastly I would like to add that audio should be considered additional. To stay inclusive it is important to provide transcripts or captions of your videos and podcasts for students that are not able to or do not prefer to listen to audio.


If you have any questions about making an audio or video project send us an email at elearning@upei.ca

Video Basics

Last week we looked into the world of UDL (universal design for learning) with Megan MacKenzie, one of our Instructional Designers. Taking steps to making your course a more inclusive space for different types of learners can be daunting. Putting your content online is a step towards building this ideal learning space. A good place to begin when starting to put content online is video. One of the most appealing reasons is that it can be modified to be useful for many different types of learners.

photo-1424223022789-26fd8f34bba2-3Here are a few tips for turning your content into a video resource:

Prepare a Script

This is a good idea for anyone who may not be comfortable in front of a camera. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to the script exactly, think of it as a guide. Having a script written in advance is great if you plan on providing a text version of your video.

Don’t Forget About Audio

Another great thing about video is the ability to create an audio-only version of this content. Whether you plan on turning this into a podcast or not it is important to think about your audio quality. Try to choose a location for recording that is quiet. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings. Do you hear a printer, people talking or other distracting noises? Chances are if you hear noise so does your microphone. If you listen to your video and you still aren’t happy with how it sounds it might be your microphone. In this case it might be beneficial to look into using an external mic.

Use a Camera That Works For You

The easiest way to get started is to use a camera you already have. This could be your phone, webcam or a point and shoot that you are familiar with. It can be discouraging learning how to use new equipment and can take away from getting to your end result. If you would like to create better quality video there are many resources online to help you find the right camera for your needs.

Look at Your Lighting

Using a location that has lots of natural lighting is ideal but not always practical. If you find the video a little dark try to bring in an extra lamp. If you have a window in the room try to record during the day. A quick tip for lighting is to make sure your light sources are not coming from behind your subject. This can be confusing for a typical camera to understand and can make the person in the frame much harder to see.

Test Your Setup

This is the final tip and an essential one. It is always a good idea to test your setup in advance. Check the quality of your audio and video before hand. This will save you so much time and frustration when it comes down to the time you have set aside to make your video.

If you want to incorporate more UDL you should always provide captions and transcripts for your videos.

There is a lot that goes into making a good quality video and this is just the beginning. Use some of these tips to get you in the mindset for creating your video content. 

If you have any questions about simple video production please contact elearning@upei.ca