Making great webcam training videos

Webcam videos can be some of the most engaging online videos. You can keep your learners' attention with simple, easy-to-produce videos done right from your desk.

Webcam videos are engaging because they're personal and informal. They are more authentic than high-production videos and your learners will feel like they're in a room with you.

If you doubt the effectiveness of a personal webcam video, just take a look at the phenomenon of vlogging to see how many people love this format.

Lighting and Sound

Your webcam videos don't need a ton of prep, but there are two simple things you can do to make sure they look and sound good.

  1. Use good front lighting. That means the primary light source should be in front of you, not behind you. My favorite way to do that is to position yourself with a window behind your computer. Natural sunlight is the best lighting for video. You can also use inexpensive lighting kits or a simple ring light that clips to your screen.
  2. Use a microphone. Your learners need to hear and understand what you're saying in order to learn. Built-in microphones on laptops are horrible, so use a separate microphone when recording webcam video. A pair of earbuds with a built-in mic is good, but having a separate USB mic is even better.

Preparing Yourself

The technical aspect of recording great webcam videos for online training is easy. Your might find that preparing yourself to present your training material is harder.

When getting ready for a new training video, here are a few tips.

  1. Make yourself look nice. Brush your hair, check your teeth, wash your face, unwrinkle your clothes, and maybe check your makeup, ladies. Sitting in front of a camera is like sitting 3-4 feet from someone, face-to-face.
  2. Have your notes handy. Most people won't want to write a script and read from it for training, but having notes handy so you know what to cover will help you avoid awkward pauses, stumbling, and unnecessary repetition.
  3. Clean up your desk. A cluttered desk can be a source of distraction for you even if your learners can't see it on video. A clean workspace means your mind can focus on the training at hand.
  4. Grease your chair. There's nothing more annoying that watching a video of someone moving around in a squeaky chair. Most people move while they talk, so reduce distractions before they start by taking some WD-40 to your chair.

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