Video can really bring your subject alive

It also enables you to communicate with your students and support their learning at a time when they're unable to attend lectures and tutorials in person. Using nothing more than your smartphone or personal computer and uRewind, powered by Panopto, you can create, edit and share teaching videos that look and sound great. Read on to find out how!
What teaching videos can I create, and how can I ensure they’re effective and engaging?

Videos can be anything from short clips, in which you sit at your desk and present a key idea to learners, to complete lectures integrated with visual aids such as PowerPoint. You can also use video to demonstrate complex processes or capture a simulation or scenario. To learn more about different types of videos as well as best practices for designing them, check out this article from Panopto.

What teaching videos can I create, and how can I ensure they’re effective and engaging?
1. Disconnect

Before you start recording anything, put your phone in airplane mode. Don't let the sound of a new message or an incoming call interrupt your recording.

2. Keep it horizontal

Don't ruin your video by having two black vertical bars either side of the screen. To avoid this, be sure to use landscape and not portrait orientation while recording. This will not only make your video more attractive – it also allows you to capture more in the frame.

3. Use a tripod

Even if your phone has built-in optical image stabilisation and you have incredibly steady hands, the best way to keep your phone stable when filming and avoid shaky videos is to use a tripod. Failing that, when recording yourself, rest your phone on a secure object or use blu-tack to attach it to a wall. If you're recording something else, stabilise your video by keeping your phone close to your body or resting your elbows on a nearby object.

4. Don't use digital zoom

Digital zoom makes you or your subject appear closer, but it reduces the detail and quality of the video, making it more pixelated. For a close-up shot, move the phone closer!

5. Get the lighting right

For best results, film with plenty of light. If you're shooting indoors during the day, position yourself facing a window and use the sun. If you're recording at night, make sure your light source is directed towards you or your subject. Be sure to avoid backlighting, and don't rely on light from your phone.

6. Lock the focus and exposure

If you're shooting a video of yourself talking to the camera, use the exposure focus lock on your phone. This will stop the camera automatically adjusting and refocusing and keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot.

7. Check your microphone

Find out where your phone's microphones are located. They're usually on the bottom of the handset, where you speak, and next to the camera. Make sure nothing is blocking them. If you're making an audio-only recording, get the microphone as close to you or your subject as possible. If you're fortunate enough to have an external microphone, use it to enhance the quality of your audio.

8. Check your audio settings

If you're making an audio-only recording, you can improve the sound quality by changing the settings of the voice recorder app to lossless or the highest quality available. There are also free apps, such as Voice Record Pro (iOS) and Titanium Recorder (Android), which let you adjust the sample rate, bit rate, encode quality and gain control to minimise distortion.

9. Pay attention to your environment

Even if you're recording at home or in an office, do everything you can to minimise interfering sounds such as fans, air conditioning, computer notifications or people talking in the background.

10. Do a trial run

Before making your final recording, do a trial run to check your video and audio settings are correct. But don't worry - it doesn't have to be perfect, and you can edit the recording using uRewind.

How can I edit and share my videos using uRewind?

To make your videos available via Blackboard, you'll need to install the software on your phone or computer and provision your course. Follow the instructions on You can then start uploading your videos, either direct from your iPhone or Android phone, or via your computer. You can also record using your computer microphone and webcam and upload your videos to Blackboard. uRewind makes it easy to edit your video, add additional media or add extra resources like quizzes to engage students as they watch.


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