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Digital education

Getting to grips with video production

8 August 2014

by Dewi Parry

Off the back of our conference visits this summer, it was clear that the use of video and the flipped classroom model have become important areas of consideration for staff looking to adapt their teaching, or looking for different ways of engaging their students.

Thinking about video

I have been thinking of ways to ground this blog for a while – and recently came across a site created by Joe Nicholls where Joe has mapped out countless tools on the back of work and learning tasks and practices. One of the maps covers Video production for beginners, and offers advice, tips and considerations for all video issues from planning and composition, all the way through to editing and storing. Before you start:

  • Think about what you want to do first, what exactly is the learning task?
  • What message you are trying to get across, what are the learning outcomes?

Using video in a university context

From this site, I came across a video by Research Associate and filmmaker Paul Allen from the School of Psychology. Paul’s video, titled “Using video in a University context” is a great staring point for staff who are considering running with video, and implementing it into their teaching. (The video will start with Paul’s full story including using video for research. Paul starts talking about video in teaching from 5.50min).

As Paul points out, the use of video in teaching is very likely to increase across higher education, as a way of enhancing the learning experience, by bringing in content examples and expertise from beyond the classroom, giving teaching staff more time to answer questions and to encourage discussion after the video has been shown.

As Paul also points out, you have to invest time into the video – making the video as engaging as possible, and tailored to the audience.  The subject matter is key, and visual potential needs to be considered before anything else – would a video convey what you are trying to say?

Technical considerations

Finally, Paul goes through the technical considerations – such as composition, sound, lighting and length. I think once you have edited a video or two, these considerations become more obvious and important with every shoot (but does not mean that you can disregard these on your first shoot!). This is where I’m going to start bringing in Joe’s map again. There are very informative links on the map that lead to helpful introduction videos:

  • Video production tips – The Basics” by Sheffield University – how to create video including tips on best practice (made using TEDEd – another good way of creating electronic resources – and perfect for beginners).
  • Mobile Video Tips and Techniques” by the Vimeo Video School – advice around camera orientation, shot composition, applying lens filters etc.

You’ll also find links to the whole “video process” including: planning, composition, technique, kit, editing, storing an uploading.

Video hosting

Depending on your hosting requirements, there are also plenty of options around hosting. Cardiff University has its own free streaming video service, Cardiff Player which is already up and running.  By default, each School or Division has two content areas to load media: a public area (which is open to all) and a members-only area (which requires you to enter a Cardiff University username and password to view). There are also other free hosting options such as Youtube (which Paul uses) and Vimeo (where I’ve done a lot of work in the past) and these are well indexed on search engines.

Flipped classroom example

I’ve been looking around for examples of the flipped classroom model here at Cardiff, and I’ve found an excellent example by Vincent Knight of MATHS. Vince gave a talk entitled: “Embedding entrepreneurial learning through the teaching of programming in a flipped classroom” (Soundcloud 19.01min) to our Academic Support Conference this year: Enabling Student Success 2014. This slides are available online too.

“Should the modern mathematician know how to code? This is a question that has been answered positively by the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University. This talk will describe the pedagogic approaches used to deliver a first year programming class to 160+ first year students.”

And finally…

We have plans to put a blog post together about the different uses for lecture capture soon, so that will be a separate post incorporating for example, screen casting, the different options available, and how a camera can be used as part of the flipped classroom model.

If you are interested, Joe has created maps around several tasks including finding content, communicating, managing content, manipulating content, sharing content and producing content.

Writing this post, Dewi’s been listening to: Hudson Mohawke – FUSE (2009).