Video Lecture

Recording and Delivery of Lectures

Lesson Outcomes:

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  1. Determine what tools and processes are needed to capture and distribute various kinds of video lectures
  2. Record and post a simple video lecture
  3. Be able to assist your colleagues in the production and distribution of their video lectures


The academic lecture has a long and noble history. And it remains one of the primary ways in which knowledge is transmitted to students in institutions of higher education. But the historic necessity of compelling a group of students to gather together at a particular time in a particular place to hear that lecture is no longer the case. Easy to use recording tools and readily accessible online distribution channels makes the delivery of lectures a much more flexible learning opportunity. For the most part, a lecture is a one-way communication. The lecturer talks and the students listen. Sometimes students can ask questions, but there are also ways to do that in a pre-recorded online environment.

One of the major advantages to using technology to record and deliver lectures is that is frees up that valuable face-to-face classroom time for more engaging and interactive activities. This is the idea behind the ‘flipped classroom’ model.

Students also appreciate being able to access the pre-recorded lecture content at their own time and at their own pace. The ability to pause and replay gives them the opportunity to stop and reflect and make accurate notes instead of just racing to keep up in a live in-class situation.

Before you set out to record your lecture, the first question to ask yourself is what the students need to see and hear. In fact, do they need to see anything? Can you just do an audio recording (which is much simpler)? Or do they need to see your face? Or do they need to see something you’re demonstrating on the lab bench? Or do you write on the whiteboard while you talk? Or do they just need to see your computer screen, and not your face? I guess that’s actually a lot of questions. And how long should it be? The general rule is ‘as short as possible, but as long as necessary’. In terms of attention span, and if you watch news magazine television shows, you discover that about 8 minutes is the maximum length for a single topic. So try to break up longer lectures into 8 minute (or shorter) chunks and deliver them that way.

Here are some production techniques for various kinds of lecture content.


The audio-only lecture:
  • Digital audio recorders can be set to record in .mp3 format for very small, very efficient files. The built-in microphones work fine to a distance of about 2 feet. Closer is better.
  • Or you can clip a lavaliere mic on your shirt and put the recorder in a pocket.
  • You can also use a USB mic into your computer and record in software like Audacity, then save as mp3.
  • Either remove the SD card from the recorder, put it in a card reader and copy it to your computer, or connect the recorder to the computer using a USB cable and copy the file to your computer.
  • If you need to edit, use Audacity (free download from to external site
  • Free hosting sites: Digital Audio Recorder Buyers Guide:
The talking head video lecture (webcam version)
  • Connect a USB webcam to your computer (I recommend the Logitech C910/920/930 models – they have excellent built-in mics).
  • Launch some kind of video recording software (iMovie, or Windows Movie Maker work fine).
  • In Movie Maker, in the home tab, click Webcam video.
  • moviemaker screenshot 01
  • Set the audio and video to the Logitech Webcam.
  • moviemaker screenshot 02
  • Set up your shot according to the principles of composition you learned in the video basics section and press Record.
  • moviemaker screenshot 03
  • When you’re done press Stop and the video will show up in the Movie Maker window. Edit as necessary then pull down to Save movie and scroll down to Website settings and select YouTube.
  • moviemaker screenshot 04
  • Save your movie to your computer, then upload it to your YouTube account as an unlisted video and put a link to it into your Moodle course section.
The talking head video lecture (video camera version)
  • Put a video camera on a tripod and set up your shot according to the principles of composition (and sound).
  • Press record on the video camera and deliver your lecture.
  • Load the video into your video editing software (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker work fine). How you get the footage onto the computer depends on what format you shot in (tape or SD card or camera internal memory).
  • Here’s how it works for a camera that shoots AVCHD on an SD card loading into Windows Movie Maker:
  • Take the SD card out of the camera and put it into a card reader connected (or built-in) to the computer.
  • Launch Movie Maker. Pull down to Import from device.
  • moviemaker screenshot 05
  • Select the SD card and click Import. Find your file and Import.
  • The file will go into the Photo Gallery. Drag it into Movie Maker.moviemaker screenshot 06
  • Edit as necessary then pull down to Save movie and scroll down to Website settings and select YouTube.
  • Save your movie to your computer, then upload it to your YouTube account as an unlisted video and put a link to it into your Moodle course section.
The screencast lecture
  • One of the simplest tools for recording your computer screen and your voice is called Screencast-o-matic. I find that the downloaded version works better than the online version. to external site. Launch the software. There is a free version and a pro version. The free version has a 15-minute recording limit, doesn’t record system audio and has a watermark, but it’s usually sufficient.
  • When you launch Screencast-o-matic you get a dashed line window you can resize to capture whatever portion of the screen you want. I prefer not to record the entire screen because you lose the menu at the bottom.
  • Here’s a simple way to record a PowerPoint presentation using Screencast-o-matic.
  • Launch the PowerPoint presentation.
  • Launch Screencast-o-matic.
  • Position the capture window over the slide. (*note: we are not going to play the slide show full screen, we’re just going to click through the slides in the normal view)
  • screencast01
  • Put on a USB headset (which give you much better sound than the built-in mic on your laptop) and select it as your microphone using the triangle beside the mic icon in the menu just below the capture window.
  • screencast02
  • If you want a webcam you can select it at the right side of this menu bar.
  • Click the red record button. You get a 3-2-1 countdown. Start talking and down-arrow to your next slide.
  • Click Done in the menu bar to end your recording.
  • You can publish directly to YouTube or Publish to a Video File on your computer. I generally choose the Video File then manually publish to YouTube.
  • screencast03
  • When you Publish to Video File you can resize to make a smaller file and choose whether to show the cursor. You can also put in text notes at particular times.
  • screencast04
The presenter and screen lecture
  • I find this works best with the computer presentation on an LCD TV rather than a projection screen in a classroom.
  • Set up your camera at a suitable distance so you can frame up the LCD TV and a person standing beside it.
  • guy with tv
  • You will need an external mic close to the person speaking for good sound.
  • Record, load the footage into your video editing software, edit, export and upload.
The demonstration lecture
  • If this is a simple single shot demo, you might be able to use a webcam connected to a computer and record directly in Movie Maker. A USB extension cable can give your more freedom of camera position.
  • But often this works better with a video camera that can be re-positioned for each shot. If you have the time and editing patience you can even record with two cameras – one for the wide shot in which we see the demonstrator, and one for the close-up in which we see the thing being demonstrated.
  • Lay down the wide shot (with excellent audio) in your editing software, then cut in the video-only close-up shots. This usually requires more sophisticated editing software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro.
How to deliver the recorded lecture to your students.
  • My favourite tool is YouTube. Sign up for a YouTube account (which is basically a Google account).
  • Upload your video. (currently the upload button is at the top right).
  • By default YouTube videos are public but you can pull down to make it Unlisted.
  • youtube screencap 01
  • Once it’s finished uploading and processing you can copy the URL link and put it into your Moodle course as a URL.
  • youtube screencap 03
  • For audio-only lectures you can use an audio hosting service like podbean or soundcloud or you can make a movie using your audio and a still picture and post that to YouTube.


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