I also felt a strong need to improve my video-production system. Last year I recorded several clips during the early morning (unshaven, ugh) to take advantage of the quiet, or in a classroom at school (echo! echo! echo!), and even screen-casting in my car (good acoustics, but sketchy wifi and sometimes it got cold). I refuse to invest hundreds of dollars in recording equipment, because I want to show that teachers DO NOT need lots of extra stuff to be successful flippers. And I would rather spend my spare cash on golf clubs or fixing my car.... The simplest videos are made with webcams in the teacher's house, but the background items distract me (Ew, weird curtains! He should dust that ceiling!), and their voices usually sound muffled. Besides, proper lighting was always a problem in my at-home recording sessions. I often looked like a ghoul or a ghost.
After some tinkering and testing, I finally achieved a decent solution in the basement:
The camera I use now is a Kodak Zi8 (like a Flipcam) which I borrowed from my school's video journalism program. I'm the program adviser, so that helps. The microphone is surprisingly good, and its WVGA mode is just fine for my recordings. Nobody needs to see my face in 60-fps HD! I think any point-and-shoot camera would work fine as well. I tested the webcam feature on my Macbook, but the video quality was too low and it garbled the greenscreen background.
Why did I bother filming on a greenscreen?
- It avoids the issue of distracting background items.
- I can replace it with plain colors OR an appropriate illustration.
- With plain colors I can color-code segments of a longer video, which makes them easier to scan.
- If I revise a lesson months or years later, then I can just record a new clip at the greenscreen and splice it into the video.
Here is my first finished product: "Major Issues of the 1600s-1700s"
How much did this video cost me? $20 and about 2 hours
- location: free (my house)
- camera: free (borrowed)
- recording accessories: $20 ($3 for Kermit Skin, $15+tax for the tripod)
- video-editing software: free (iMovie is already on this school-provided laptop)
- scripting/planning: 20 minutes
- filming: about 10 minutes (just one take!!)
- editing: 60-75 minutes on a really slow Macbook -- I do have lots of iMovie editing experience
- uploading/publishing on Vimeo and Youtube channels: 15 minutes