Video Tutorial Recording Tips
Recording tutorials can be really frustrating, so we've collected a bunch of tips which hopefully will help you out.
We highly recommend that you use Open Broadcast Software (OBS) to record your videos. It's a fantastic software which is completely free. We really discourage people from using Camtasia, as we've had all sorts of errors with it, such as a lot of corrupted files and slow render time, ultimately meaning we had to re-record a lot of videos.
There are two main advantages to OBS (apart from the price):
- It saves the data straight to the hard drive, so there's no render time.
- The exported files are really light and easy to work with.
We recommend using a minimum of 1920x1080 for resolution and 192 kbps for audio.
We use Premiere Pro to edit our videos, but any video editor will do. Usually, the editing required is extremely light; mostly you're only cutting away mistakes and adding titles. There are a bunch of free video editors available. DaVinci Resolve is also a great option, which is a free and very high end video editor.
Use a proper microphone; your videos will feel far more premium. We're using a Rode Podcasters. In the past, we've also used the Snowball too, which is pretty affordable. We enhance our audio using Adobe Audition, which can really help with noise reduction and cleanup.
- Use a pop filter to eliminate unwanted clicks and mouth sounds. This will really make a huge difference.
- 192 kbps as a minimum.
- Set the output audio to be -3 dB.
Optimize Your Video Files
We highly recommend that you optimise the file size of the video files. The files out of your editing software can be huge - and often times you can heavily compress them without losing quality. We've taken tutorial 4 hour series from 10gb down to 800mb, with no visible loss in quality.
Use HandBreak to compress your video files after they have been edited. HandBreak was forged by black magic and it'll reduce your video files dramatically without sacrificing quality. Here's a tutorial on using it. Whenever we make any products containing video files, we always take it through HandBreak, as it will really save you a lot of space. Read more about optimising your file size on our Help Page - Optimise your video files!
Optimising your files speeds up both the uploading process for you - and maybe more importantly, makes the customers lives a lot easier. Remember that you'll have customers from all over the world, a lot with pretty bad internet speed.
- Time-lapse should not exceed 300% speed up. This has a tendency to produce too fast and jerky movements.
- In general, try to not move the camera/canvas too much in 3D software. This is more pleasant for the viewer. I.e if you’re sculpting, try to sculpt as much as you can from one angle before rotating.
- If there’s a technical challenge in the video, this should be tested before recording.
- Name your recording files in a logical fashion, so you know which file fits the current stage of the tutorial. We do this right after every single video has been recorded. If you're doing a 30 part series, you really want to make sure the files are named correctly.
- Hide the taskbar while recording and make sure that only the correct windows are open.
Speaking and presenting
- You don’t always have to speak. During a time-lapse, the work will often speak for itself. Feel free put some music on should there be long time lapses without recorded audio.
- Go through the steps in the tutorial before you record. This really helps you sound more confident about the material, as you won’t run into surprises.
- Be mindful of how you speak. Think about how many times you say ‘uhm’ during a conversation. Try to replace 'uhm' with silence instead. Below is a fantastic TED talk on how to speak with confidence.
- Whenever you make a mistake which you want to cut away, its a good idea to say out loud what you will change in the edit. For instance, if the bridge tool acts up during recording say 'Cut away everything I just did on bridge tool, start at the previous section'. It might be weeks between recording and editing and it's impossible to remember specifically why you wanted to cut something out. A good routine is: Snap your fingers loudly, say why you need to edit something out, snap your fingers again.
- It's sometimes helpful to include your mistakes. If you made a mistake, it's often a common error and it's very educational to show people how to fix them. That said, cut away any major errors, as nobody wants to see you fiddle around for 2 minutes trying to find a line of code.
- Sometimes you make mistakes during a recording which you want to edit out. Make a loud clapping/snapping sound at the time of the error and when you're starting the recording again. This will produce a clear visual break in your audio, making it easier to find when editing. Example of this below.
- Don't experiment during the video. Chances are that you'll mess something up and it requiers more editing and it makes the video more confusing. Always do the experimentation before recording.
- Have your notes on a separate monitor, ipad, laptop or your phone during recording. Make sure they are easy to access and that they dont disrupt the flow of recording.
- Close windows and try to find a room without too much echo.
- Drink water before recording and keep a bottle nearby - it helps your voice.
- Keep background noise to a minimum. Sometimes turning off the lights helps, as they might produce a high pitched buzzing noise.
- Don’t record during Guy Fawkes Night or other fireworks heavy events... (we speak from experience)
- Be mindful of keyboard sounds, mouse clicks and tapping with a Wacom tablet.
- Keep in mind where you place your microphone so that you dont accidentlly hit it during recording.
- Put a towel under your microphone to reduce noise - or better yet, have the microphone hang down.
- Test audio recording in different rooms. There can be a dramatic difference in the amount of echo. Maybe put up some towels to reduce echo where you record.
- Put your computer and phone in airplane mode. This is to avoid accidental notifications during recording.
- Keep your desk clean when recording, as things falling over have a tendency to produce loud sounds.
- If possible, put your computer fans to a silent profile.