The past year and a half has brought tremendous changes to all levels of education, and teachers, professors, and students are still struggling to keep up. One of the biggest changes facing educators is the greater need for video content, as lessons and lectures need to be available to students who aren’t in a physical classroom.

Lecture videos don’t require any particular professional expertise, but a truly effective and accessible lecture recording requires more than simply setting up a camera and sending your students a raw video. I’ll go over how you can make an effective, professional lecture video without needing to download any video editing programs:

  1. Record straight to your computer
  2. Always add subtitles
  3. Add titles and visual aids
  4. Cut out or speed through dead space

1. Record Straight to Your Computer

When creating lecture recordings, most people’s first instinct is to use an external camera or phone. But if you’re recording and sending lectures on a regular basis, it’s best to simplify the process and only use a single device for recording and storing them.

A graphic showing an ideal setup for hybrid learning recordings.
This graphic from Palm Beach County Schools shows an ideal recording setup for hybrid learning. 

For quality purposes, however, you’ll probably want to record using a webcam. In 2021, a webcam with sufficient quality shouldn’t break the bank, and it’s likely that your institution’s library has a webcam they can lend you for your lecture recordings.

2. Always Add Subtitles

Subtitles are a basic necessity for accessible videos in 2021, and they’re easier than ever to add to the videos you create. They allow students with hearing and attention difficulties to follow along better with your lesson, make it easier for anyone to pause the lecture to take better notes, and give students flexibility to watch your lecture without needing sound.

A screenshot of subtitles being added to a lecture recording in the Kapwing Studio.

There are a few programs you can use to captions your lectures effectively, but I recommend Kapwing, an online video editor that has a free auto-subtitle tool, with options to customize your captions’ font, color, style, size, position, background, timing, and layout.

3. Add Titles and Visual Aids

Recording your lectures allows you to add helpful details that aren’t available in the classroom. To help students return to important parts of the lecture and structure their notes, add title text to every section of the lesson.

A screenshot of arrows and title text being added to a lecture recording in the Kapwing Studio.

Additionally, visual aids like arrows, numbered lists, or circles for emphasis can help direct students’ attention toward the most important parts of your lecture, helping them follow along on the small screen. I recommend using the Kapwing Studio to add custom text and visual aids to your lecture videos, since it gives you full customization options in the same place you make the rest of your edits.

4. Cut Out or Speed Through Dead Space

Lecture recordings work a bit differently from your in-class lectures. On the one hand, you can’t pace your lesson responsively without students in the classroom, and it can be difficult to know if you’re covering material too quickly or too slowly. On the other hand, students have the ability to pause the lecture and replay parts that they may have missed at first.

A screenshot of a section of a lecture being sped up in the Kapwing Studio.

What this means is that you should make your lectures as efficient as possible. Smaller video files will be much easier for you and your students to work with, and leaving as little dead space in your video helps students retain focus and go through your picture at a pace that works for them. In whatever video editing app you’re using to create your lecture videos, use the Split and Trim tools to get rid of long pauses, and use speed adjustment tools to make long sections of chalkboard writing or setup a bit shorter.

I hope this article helps you catch up with 2021’s remote teaching techniques and give your students professional lecture recordings, no matter what the academic year brings. If you’re interested in more tips and tutorials on creating great video content in 2021, check out the Kapwing YouTube channel or read through some related articles on educational video materials:

5 Free Zoom Virtual Backgrounds for Teachers
How to Make Professional Explainer Videos Online
5 Free Zoom Virtual Backgrounds for Students
How to Make a Bitmoji Locker for Remote Learning