You can really go overboard with video production.  Preparing for production will make the rest of the process easier.  We can make very good lessons by giving ourselves a few self-imposed limits.

Things to Consider when Preparing for Production

Stick to a Single Topic

As a teacher, you can probably go on for at least 50 minutes on a subject. However, it is best for your students to stick to a single topic. You can mention how this topic fits in with other related topics, but only use one per video.

If you try to cover everything in one video lesson, you will overwhelm your students.  You should plan to make several videos per chapter, and focus on one topic for each video lesson.  You can refer to other topics and mention how they fit together.  However, you should focus on one topic per video lesson.

Limit Yourself to 8 – 10 Minutes

Keep it short for students.

Students (and people in general) start to get bored and fidgety after about 20 minutes of sitting still. Hopefully you break your classes into short sections, with some type of activity in between each topic. You should do the same with your videos.

My recommendation is to keep your video lesson in the range of 8-10 minutes long. Keeping your video lesson short helps in two ways.

The first is that it helps your students stay on task. They can watch a video and apply the concepts in a short amount of time. If you have a few related videos, they can watch a few of them to fill up a study session. If you make your videos fifty minutes or longer, students will need to set aside a large amount of time to view them. Keeping the videos short allows students to study in bite-sized chunks.

Keep it short for you.

The second reason for keeping your video lessons short is to help you. If you make an hour-long video, you need to have a full hour’s worth of material ready to go. You’ll have to talk for most of an hour. It will take a long time to convert your lesson to video, and then it will take a long time to edit it. Long videos are more likely to have errors that you will need to fix.

By keeping the video at 8-10 minutes long, you will most likely be able to record it in one take. This reduces editing time. It usually takes about an hour or two to record a lesson, review it, post it to YouTube, and fix the closed captioning. This is something that you can do in a single sitting. A long video might take several hours to process. Keep it short and put out a few videos a month.

Plan for Public Consumption

Cite Everything

Even if you make your videos private on YouTube, you should follow normal citation practices. Make sure that you cite your sources.

Use Creative Commons

Use images and audio that have been given Creative Commons licenses. The authors of these items have given permission for others to use them with few if any limitations. If you use an image from your textbook, you can get into trouble with copyright issues.

In your classroom, you have fairly strong protections based on fair use. On the internet, you can run into legal problems if you use someone else’s intellectual materials without permission.

Preparing for production can help speed up the process and help you avoid problems down the road.