Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BTS How I make video tutorials

I have dreams for this blog. I made plans to achieve those dreams. Then life smacked me across the face and said, "Not now you fool!" in a strange accent. And I went back to being a voyeur instead of a contributor to the blogosphere.
I had planned to blog at minimum 3 times a week but was shooting daily with Sunday's off. If you  look at the dates in the archive on the lower right hand side of this page you will see how well that's been working out for me. Work and motherhood and Cub Scouts and teaching Sunday School and grief (we buried my father this past weekend) are taking their toll on my brain, energy, and craft/blog time management.
I wanted to have a weekly tutorial on Tuesdays. Showing people how to use their Silhouette Studio software. I have oodles of ideas but a video tutorial takes a lot of time to produce for me. I am not comfortable with a seat of the pants lesson when a camera is rolling. I can do one on one teaching without prep but not a video.
So instead of having a tutorial for you. I decided to show you my process for putting together a video tutorial.

Step 1 - Come up with an idea for the tutorial.

This may seem like a duh but it really is an important step. If I decide to do a tutorial that involves using the drawing tools in the Silhouette software (coming soon) the viewer will need some background knowledge like how vector graphics work. So instead of producing a drawing tools video I first need to make a video about the difference between raster and vector graphics.  I also need to figure out a good way to show the information visually and quickly. I may have to set up a few documents to make the video go more smoothly. Unless it is pertinent I don't want you to waste your time watching me make make a document with a bunch of boxes with type under them like the one I used in the tutorial Using Digi Papers with the Silhouette.
I think about a specific reader when I am putting together tutorials. For the last video it was a friend who asked specifically for clarification on the whole raster vs. vector issue. Most times it is Anne Krause, a lovely woman I met at a crop, who had a lot of questions about how to use the Silhouette she had just purchased. She took down my blog address and said she would follow me to get tutorials. Thanks for following me Anne and making me feel like I can be helpful, oh and happy belated birthday too.

Step 2 - Take one, talk it out.

Most of my tutorials are screen captures of the Silhouette Studio software. I use Camtasia for Mac and record what is on screen as I talk through it.  This first run through is incredibly rough as I am just talking off the top of my head about the subject.
After I record it I generally take a break. I may go get a glass of water or go to the bathroom or do some small task away from the computer or I may not return to it until the next day. Even a short 5-10 minute break is really important, I have dug right back in without it and I became weary with subject overload.

Step 3 - Script writing.

I play the video back and listen to how I sound and where the information seems weak. I scribble an outline of bullet points as I am listening, pausing frequently to add notes of information that I feel is missing. I am getting over the cringing when I hear my voice, I credit that mostly to Mel McCarthy who complimented me on my voice, that meant so much to me as no one had ever done that before.
Using my outline I begin typing up the script. I will play the video and type along with it trying to get it as close to the original casual conversation as possible. I pause the video frequently to add information.
If I don't script it out the next time I record I forget stuff, I ramble on and go over my target time. I'm always shooting for less than 10 minutes. Before I purchased Camtasia I was using the free screen capture program Jing and there was a five minute limit so keeping my video on point was really important. 

Step 4 - Final shoot

I always have a glass of water and a tube of Vaseline or Chap-stick on the desk so I hydrate then moisten my lips before I begin. Makes a world of difference because I need multiple takes of the first sentence, it's a killer. Once I have that down I generally can get through the whole video with only one take. 
If I am recording on the computer the script lays on the desk in front of me.
If I am working at my drafting table I tape the script to the ink holder and rubber band my iPhone to my regular camera that is on a flexible arm clamped to my bookcase.  I tried recording with my regular camera, the picture was great but the audio was horrendous.

Step 5 - Editing

Editing is so much fun. I love mixing elements, adding music and sound effects, text and other effects. I try not to get too crazy, I don't want the point of the tutorial to get lost in the effects. Everything I add must help you understand the subject better.
I like the intros on videos produced by Kristina Werner, Tim Holtz, Hero Arts and Lawn Fawn so I decided to make one for Katemade Design tutorials. To edit the intro clip, rename it, and then add the new video to it. If there are slow spots with action but no talking I will speed up the film. I can do close ups with editing which works well as it's hard to make those adjustments while filming on your own.

Step 6 - Secondary Review (Optional)

On occasion, if the subject is a bit too familiar I will ask someone to review my tutorial, video or otherwise,  before it is posted. I've asked an English teacher friend who is good at telling me where I am missing information for people unfamiliar with the subject.
Allison Rankin-Fillo, is another person who has checked my tutorials, her blog is one of the first I read regularly oh those many years ago. It is not her craftiness, however,  that compelled me to ask for her help but the fact that she is a technical writer.

Step 7 - Upload and Promote

If all checks out I upload the video to YouTube and post it on the blog. Then I let the world know via social media that it is available and wait for feedback or fallout.
Thanks for visiting and
Happy Crafting,

1 comment:

Lynn Stevens said...

Hi Katie,
I can so relate. Life does get in the way of getting things accomplished that we really want to do.
First off I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I'm going to book mark your ideas so when and if I ever get a video camera. on my want list, I'll know just how to go about it.
Thanks for sharing and Thank you for your sweet comments on being a new Grandma.
hugs Lynn