6 Tools to Easily Create Videos for Your Online Course
Are you ready to create videos for your online course?
While incredibly exciting, figuring out the tech part of creating your first online course can also be a bit intimidating. So before you dive in, let’s explore a few of my favorite must-have tools for making the video creation process easier and less overwhelming.
A big part of your content creation involves creating videos that help your audience to quickly grasp what you are teaching.
To get you started on your path to course creation success, let’s start with the best tools for creating video for your course. I wish someone would have pointed me to these tools when when I first started out; they would have saved me countless hours of trial and error…and a few dollars on tools I did not need.
Bonus: Grab your free list of our most recommended tech tools to create, market, and launch your online course so you can get started today!
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Let’s get started:
Are You Camera Shy or Camera Ready?
I often get asked, “Do I have to include “face” video in my course? Or, can I just create easy screenshare videos?” If the thought of being in front of the camera sounds overwhelming to you, you can easily design great videos for your course by sharing slides with voice-over narration (think PowerPoint presentation in sync with your recorded voice). This option involves less tech set-up and can be a great choice for first-time course creators. (90% of the online courses being created in our Create 6-Figure Courses community are designed using this approach). If you want your audience to see you, you can use some basic video equipment to create your own great-looking videos. Let’s check out some great tools to help you nail either option.
6 Tools to Easily Create Videos for Your Online Course
Tool #1: Slideshow
For Macs, my favorite tools to create videos for your online course using screenshare is Keynote. If I’m working on a PC, I stick with Google Slides. Both of these options are free to use and give you that professional feel. As a last resort, you can always use PowerPoint. Keynote Image Credit Once you’ve finished creating your slideshow, you’ll need to record yourself going through each slide . These next two tools will help you do just that.
Tool #2: Images
Great images can elevate your videos from looking plain to professional and compelling. Gone are the days of typical stock photos of “corporate” looking men and women at meetings; there has been a recent revitalization of stock photography to include more real subjects and topics. Here are two of my favorite sources for creating video for your online course using stock photography:
Death to Stock Photo
Death to the Stock Photo was created by two photographers who noticed it was hard for bloggers, business owners, and other creatives to find photos that matched their brand. They started by sending packs of their own photos via email to subscribers, and the service has now grown to provide both free and paid, premium offerings.
Unsplash is a repository of photos submitted by photographers all over the world. Curated into collections and tagged by subject, you’ll find unique photos you can modify and use for anything you’d like.
Tool #3: Voice Recording
For Macs, use ScreenFlow; PC users should try CamStudio. CamStudio even has a neat feature that helps if you don’t like the sound of your own voice (allergies acting up?)
Tool #4: Video Platform
Now, once you’ve recorded your video presentation, you’ll need to upload your lessons onto a video platform such as Vimeo or YouTube. These two platforms offer the option of keeping your videos private so only those who have the access link can view them.
Speaking of links, Vimeo and YouTube will also create unique URLs for each video that you post. You can also choose a course hosting platform that hosts the videos for you (more to come in future posts about this).
Tool #5: Video Equipment
HD Quality Camera
If you are “camera ready”, you’ll want to record your video with a decent camera. These tools will help you make the leap to your own version of a TV studio. If you have a limited budget, you can use your phone to record videos as long as it has the HD video feature—iPhone 5 or 6 and Samsung Galaxy 7 are great for this. You can add a tripod and lavalier microphone to your iPhone for even better quality recording. This also allows you to adjust height of the camera and avoid constantly propping the camera up or having that “selfie” look with your arm in the air. It’s important to note that great lighting is important. Great natural lighting will do the trick – if in doubt, find a spot outside you can film (cars can work well, too). If you want to upgrade, I definitely recommend investing in a quality HD video recorder such as the Canon EOS Rebel T5i which is right around $599.
Video Editing Software
If you really want to become a pro, you can upload your recordings and edit them using video editing software such as WeVideo.
WeVideo Image Credit
Video editing software can help you make sure your videos aren’t too long. You can also use this type of tool to remove any and all long pauses or “ums”. Or, you can edit two mediocre takes of the same video into one powerful edited version. You can even add text and small call out boxes for references or further details when you edit your video to reinforce your teaching points.
Tool #6: High Quality Microphone
Investing in a high quality microphone is a must-have when creating your online course. Click To Tweet
As tiny as this detail seems, audio can make a huge difference in the quality of the learning experience you are creating. Remember, your students will be uber-focused on your voice so you want it to sound as clear as possible to keep their attention. This goes for both video lessons and voice-over slideshow ones, too. Avoid using the microphone built into your computer. Unless your headphones specifically mention that background noise is eliminated, you’ll want to invest in a adequate microphone. The good news is that microphones are fairly inexpensive. You can find a really good one for around $50 with the Audio Technica ATR2100. I use the Rode Podcaster to record my screencapture videos.
I’d love to hear more about the course you’d like to create! Feel free to tell me all about your ideas in the comments. And if you know about any other helpful tools, leave those suggestions in the comments too. I always love to hear about gadgets that make my job more efficient!
Bonus: Grab your free list of our most recommended tech tools to create, market, and launch your online course so you can get started today! Click Here to Download
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! It’s so helpful to know where to start. I still have no idea what to create at this point. Maybe these tools and gadgets will inspire the thought process to form!
One thing is for sure…helping people live a healthier life is important to me.
You have a natural advantage as someone uber passionate about your topic. Not to mention, you are an inspiring teacher! I will be there to help you. cheers!
I am hoping to integrate the slides with the me in front of the camera shots … which tools do I use for that? It is intuitive?
Hello Erin, Great to hear from you! Yes, very easy and intuitive. You can use Screenflow if you are on a Mac. Or, CamStudio if you are a PC fan. It is as simple as pressing “New Recording” and rolling. Your voice will automatically be in sync with the slide movement on your desktop as you click through your slides. Cheers to creating!
I think what you’re describing, Erin, calls for a green screen (chromakey) setup. Most editing software handles that type of compositing. (I use VideoPad).
The key to success is in lighting the green wall evenly…so the shadows on the wall (or wrinkles in the backdrop) don’t show up in the chromakey effect.
I love my canon rebel. It records video and sound and the audio is good.
Thank you for sharing your recommendations. I would also add that if you’re going to get on camera, get a reflector to help bounce some of that natural light back to your face. You can make your own with white/light colored board or get a cheap one for under $20.
Great suggestion, Sherrie! Great lighting is seriously our best friend 🙂
Do you have any suggestions for how to make a DIY reflector, or a recommended inexpensive one?
Thanks for this great share! Excited to check out these resources and apply.
You are most welcome, Nancy! Cheers, Jeanine
Thank you for an incredibly useful blog post. I needed that. Which lights do you recommend? If you have 2 people talking in a live video (where you can see and hear both people) do you need two microphones?
Lighting needs can vary based on your recording setting. There are great starter lighting kits that can give you professional quality lighting on a budget. Yes, you will need two microphones to record audio for two parties. There are adapters available that enable you to plug to microphones into a recording device (including an iPhone). Cheers, Jeanine
Jeanine, Thanks so much for sharing this info! I hadn’t thought of using Google Slides, but will definitely look into that. The info on mics is perfect.
Question about YouTube and Vimeo. Several people have recommended Wistia for hosting video, but it’s kind of spendy. Will YouTube and Vimeo do the same thing, if you provide the private links to course registrants within the course delivery site?
Hello Laura, You are most welcome! I don’t think Wistia is necessary. As far as Youtube and Vimeo, yes they will do the same thing. You can make your videos private (and only viewable when they are embedded on certain URLs). Then when your course participants log-in to your course delivery platform, they will be able to see the videos. This is all available in the settings of each individual video when you upload. (And, most robust course hosting platforms will actually host the videos for you.) -jeanine
Good to know, Jeanine. Thanks for the Online Course Tech Tools Guide download. That, along with this blog post, are providing me exactly the info I was looking for.
Great post Jeanine!
I appreciate the tip to check out Unsplash – I was very impressed, and plan on taking advantage of the site.
In checking it out, it brought to mind what I lean on for a lot of the photos I use – as well as graphics, and at times, content: public domain.
There is an entire universe of excellent material out there in the public domain, not just “dusty old books” lol! It’s worth noting that much of the material on federal US sites is in the public domain, and much of it is very high-quality. Disclaimer: not everything on these sites is in the public domain, so always check to see if there is a copyright notice!
A very resourceful post especially for beginners. I have learnt about important tools such as Google slides and cam-studio that can help starters kick-start their online videos with ease.
Thanks for sharing!!