Essential Tools For Creating Video Courses That Sell

Creating video tutorials and video courses is one of the best ways to prove and improve authority and expertise.

online learning and teaching

Why? Not only are you showing people how to do something (which suggests you know how to do it yourself) but you are also being “listened to” for hours rather than minutes – and that’s powerful.

Online teaching is one of the four platforms I’ve highlighted to grow my personal brand on this year – the other three are Kindle books, webinars and podcasting.

Time and money

I will be starting with the most essential video course creating tools before detailing the more specialised and expensive items. The article contains affiliate links so I get a commission if you purchase through one. If you’re not happy with that, fair enough, you can google the item. And, if you want to talk about any of this, please feel free and contact me.

Although even the most basic tools will cost you a few dollars, the main expense will be time. It is only by creating more video courses that you get better at doing video courses.

But, you can do it! Jump on your YouTube channel and start churning out those five-minute video tutorials that people love. It’ll bring out your inner Steven Spielberg. :)

Screencasting tools

Promise me one thing – please don’t make a movie with the internal camcorder and microphone in your computer.

Recording your face talking to camera properly takes practice and familiarity with principles of photography, so the best way to start creating video courses is with screencasting. Screencasting software takes a movie of your computer screen whilst recording your voice. Here are the “must have” screencasting tools:

  • ScreenFlow (Mac only – get it if you have a Mac)
  • Camtasia (Mac and PC – get it if you’re on Windows)

Trust me, these are the best two. They both are excellent editing tools as well. After you have finished recording, you can go back and zoom-in and zoom-out, highlight certain areas and edit out pauses, umms and errrs.

Pro tip: because of the editing functionality of ScreenFlow and Camtasia you never need to “re-take” or re-record. If you trip up over a word simply start again from the beginning of the sentence. You can sort everything out in the edit. Here is a video of me doing exactly that in ScreenFlow:

ScreenFlow and Camtasia have learning curves. Here are a couple of courses to help you: Phil Ebiner’s Screenflow Basics – Screen Recording Made Easy on Udemy click that link to get a 40% discount. And, Mel Aclaro’s Deep Dive Screencast Training: Camtasia Studio 8 (Windows), also on Udemy, click that link to get a 60% discount.

Microphones

As I said before, don’t use the built-in microphone on your mobile phone or computer. Here are three great recommendations in ascending order of price and quality:

  • A great lapel mike for around $20 is the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 (clip it three buttons down from the top of the collar or equivalent)
  • I currently use the Blue Snowflake ($40) it sits on a desk and so can pick up noise from your computer so put it on a heavy book
  • I will shortly be purchasing the Blue Yeti (Silver edition) ($105) as well as a pop filter and a stand or shock mount to improve the sound even further

It will only cost you a few dollars to buy a proper microphone that will improve the audio quality no end.

Cameras

Taking video of yourself talking to camera is something I’m personally struggling with at the moment but it adds huge benefits to the people taking your courses as well as your personal brand.

The good news is you may well have a very good high definition camera with in easy reach of you right now – your smart phone. An iPhone, an iPod touch or an iPad are capable of shooting television quality moving images. Jules Watkins of iPhoneVideoHero, used to carry tons of equipment creating video for TV but will now show you how to do everything with your iPhone. You can download his iPhone Video Marketing manual for free here.

There are good Android devices for taking video as well, HTC1, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Note 3 and S4 would be among the best. But, if your smartphone isn’t good enough for video, then you could buy a video camera for $50-$100 as long as it’s high definition (HD) with either a video mode of at least 720p or a frame size of least 1,280 × 720 pixels. If you really want to do it properly you could splash out on a DSLR like the Canon EOS T5i for $800.

I’ve also seen some awesome results with this Logitech webcam for only $60.

With all of the above movie making equipment, you should always use one of the above microphone options with them. The micorphone in-built to the camera is never good enough.

Lighting and tripods

If you’re doing any sort of video recording it’s essential that you mount the camera on a tripod and get the lighting right – this isn’t as difficult as you may think. Sitting beside a window during a bright day with a reflector on the opposite side will usually be enough for the lighting. Or you could get a low cost softbox kit.

As far as tripods are concerned a cheap option is the Flexpod Flexible Tripod for $8 which can sit on a table and hold your camera still. If you are using your phone to take movies, you will need a Glif (or you may be able to find something cheaper) which is a tripod mount for smartphones.

How to teach an online course is a great free course by Huw Collingbourne on Udemy that has a particularly good section on video presentation and talking to camera techniques.

You can do it

The above tools will only take a little out of your pocket but the greatest expense will be your time. You will only make great video courses by making video tutorials. But, believe me, it’s fun!

My courses make me over $1000 a month on Udemy – that’s completely passive income – and I only bought ScreenFlow and a microphone. Here’s an article I wrote about how to promote and sell your online courses with Udemy.

Comments

  1. says

    Brilliant post on tools to use to set up video courses. I wanted to ask you if PowerPoint would be enough to create such videos? I know in the 2013 version, there is a create-a-video option but I still have the 2007 version. Can I use a screen capture software to make the videos. What do you recommend?

    • says

      Hi Shalu, good question. I have not used this option on PowerPoint but the only way to find out is to record a short movie and see how it looks. If you put it on YouTube, click on the Settings cog while it’s playing and see if it gives you the HD 720p option – if it does you’ll know the quality is OK.

      In PowerPoint, choose “On-screen Show 16:9″ on Page Set-up. This will give you a slide size of 25.4cm x 14.29cm gives you the correct size movie for YouTube and Udemy.

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