Training videos are the perfect way to train staff in multiple locations, at any time of the day. Long gone are the days of actually having to attend a training session.
The recipe for excellent training videos
Training videos can be watched on the train, bus or ferry to work on your tablet or smartphone or during a dedicated time during your work day. However, there are few things that need to be done well for the investment into producing a training video to produce a return on that investment, this return being the application of the skills or knowledge gained by the individuals watching the video. Too often, training videos end up being a sheer waste of money and this usually happens for a few very common reasons which we’ll highlight below – so keep an eye out for these as you should avoid them entirely.
Don’t bore your trainees
Good training videos are short, by that we mean 15 to 20 minutes long, if that, for a ‘lecture style’ training video. If your training video is a demonstration of some kind, then we’d recommend 2 minutes at maximum. This is because it is still a video and viewers typically zone out pretty quickly when watching a video. In contrast, you would be able to engage that person for a much longer time when they are actually attending the live session in your training room. However without a training video, your reach is limited to only those who can attend. So this means that the content in your training material has to delivered in hard hitting, bite sized chunks. If the trainer in the lecture style video wades through slide after slide filled with bullet points, it is highly unlikely that there will be any useful recall by the trainee, let alone application of that valuable training material. You are better off having those details made available for further reading and instead use the training video to open the eyes of your staff. Think of the training video as an opportunity to share anectodes, rather than simply recording a live training session then later turning it into a video for distribution. Ask yourself: What are the chances of the viewer watching the whole 30 – 60 minute video with full attention? It’s a tough question.
It’s a training video, so train
It’s also vital that the trainer speaks clearly and reasonably slowly. In video, a quick talker becomes hard to follow and sometimes unintelligible. If it’s an interactive training session and you’d like to hear questions from the audience in the video, then you must have a dedicated wireless roving mic handy which feeds into the camera. It’s very important for anyone who has a question to wait until they are holding the mic and ask the whole question from top to bottom into the mic. If not, you won’t hear their question in the video or any part of the question that wasn’t spoken into the mic. You’ll just hear a faint mumble, see the trainer looking out into space and if they’ve forgotten to repeat the question for the viewers, we won’t know what the question was. If you’d like to see the member of audience who asks the question, then we recommend having a second camera in the room which is pointed at the audience so that this camera man can film that question being asked. This is actually a really easy way to make the training video look more interesting and helps to hold the attention of the viewer for longer. Chances are the question that was asked was on the mind of more than one person.
Choose a well lit room to begin with, ideally a room with neutral colored lights. If there’s a big window in the room letting in outside light, ensure that it is to the side or behind the camera man filming from the back of the room. Ensure that each window has blinds or a curtain to block out the light. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t place the trainer in front of this window as the background will, in technical terms, ‘blow out’. While the view may be nice, it means the window background will be extremely bright because the outside light is much ‘hotter’ than the light inside (if the training session is during the day) and the speaker could quite likely end up looking like a silhouette in the video and it will be hard to read the slides during the session. I don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t learn very well from silhouettes.
Avoid placing the presenter against a wall directly behind them but also avoid a busy background because it can distract the viewer. Use a projector to project slides onto a screen rather than use a TV screen because in some cases, the TV screen can strobe on camera and this is another thing to handle that you don’t really need to worry about.
On the topic of slides, most training room setups don’t do justice to your slides on camera when you try to film both the trainer and the slides being projected in the one shot. This is due to different lighting levels on the bright screen versus the presenter. Yes, you can light the presenter quite a bit to help compensate but there are many variables that then come into play.
- Is the presenter going to be moving around and as such are they going to be walking in and out of their lighting?
- Have you spent more to get many more lights to cover a wider area?
- Will the lights start to wash out the screen onto which the slides are projected, making it hard to read during the session and even harder in the video?
The best approach is to add the slides into the edit during post production so in the video they can be viewed clearly and full screen, just like when you are looking at the slide in Powerpoint on your computer screen. This simple tip will make a big, big difference to the quality of your slides and more importantly, to the person trying to learn the material on the slides.
Avoid noisy areas
Avoid picking a room where you can hear doors opening and closing on the other side of the divider or door, heels on hard floors and chatter outside as the mic can pick up on all these sounds, which in your training video might seem a little odd.
Position your camera properly
Position your camera so that the height of the camera matches the eye level of the trainer, so it doesn’t look you are looking up or down at the trainer in the video.
Lock down the trainer
Ideally the trainer should avoid walking around the front of the room. In a live training session yes, this makes it more lively. However in a training video, they could very easily end up walking out of the frame or out of focus, which doesn’t look so great on screen. When lighting trainers who wear glasses, ensure the extra lighting is positioned in such a way that the glasses do not reflect the lights.
3 final top tips for good training videos
- Be clear, concise and compact
- Ensure all technical items get a tick
- Practice makes perfect
Rocket Productions produce high quality training videos and can work with you to help you to ensure you get the desired outcome from your video.
For more information on creating powerful training videos, call (02) 9955 2681 or use our contact form.