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Video tutorial best practices

Things to remember

A storyboard will help you plan a visual to go with each beat of the script.

  • You can add a column to the script and paste or sketch in visuals next to the narration.
  • You can storyboard in PowerPoint with your narration in the notes.
  • You can draw the storyboard on paper. 
  • Use visuals for pacing – change the visual each time you introduce a new point, to cue the viewer that you’re saying something new. 

Screenshots, screen recording, and graphics

Many of the videos in the library will consist of screen recordings and screenshots. Our users first encounter the library online, and most of the resources we provide are online. Simplify the recorded screen area as much as possible to manage the viewer’s cognitive load. Do not have multiple tabs open if showing a browser window. Clean up files on your desktop if that must be a visible component for the video. Use static screenshots if it is not important to show the viewer the motion of the cursor or mouse.

Further considerations for screen recording: 

Graphics and other static images are good additions to screen recording. Anything downloaded from the web needs to include information on the creator, which can be linked below in the video notes. Look at advertising to get a sense of the most modern visual style and language but remember not all images work across cultures. Test images for pixelation at the full screen size. Many users will see videos at the size of the embedded window or on a mobile device, but all visuals need to be scalable.

Further consideration for graphics: 

  • Do not move the mouse or cursor around on the screen during a screen recording for emphasis.  
  • Use animation to highlight a part of the screen or annotations to indicate important areas of an image. 
  • If it is necessary for the user to see a browser load, use video editing to speed up or slow down a screen capture demonstration. 
  • Images and graphics need to be at 72 ppi for the web.  
  • Look for images with the .PNG or .TIFF file extension instead of .JPG or .JPEG. 
  • Minimize the use of clipart.  

If you include images of people, seek diversity in age, race, cultural heritage, religious expression, gender expression, or disability status whenever possible. An all white, cis male, able bodied group of folks ages 18-24 does not fully reflect the student body of Georgia Tech.  

If you build graphics from scratch, pick a handful of colors and reuse them throughout the video.  

When using text on a screen, bigger, Sans-serif fonts are better.  

  • Make the text at least 18 pt. font. 
  • Limit the amount of text used and avoid sentences. 
  • Avoid using text wherever possible, but contact information, web addresses, file extensions are important to visualize.  

Other footage

Use talking head footage or the Lightboard in the recording studio to illustrate abstract concepts when necessary. Using a heavy mix of screenshots and graphics can be jarring for the user. Viewers respond well to faces and explanations without additional visual metaphor. If you mix video recordings, graphics, and screen shots or screen recordings, make sure all the clips/images are the same dimensions when editing. Whenever possible, scale to the video recording.  

If you must record video outside of the recording studio, screen casting, or other animation, use a tripod to steady the footage. Handheld footage is unacceptable.