Creating your own online course might seem difficult to many online tutors because of having to deal with video content. You can easily solve this problem with the help of free and accessible tools.
When you start planning your first online course that includes video content, the question is bound to pop up: is it possible to make a professional-looking video for your online course without resorting to a costly production team or investing in professional photography gear and software.
Luckily for us, there are plenty of simple and easy to use tools on the Web. You can either access them online or download on your laptop to start creating killer video content. The best part is that there are quite a few options that are absolutely free. So, here’s the overview of some of the free tools that you can find on the Web to record and edit video files.
PowerPoint is a good old friend of all who had to give a presentation at least once. You can easily turn your presentation into a video keeping all of its elements including animation, pointer movements, transitions between slides and voice narration. It can be a good option for an online course when a presentation is the key element and it is not necessary to have you on the screen. To make a video from your PowerPoint slides simply save it in a video file format (*.mp4 or *.wmv). Do not worry if original slides already contain a video. All embedded videos will play correctly without you needing to control the process.
Open Broadcaster Software is a free software that allows you to record video from your desktop. You can use this tool if you are teaching how to use a certain programme and you record all your actions on the screen. However, it can also come in handy if you would like to focus students’ attention on the slides rather than you as a speaker. The programme is constantly updated, so by the time you’ll be using it the interface might look different from the version shown below.
When you first open OBS Studio you see a black screen. To start working in the programme click on the Settings button in the bottom right-hand corner and you’ll get a pop-up window with the settings menu.
If you have basic video editing skills, the tabs you need to check are Output and Video. Leave the rest of the tabs with default settings. In the tab Output you can choose the folder where your recorded files will be saved. In case you skipped this step, you can easily locate your video later.
In the tab Video you can adjust your would-be video file resolution. You can leave the default settings in both, base and output resolutions, or you can record a Full HD video by setting the output resolution to 1920×1080. Keep it in mind that Full HD video file will be bigger in size. You can also adjust FPS Values. The bigger the value is, the better quality video you get with smoother transitions between scenes. The recommended values is 30, as not all computer processors are powerful enough to generate a video file with a greater FPS value. If you have a good computer and a high upload speed, you can go for 60 FPS value.
Now you can proceed to adding new scenes and sources. Scene is basically a combination of a number of sources, which are windows, webcams, displays, images . To create a scene, just click in the white box below Scenes and click Add. Give your scene an appropriate name, for instance Display, so that you know that this particular screen is capturing your computer display.
Adding sources is a similar process but you right-click in the white box below Sources. Out of all the options available Window Capture, Display Capture and Video Capture Device are of particular use in recording a video for an online course.
Once you’ve added sources they can be moved around and resized as you wish. If you add two or more sources to one scene, they all will be displayed on one screen. If you’d like to capture the display and record your web cam video separately, create different scenes for each source.
Once you have adjusted all the settings according to your needs, created scenes and added sources, you can start recording your computer screen by simply clicking on Start Recording.
When you are done recording click on Stop Recording and your video file will be saved automatically. To locate the saved file on your computer go to File Show recordings.
Avidemux is a free simple tool that allows you to do elementary video processing tasks without any expert knowledge in video editing. As distinct from similar programmes, Avidemux does not offer such professional editing features like a timeline or multitrack editing. However, you can do basic tasks in a very straightforward way.
To start working in Avidemux, open a video file you would like to edit. It can be done is several ways:
1. File Open
2. Open Video button on the main toolbar
3. Shortcut key Ctrl+O
4. Drag and drop the necessary file into the window of the programme
Now when you have your video file ready there are 3 basic things you can do in Avidemux, which are cutting, encoding and filtering.
If you have a long video file and you need only a small segment of it you can cut it out using markers A and B on the navigation bar situated right underneath the uploaded video file set the start of the segment by dragging the slider and pressing Set start marker button (Ctrl+PAGEUP). To set the end of the segment drag the slider and press Set end marker button (Ctrl+PAGEDOWN). The chosen segment will be highlighted with a blue frame.
If you know the exact start and end time of the chosen video segment, you can check it in the bottom right-hand corner.
You can also remove unnecessary segments from your video file, for example, you can cut out parts of video where you stammer and stutter to make your video look more professional. To do this, choose the segment you want to delete with the help of markers A and B, as described above. Then, go to Edit Delete or simply press Del button on your keyboard. The programme will make sure that the audio is in sync with the video, unless you have uploaded an audio file separately.
Avidemux also allows you to copy and paste segments of the video. Segments can be copied and pasted by using familiar shortcut keys Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V.
To save a part of the video file or to save the video file with some segments deleted go to File Save or use Ctrl+S shortcut.
You can also join to smaller videos together to create a longer video file. Click on File Append (Ctrl+A). Choose the video you would like to add and watch the total length of the video file to increase.
You can use Avidemux if you need to convert your video file into a different video format that your player understands or that is compatible with a particular software or programme. You can also compress the video to a smaller size to publish it on the Internet or LMS.
Simply select the target format from the drop-down list and save the video to start encoding. The supported output formats include MP4, MPEG, AVI XVID, AVI-DV, MPG, MKV, FLV, etc.
Avidemux allows you to apply simple filters to change the look of your video. Pay attention that filters can be applied only if you change the format of the video output. When set to Copy mode, filters are disabled.
Here is our pick of the filters you might find useful when creating an online course.
You can use various filters in this tab to adjust colours, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation of your video. However, do not get too much carried away with colour filters since you are aiming at a professionally looking online course rather than a video art work.
You can add a subtitle file to your video adjusting line spacing and font scale. It might be useful if you are thinking of marketing your online course in several countries or if you would like to make sure that students with different levels of English can keep up with you.
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