Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks

5 Tips for Better Online Training Videos


Video is a big part of the TrainedUp experience. While the platform is flexible enough to handle all different types of training media like text, images, and downloadable files, video is where TrainedUp shines.

We built a simple tool to record video right from your webcam into TrainedUp and it is, by far, the most popular way to get new training material up and out to team members. The tips below mostly apply to webcam recording, too.

If you’ve been asleep for the past few years, online video is making a massive growth push recently. YouTube is still growing by millions, even after 12 years. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Twitch…the list of video-focused networks and sites is huge.

And, what’s more, video is the most engaging format for online teaching, too. It grabs and keeps attention, even with the simplest of production setups. So, that’s what we’re going to look at here. How can you make online training videos that engage people in learning?

1. Use the best camera you can afford

You don’t have to by a RED camera to shoot good videos. You don’t even need a fancy DSLR.

Your iPhone or (good) Android phone can handle the job. Or you can pick up an HD webcam and just record directly to your TrainedUp account with our webcam recording feature.

2. Make sure your lighting is good

Bad lighting can ruin the quality of your video. No matter how good you are at speaking to a camera or how fancy your camera is, if your lighting is poor then your video is poor.

Good lighting doesn’t need to be hard. Positioning yourself with an open window behind your camera will often suffice. But if that’s not an option for you, then you can pick up a cheap lighting set on Amazon that will get the job done on-the-cheap.

3. Get your backdrop right

Your backdrop will likely take up the majority of your video acreage. My advice: don’t get fancy with your backdrop. You are the subject of your video, not the background.

It’s best to keep it simple. I usually shoot in front of a whiteboard that I use to give context to what I’m teaching. If that’s not your style, shoot with a wall behind you or a bookcase. If you don’t have that, you can pick up simple backdrops at Backdrop Express.

4. Use a real microphone

The built-in mic on your phone or camera sucks. It’s not meant to pick up high-quality voice audio. You want to pick up a dedicated mic.

I use a cheap lapel mic that’s no longer in production, but I’ve heard great things about this Wireless Mighty Mic. You could also use a shotgun mic, but those are expensive and can be hard to get just right.

5. Don’t go crazy in post-production

When it comes to editing your videos, remember that you’re not making a Hollywood blockbuster. No one is going to be impressed with your wicked-awesome 30-second intro animations.

Edit your videos for good audio and a very brief intro/outro. You can use iMovie on Mac or Movie Maker on Windows.

Good video is absolutely required for a good video course. Take the time to do it right.


Scott Magdalein is the founder of TrainedUp. Previously, he worked as project manager for YouVersion and Church Online, a software developer at Treehouse, a digital director for an ad agency, and as an Executive Pastor in multiple local churches. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and two boys.

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