Okay, let us discuss the technical part of creating an online course. What equipment will you need to create beautiful and coherent videos from scratch? They will catch your viewer’s attention but not distract them from the educational process.
This article will review the qualities you should look for when purchasing cameras, microphones, or editing software. Alongside this, we will mention one of the best-performing products in each aspect of course creation.
So, if you are ready, let’s start.
The following article covers:
Apart from the content you would be putting in your online course videos, you should make sure that your final product is clean and clear. There should not be any annoying background noise or police car siren that overwhelms the power of your voice. The students should be able to see you clearly (in case you will be featured in the clip) and have a screen recording of good quality.
There are a lot of details you need to know about filmmaking in order to present a professionally looking online course. And the best way is the trodden one. This means that you might want to look at the techniques of people who have a lot of experience in this.
They would present short to mid-length videos using both recordings of themselves and of the screen and be successful. In other words, a YouTuber is your best friend. So here, we will talk about equipment that bloggers commonly use, so worry not — this will be helpful.
First and foremost, you need to pick a good camera. Some features you may look for are:
- Flip-Out Screen. The ability to see the frame while recording yourself — especially when you don't have a camera person.
- Make it HD. Of course, the good quality of the frame — preferably starting with 1080p — is something you can't go without.
- Be Seen. If you are a lonely creator, your camera should have the ability to focus on your face automatically. You don't want to look blurred.
- Price. Find a not-too-expensive camera, especially when you are a beginner.
A few things that won't matter too much:
- Stabilization. As your work would probably be stationary, you don't need an embedded stabilization mechanism like a gimbal for smooth shots. If your course includes trip fields, for example, showing an archaeological site on a video, you may need stabilization. Otherwise, not so much.
- Tripod. Again, you probably won't need a camera that comes with a tripod if you are shooting from an office. You can buy a separate tripod or just put your camera on a pile of books.
- Audio. There are cameras that have an internal audio-recording possibility, but we don't recommend using that. The quality of such recordings is usually not the best, so investing in a good microphone is easier.
We will not say which camera is the best for you as it is you who will decide. Everyone has their own needs and taste. This guide will help you see the features of the presented models and choose yourself. Let's have a look at three cameras and judge them by the criteria:
- Does not require much space.
- Has a flip-out screen.
- 4K video quality
- Has a tripod
- It costs around 650$, which is relatively alright, but it can be too much for beginners.
- Flip-out screen
- Brilliant short quality
- Small, lightweight, and portable
- Sensor screen
- Quite expensive — 1000$
- For professional use
- 4K resolution
- Small and portable
- Has Bluetooth and wi-fi connections
- Very good autofocus
- Created for bloggers specifically
- It is a bit old-fashioned in terms of USB ports
- It may be complicated to work with for a beginner
As we already mentioned, microphones are essential for a good quality online course. Nothing is more satisfying than listening to the crisp sound of background silence, which is interrupted by the strong voice of the tutor. A good microphone creates sharp sound, which adds so much quality to the video.
Whereas we had to learn from vloggers with video cameras, we'd better apply to our fellow podcasters for microphone choice. Here is what we gathered.
First, you need to make sure that your mic can be integrated with your other equipment. If you are using a laptop to record, you would want to use a microphone with a USB plug. It's a good choice for beginners. There are microphones with XLRs that are of a higher standard. The quality is better, the price is higher, and you will need special equipment for connecting. Have a look at the top 3:
- Blue Microphones Yeti USB. This one is cheap, provides extremely good quality for its price, has a USB connection, and is really indestructible.
- Rode NT-USB. Rode will provide you with a clear and sharp sound, even better than that of the Blue Yeti. This one is a bit more pricy, though. It is also a USB-connected mic.
- IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2. This microphone gets integrated with literally everything with a USB plug. It has a tripod and a carrying pouch for convenience and is quite cheap too.
If you are unsatisfied with the provided microphones, you can look at the larger scale. Brands like Shure, Audio-Technica, Sontronics, and Rode provide good-quality podcasting microphones.
Video editing software
So, we're done with the recording equipment. You filmed the video; you did the voiceover; now, you need to put it all together and do it nicely. For that, you need editing software, and its choice will depend on several factors:
- Your budget.
- Your Operating System (e.g., Windows OS, Mac, Linux, etc.)
- Your level of integrity with complicated programs.
Let's start with the classic: Adobe Premiere Pro, which is pliable for Windows and Mac. In good hands and careful use, this program will allow achieving a professional level of video quality. It is popular, works great, and is relatively simple to work with. But Premiere Pro is quite expensive. Plus, you would have to use a powerful computer or laptop for this with a lot of storage.
The second on the list is Final Cut Pro for those who prefer Mac devices. It is really easy to work with; dare we say, it is beginner-friendly. But it has no version for Windows or Linux. You would also have to pay a lot for the program, though it has a 90-day free trial.
Another platform of Adobe group is Premiere Elements, which is just perfect for beginners. It even has guides for work and is not cluttered with complicated features. On the other hand, this is a bit of a downside since you will have to buy another program after you've upgraded your skills. And, as with any other Adobe product, it is neither free nor cheap.
You should be aware of a couple of more miscellaneous things. Some of them are essential — you won't be able to do anything without them — some are recommended and highly insisted on.
I. A computer.
You cannot even make a full recording if you don't have a PC or a laptop, not even speaking about editing and submitting your video courses. You probably already have a computer, but there are a few things to know, just in case you don't.
First, you will eventually use this computer for editing, which means that it has to be powerful. If not, editing programs would close off without keeping all the progress saved.
Second, you would like to avoid using the Linux operating system since many programs are not equipped for it: Windows and Mac would be fine. It is easier with the Mac that doesn't provide too wide of a choice. MacBook Air would be just fine, but you better go for Pro if you need a more powerful machine.
It is much more complicated with Windows since most computers have this OS. It is easier to start with a brand like HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc. Look at the processor's capacity and at the memory. Speaking of which, the third point:
The RAM ( random access memory) and ROM (read-only memory) should be voluminous in order for the programs to work. Otherwise, you will need to free up RAM constantly.
II. Drive. What about secondary memory? You will run out of space on your computer eventually. For that, you can use external memory holders, like hard drives. There are plenty of those of different prices and categories, so look for the one that suits your budget. CloudDrive is also extremely useful and far more secure. You can't spill a cup of coffee on something without a physical manifestation. With a hard drive, though, that would've been a problem.
III. Sound Isolation. A good microphone is not enough for a good sound. You need to insert sound isolation panels in your studio. They are quite cheap and easy to put in. Not only will your students be grateful, but also your neighbors.
Lavaliers are great when you are not in a studio or other kind of indoor environment. For example, carrying a giant mic on the same archaeology field trip would be very uncomfortable. Lavaliers can be with cables or with Bluetooth: both are handy in different ways.
The cabled mic can cause a bit of a tangle, but you won't need to charge it. And it is usually cheaper. BlueTooth mics are more convenient during the process of exploitation, so keep that in mind.
Some good wired lavalier microphones are Rode SmartLav+, Sennheiser ME 2-II Omni, and Audio Technica AT829CW
And here are some nice wireless ones: Sennheiser MKE 40, Shure MVL, and Sony ECM-44B.
A green screen is not necessary for an online tutoring course, but it can be helpful. If you want to add a virtual background to your videos, you might as well add a green screen to your shopping list. This is quite useful for those who don't have studios and instead shoot videos in their homes.
Here are the top three green screens for private use:
- Elgato Collapsible Chroma Key Panel. It is extremely convenient: it is portable and easy to build and use, but it's not cheap.
- Neewer Chromakey Double-Sided Backdrop. This is a screen that is green on one side and blue on the other. Hence it provides a wider result. It is also very light, but then it is small.
- Web around Big Shot Office Chair Green Screen. As the name suggests, this green screen can be connected to your chair. It is small, tiny even, but very easy to use and also cheap.
Make sure that you are lighting your screen up evenly. For that and other things, you would need a proper lighting system.
Lighting and accessories
You won't need much lighting equipment for in-studio or home shooting unless you're doing a green screen background that requires special attention.
You want to use cold white light close to natural light for online courses. And no fancy stuff: neon is really cool, but it is distracting. Ring lights are the best for stationary videos as they provide a smooth and soft natural lighting effect.
Neewer LED Ring Light is a good way to start: it is cheap and effective. You can put it on your desk behind your camera, and it'll work just fine. Razer Ring Light is more expensive, but then it provides more luminosity; generally, it is of a higher quality and opportunities.
All-in-one platform for launching the course
Finally, you will need a platform for launching your course. And you have to be careful here because your choice will influence:
- Your audience’s width
- SEO of your course website
- The time you spend on optimizing your course site
- Convenience for your students, etc.
Skillshare is very popular among course dealers. It has significant traffic, which increases your chances of getting found and recognized website itself. It helps you create your courses easily and has a very simple function. Skillshare is big enough of a platform that has teachers’ guidelines through creating an online course and doing that on their platform.
Udemy is another platform for online tutors. It has an audience of forty million students. It is interesting because it allows you to employ more than 65 languages for your work. So, if English is not your native language or you are aiming toward a specific audience, don’t miss your chance. Launching your course is really not hard: record your videos — you already know how to — and upload them.
Uteach is a platform created by online tutors for online tutors; it is also our own development. So, we made sure that it included all the features that a tutor would need. First, Uteach is very convenient. It is easy to work with; you can create your website with just a few clicks. And then, you can customize it however you please: Uteach has flexible designs. Anyway, Uteach allows you to upload your course videos and provides easy access to them for your students. Check out by following the link!