Join Ashley Kennedy for an in-depth discussion in this video Talking about teaching on camera, part of Making Video 2: Teach Something.
- I want to spend some time talking about the art of teaching in video form. In short, how do you get in front of a camera and reach your audience in ways that make them want to learn and want to come back for more. Now this particular topic is something I happen to have a lot of experience with. And so I was excited to explore this practice in the context of cooking. Now I also happen to love to cook. I grew up my entire life in a restaurant family so I know that cooking takes time. It takes care. And frankly it takes talent to do it well, while simultaneously talking about what you're doing.
So needless to say, I'm eager to go on this journey of relating my experience in teaching filmmaking to Pamela's task of teaching someone how to cook. First, let me just talk about what I think are some of the greatest foundations of teaching in video form. Addressing the topics of structure, style, and substance. Now structurally, when teaching any topic, it's often a great tactic to begin with an introduction that tells your audience what you're going to teach them, then move into a well-organized body where each step is laid out clearly and concisely and then finish with a conclusion where you wrap everything up.
This is a tried and true presentation strategy and it's generally seen as the most effective way to capture your audience's attention, show them what you want to and then finish everything with a satisfying close. With this video, we'll basically be following these general principles. But it's going to be important to make sure that that middle part, where all the learning is happening is a solid well-organized foundation. Pamela says that the entire recipe takes about 48 minutes.
About eight minutes of prep and 40 minutes of cooking. But this is going to be about a four to five minute video. So we need to be sure to distill the most essential components of the recipe. Only show those, but do so in a way that depicts a clear and thoughtful process. This won't necessarily be an easy task. And certainly much of this will be accomplished in editing, but Pamela will need to design her presentation so that that thoughtful editing can happen.
Now stylistically there are countless approaches. But generally it's good to go for a warm, personal delivery with plenty of energy. Being engaging and enjoyable while still providing plenty of valuable information is key. If you think back, you've likely had all sorts of teachers, trainers, and mentors. Some are more serious, some more humorous. Some have a more subtle approach, and some are incredibly passionate. Certainly much of this comes from the unique personality of each individual presenter, but I'll also say that most successful teachers do tend to turn something on when they get in front of an audience.
You sort of go into presenter mode and notch things up a bit when you know that someone is listening and that they're learning from you. And when you're in front of a camera, though, that can be more difficult. Think about it. When you're in a physical classroom or other training space, you feel that unspoken energy that comes with a group of bodies in a common space. You hopefully receive eye contact and facial cues to register your audience's understanding, their appreciation, or even their confusion.
Bottom line, teaching is generally a two way street. You offer your instruction and your audience offers at least something in return. When you're on camera though, that give and take is largely replaced by a feeling of being on display. Now if you're One Man Banding it, you may just have a camera set up with no one on the other side. Or maybe you have a small crew. And even if you have a large production crew, you're still not really interfacing with learners.
You're pretending that you are, but you're being watched by a director and others to make sure your delivery is on par. Regardless, it just isn't natural. And unless you're in front of a camera as part of your job, speaking like this just isn't part of real life. So you've got to do a bit of pretending. In my experience, you've got to do whatever you can to imagine as if you're speaking to a person. And even better, someone from your target audience. That can be hard when you're staring into a lens, but it's important to try.
Bring forward your warmth, your energy, your passion, and whatever else makes your teaching style unique and interesting. Channel it and feed it right into the camera. It can take a few takes before you achieve the level of genuineness that really represents who you are. But again, this all just takes practice. Finally I want to talk about substance. And a lot of this I already mentioned when I talked about structure. But in a video like this, it can be tricky because we're taking a nearly 50 minute process and condensing it to about 1/10 of the time.
So as I said before, we need to make sure that each important step of the process is covered well and that Pamela interjects useful information and advice accordingly. I think the best cooking videos aren't just a straight forward visual demonstration of the recipe, but they often provide additional useful advice and even some level of color commentary to make the video more personal and relatable. And Pamela has already said that creating this warm approachable brand is important to her.
So she needs to inject as much of this personality into her delivery as possible. That means while she'll likely have her script as a foundation, she should probably feel free to go off script when she feels the inspiration to do so. Again, after all is said and done, we'll have lots of raw material to work with. So with a video like this, I think a good strategy is to let Pamela be herself and we'll be able to identify and use the best parts in the editing process. I understand it's difficult to boil down the basics of teaching.
But hopefully giving you a high level idea of the important elements of successful video training can help you begin to think about this work. If you're designing your own teaching video, and you've done the work in making sure you've laid out a solid structure, and that you've honed your style in a way that makes your personality shine through during an otherwise educational presentation, and that you've nailed down the substance of the video in a way that keeps your audience engaged and coming back for more, then you've done your job.
This can be hard though, but this is certainly something where practice makes perfect. Give yourself time and the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. And eventually you'll get there.
- Video workflow and techniques
- Teaching on camera
- Writing the script
- Shooting on location
- Editing video in HitFilm Express
- Adding music and graphics