From K12 classrooms to university auditoriums, video lecturing forms an integral part of today’s education program. The importance of video lectures and video-supported learning, in general, has grown even further with 2020’s restrictions on the education system. Whether you are a teacher looking to improve your video lectures or a staff member taking ownership of video lecturing for your institution, it’s time to brush up on your video lecturing knowledge. Let’s take a look at the best software to use in 2021, along with tips to create interesting video lectures.
What Is a Video Lecture?
A video lecture is a video recording of a real-life lesson by an educator. The lecture is typically supported with a whiteboard, slides or video, or similar teaching materials. Video lectures can be offered live so remote learners can attend the class as it happens. They can also be pre-recorded to be viewed by the students as Video-On-Demand.
Pre-recorded video lectures are great for flipped classrooms. Students watch the video lecture in preparation for the group work and problem-solving they’ll be doing during the live interaction with the teacher.
Nowadays, many educators use specialized video lecturing software or lecture capture software to record their video lectures. Before the pandemic, many schools had installed lecture capture hardware in some of their classrooms, and this continues to be used as schools reopen. But lecture capture software can also be done with minimal gear and effort, which many instructors now use to create lectures not just from classrooms but from offices or at home. With these, you just need to launch the recording with a single click on a laptop with a webcam. While the software records the feed from the webcam, it also records the teaching materials that you pull up on the computer, such as slides, images, or video. Your final recording will combine your “talking head” video with your teaching materials. The better video lecturing software offers video editing features. (It’s especially convenient if you can use the same suite of software, whether you’re capturing from in-classroom cameras or from a laptop. That way you only need to learn one procedure no matter where your lecture takes place.) These will enable you to remove poor footage, organize your lecture into chapters, and add captions and titles. Your video is then ready to be published on your LMS.
How to Choose the Right Video Lecturing Software for Your Institution?
With the rising need for video lectures, the number of software solutions on the market has grown steadily. But it’s not always easy to find a good one. The tricky part is that between the educator, the students, and the educational institution as a whole, many needs have to be met. The three basic requirements that video lecturing software needs to fulfill for these three stakeholders are the following:
Convenience and minimal interference during the lecture.
As an educator, tools should never interfere with your primary task, which is to deliver a valuable lecture to your students. If a good lecture is like a theatre performance, then fiddling with a computer shouldn’t be the opening act. You should be able to enter the classroom, launch your video lecture recording setup with a single click, and give your undivided attention to the lecture and the students, until the end of the lesson. Even when you pre-record a video lecture, you don’t want to waste time figuring out yet another tool. Good video lecturing software should be intuitive, with but a slight learning curve.
Features that improve the learning experience
A good video lecturing software is developed with a deep understanding of the functioning and limitations of human learning. Look out for features that improve learner attention and engagement, such as digital whiteboards, chapters, polls and quizzes, and interactive video. Video lecturing software should pull up advanced analytics of viewership and audience engagement so you can continuously improve on the quality and value of your video lectures.
Seamless deployment and management
Adopting new methods and tools often starts with one educator or department putting in a request. If proven successful, that new method or tool can be deployed campus-wide. It is therefore important to choose a video lecturing software that can handle the scale of your institution. This includes the need for seamless integration of the video recording lecturing software with the existing LMS and other established systems used in your institution.
Ask yourself what other features would be desirable in software for making video lectures. Are you planning on editing your videos before publishing? Some video lecturing software products offer editing features, geared towards users who don’t have a background in video editing.
Do you want to be inclusive of all your students and cater to their individual learning preferences? Then you might want to look into features like multiple views and video captioning. If you’re planning on streaming live video lectures, you want to make sure your software can upload the lecture to your LMS, automatically in the background. Take the time to read all the product specs to make an educated decision.
Top 5 Video Lecturing Software in 2021
Now that you know what to look for in a lecture capture software, let’s put that knowledge to the test. The five following providers offer comprehensive and reliable video lecturing solutions in 2021. They all come with free trials.
- Kaltura Lecture Capture
We might be slightly biased here, but we know what our clients say about us and we know our product. Kaltura Video Lecture Capture Software has everything you and your institution need to teach and engage your students beyond the confines of the brick-and-mortar classroom. The software integrates seamlessly into your LMS and supports the LTI standard, SCORM, and xAPI. Record cameras and screens with a single click. Then live stream your lecture to your students or edit it into an on-demand video for publication to your LMS. Whether you’re taking advantage of hardware built into a lecture hall or recording from your kitchen table, it works the same.
Kaltura Lecture Capture is built to engage. Students can choose how they view the lecture, side-by-side, or picture-in-picture. Video quizzes, captions, chapters, and interactive video paths will help the students participate actively in the video lecture, no matter which device they use. The performance of your video lectures can be tracked with metrics on viewership and engagement. Based on customers’ feedback, Kaltura Lecture Capture offers the best value for money.
Just like Kaltura, Panopto’s lecture capture software offers robust live stream capabilities. You get some useful features, such as one-click webcasting, interactive quizzes to pre-recorded lectures, and multi-source video recording. Panopto also integrates well with your LMS and other systems.
Many customer reviews reported the UI to be too basic. Especially the video editor seems to be clunky and low on features. On all other fronts, Panopto’s lecture capture software outperformed Ubicast and Yuja, as well as Echo360.
Yuja’s Lecture Capture portfolio includes four different lecture capture solutions: desktop-based, hardware-based, in-browser, and mobile. All offer excellent features such as multi-source recording, automated scheduling, and video editing. Yuja integrates into LMS platforms and third-party systems.
Some customers received complaints about delivery from students, with video and audio jumps and buffering throughout the lecture. On the other hand, the support was rated excellent.
Echo360 sells itself as the most reliable lecture capture solution, and has been a popular choice when installing hardware in lecture halls. Just like the other contenders on this list, they offer HD video quality, scheduling, one-click recording, analytics, and more. Echo360 integrates very well with most Learning Management Systems.
On the downside, Echo360 is expensive and doesn’t offer a free trial. Compared to Kaltura, Echo360 offers limited video management and admin tools. A recurring comment among users is that the platform is not very intuitive to use. Overall, Echo360 is rated a very good lecture capture system, so it deserves the fourth place on our list.
Ubicast is a French boutique-sized video training solution. Their MediaServer platform has recording and editing features to create professional lecture videos securely shared with students via an interactive and social video player. Videos can be organized with attachments, chapters, and links at specific moments.
Ubicast also offers built-in activities such as live chat and polls, and performance analytics. While a reliable and complete service, Ubicast falls short of features in comparison to the other video lecturing software products on this list and doesn’t seem to have a large customer base outside of France.
How to Make Interesting Video Lectures
Let’s take a look at a few video lecturing best practices to find out how to make video lectures more engaging.
1. Plan and prepare your lecture
Make sure to have an outline of all the points you need to cover during your lecture. This will avoid hesitations, mistakes, and will ultimately save you a lot of time reshooting. Have all your teaching materials ready (slides, graphs, illustrations, YouTube videos, …).
2. Choose a video lecture style
The video lecture style is the format in which you’ll record your video. It will depend on your personal preference and whether your lecture will be live or pre-recorded. You’ll want to mix it up between the various video lecture styles to keep your audience engaged. If you’re lucky, you video lecturing software will enable interactive video paths to take your video lecturing to the next level:
This is the most straightforward style. The educator records their live lesson in the classroom or auditorium. The video can be live-streamed for remote students to attend the lecture as it happens. It can also be recorded for later editing and distribution.
4. Talking head
This is also a very easy video style to shoot. Simply set up a camera or webcam to record you while you deliver the lecture. The advantage of this format is that you can interrupt your recording at any time, to redo bad parts, or to resume when you have the time. Just a talking head can quickly get monotonous for your audience, so do spice it up with slides, video, and other teaching materials (see the next video lecturing style).
5. Voice-over and screen-casting
The video displays your slides or your computer screen, while your voice-over narrates the lecture. For certain subjects, e.g., a software tutorial, the lecture can be delivered 100% in this format. Ideally, you’ll use this style in conjunction with talking-head shots.
6. Interactive Lecture
This type of video lecture might be more complex, but it’s not complicated … if you choose the right video lecturing software. Based on interactive video paths, you can engage your students by asking them to make choices, answer questions, or take actions to influence the direction the video is taking. A nice side-effect: you can see how your audience engages with your lecture.
7. Mind your audio and video quality
Improve your audio and video quality with the following recommendations:
- Especially for lecture capture, if you are far away from the computer mic or if the auditorium is noisy, consider investing in a lavalier microphone.
- Microphones tend to amplify ambient noises. Turn off fans, air conditioning, TL-lighting, and other background noises.
- Make sure you are properly lit from the front to avoid grainy dark footage. You can invest in specialized lighting like a ring light.
- Take care of your background. Remove distracting objects behind you. Creating separation between you and your background yields a much more pleasing image.
8. Adapt your teaching materials to video
Video needs to be watched, not read. Keep the amount of text in your teaching material to a minimum and use a large font. Don’t forget many students might be watching your video lecture on mobile.
9. Leave the classroom
It’s easiest to record your lectures from the comfort of the classroom or another dedicated room. However, many subjects could benefit from recording the lecture on-location, with real-life examples illustrating your lecture (e.g., an ecology lesson shot in nature).
10. Break your lecture in short chunks
Keep your audience engaged by dividing your lecture into segments. The viewer’s attention starts to drop after 6 minutes. Some video lecturing software products offer a feature that allows you to divide your video into chapters. This enables students to easily refer to certain sections, making your video lecture more usable.
Extend Your Classroom Experience with Kaltura Lecture Capture
Kaltura is on a continuous quest for synergies between video technology and education, powering the video experience of K12 schools and major universities around the globe. Visit our dedicated Kaltura Video Lecture Capture page to learn more and request a demo.
Want to explore Kaltura Lecture Capture?