ILV Design Part 3: Post-production Deep(er) Dive
Dec 14, 2023
In the previous two posts on ILV design, we have covered some basics of production and post-production of instructor-led videos. The guidelines laid out in those two parts can be considered the basic requirements of producing a coherent and effective ILV, and approach ILV design from a logical and pedagogical angle. In this post, we will touch upon a few techniques and stages of video post-production, which are found in most videos from simplest self-made reels to major motion pictures. How much and how well you use them depends on your taste, audience, and your budget (of course!). But knowing the possibilities has to precede using them. So, let’s dig in!
Video editing & Scene Transitions: It’s a little bit like text editing. Text editing is about conveying the right message through words; video editing is the same, except through visual clips. You take the best takes or shots and arrange them in the right order according to your ILV script. Typically, you might have 2-3 takes for a single shot, and the best take is simply the smoothest and most confident take of the instructor delivering the content. Remember, it’s easier for the learner to believe you if you seem to believe in yourself.
Once the best shots are selected and sequenced, it’s important to add smooth scene transitions between the scenes to avoid jumpy and jarring visuals. To extend the analogy of text editing here, you can think of scene transitions as smooth linking adverbs like therefore, however, etc.
Sound Design & Background Music: Sound design is exactly that: what your video sounds like. There are some basic things to take care of here, like adjusting the audio levels for clarity and consistency. This is especially important if the recordings were done at different times in different environments, which can cause significant variations in audio levels. The next stage is adding some sound effects at some important moments in the video. This can be adding a simple ring to a crowd cheer or a mystery indicator to heighten the suspense around a question. Lastly, if your subject matter and video length allows, try to include some representative background music to your video as well. It breaks the monotony of plain speech discourse to begin with. But more than that it creates an immersive experience for the learner. Music says things words cannot. If you can find the right music, your video can become a lot more than the sum of its parts.
Color correction & Grading: This one’s another basic requirement if different clips were recorded under varying lighting conditions. In this process, we adjust the colors in your video to make them consistent and matching throughout. For educational videos, proper color grading can improve the overall aesthetic of the video, making it look appealing as well as professional.
Motion Graphics (MoGs/MoGraphs): If you have ever seen decoration lights, you know they work best when they blink or light up in quirky ways, because this way they attract attention. Motion graphics work on a similar principle. It is a graphic style that lies somewhere between static images and fully animated videos. They are essentially graphics in motion (neither static nor animated). For example, a rotating wheel, a moving timeline, a floating pin on a map, a coursing arrow on a graph, are all examples of motion graphics. In a limited sense, motion graphic design usually refers to the combination of text and design elements given movement in a way that complements the video’s message, theme, style, or narrative. Here are some elementary ways to use them in ILVs:
Use Motion graphics to highlight key points in the OST by circling, underlining, or blinking a word or short phrase.
Use thematically relevant and visually coherent signposts (discussed in the last post) to give your learners a clear view and constant reminders of the key learning points.
Visualize abstract concepts apart from the regular signposting (for example adding a little burning fire icon for something like Passion, adding a lightly beating heart next to empathy and compassion).
Use live-building (moving data points like rising curves and expanding areas) charts, graphics, and infographics to aid comprehension of large data sets.
Use clean, simple elements like blinking arrows or simple moving shapes to guide the viewer's attention on a complex image like a chart or map.
If you’re explaining a complex concept, give viewers enough time to absorb both your words and the accompanying graphics.
For narrative-heavy or highly abstract lessons, motion graphics act not just as visual aids but also as comprehension templates. The type of MOG used (somber, cute, playful, threadbare, deeply engaged) will often determine the learner’s own attitude to the lesson. One of the main places to set this tone is the title sequence if you have a series of videos for the same audience. A cartoonish title sequence means playful tone and establishes a playful mood in the viewing experience (for example Pink Panther or Catch Me If You Can), whereas a restrained and somber title sequence hints at a serious and introspective mood (for example, True Detective or Breaking Bad).
Interactive Elements can work wonders in engaging the learners. There are many ways to make the learner interact with the content from simple quizzes to taps to move to next screens. Making the learner do something, even if something small and inconsequential, helps them stay with the content. For adult learners, interactive elements should try to encourage critical thinking and real-world applications.
Video Rendering & Exporting: If you were a magician (which we think all educators are), rendering is like the magic spell you would say once all the magical ingredients are poured in the cauldron. Rendering simply means putting together all the sounds, visuals, text, and interactive screens and getting a single final output. Traditionally, this final output is in the form of a video which is uploaded on a channel, public profile, or to a group of learners directly. You had to ensure that your output matches the platform chosen to publish it. But recent advances in elearning softwares have helped standardized this output in the form of SCORM (Sharable Content Object reference model) outputs. In simple terms, it means you can get an output file that works with most elearning platforms. For analogy, you can think of your SCORM content as a pen drive which can be plugged into a variety of devices (laptops, TVs, smartphones) and played directly.
We will bring you more insights and advisories about SCORM (and much more) in our next few posts. Meanwhile, we hope this article gives you a better appreciation of video post-production tools. But more importantly, we hope it gives you confidence to start using these tools to your and your learners’ advantage. We’ll be back soon! Stay tuned and happy learning!