Key Components of ILVs
Dec 11, 2023
As we discussed in the previous post, ILVs are the most popular video format in online learning. Its life cycle starts with a lesson plan or a script and ends with the final video publication. Let’s look at some key ingredients of an ILV and how they contribute to the learning experience.
Instructor: This is the ILV’s central figure who delivers the content. The instructor can be the same as the educator who creates the content, or not. For a wider audience and more sophisticated output, educators often use actors or experienced media professionals to deliver their content. This can make the ILV a more immersive learning experience because actors can use meaningful gestures, body language, modulations, and other communication techniques to draw in the learners more fully. Learning works best when delivered multimodally.
Real Set (background): This is the environment in which the instructor is recording, and can contribute to the learning experience in various ways. If an educator is recording alone at home, this is simply a visual space filler. But since it is visible to the learners, it’s better to keep it blank to avoid distracting elements or fill it with elements that support the content. For example, a language teacher can use an alphabet or phonetic chart prominently visible in the background. A social sciences educator can keep a large map or globe behind or close by. A carefully curated environment can add a lot of aesthetic value to your video.
Virtual Set (aka Green Screen): With the advances in video editing technology, more and more educators opt for virtual backgrounds, commonly known as green screen background. The basic idea here is that the green screen can be replaced with any environment, so you are not limited by the physical reality of an environment. You can be in a garden, in an office, on a beach, or atop a mountain, all in the same video, if that helps you deliver your content more meaningfully to the learner. Because of this extra layer, recording against virtual sets is fairly simple in the production stage but the time and cost of post-production significantly goes up. That’s why it takes just a month to do the principal photography in big movies these days but more than a year to complete the post-production. Virtual sets are ideal for high-impact videos meant for wide, long-term distribution.
Lighting: Proper lighting plays different roles in different environments. In case of a virtual set, the lighting must support the chosen background. For example, an open daylight garden background will need multiple lights to avoid illogical shadows in the final output. In real sets, lighting is a matter of focus. For example, masterclass videos in acting may have extremely dim lighting to focus entirely on the instructor’s face and expressions. In most cases, you need 2-3 bright lights to avoid shadows, and to ensure each important element is well-lit.
Framing: Framing means the positioning and sizing of the instructor on the screen. Videos longer than two minutes generally need visual aids, and all of them cannot be full screen. There must be enough dedicated space to place the visual aids. This is usually achieved by placing the instructor on the right (or sometimes left) half of the screen and placing all the visual aids on the left half. This ensures a smooth flow of attention from the instructor to the visual aids, and back.
Props: These are the physical (and sometimes virtual) objects the instructor interacts with physically or virtually. The nature of props you need in an ILV largely depends on your content: it can be a simple object like a chart or a globe, or an intricate tool or machine. The number of props is again dependent on the diversity inherent in your content. It is advisable to use a few props even if not readily needed by your content so that the instruction seems more natural, as in everyday life we routinely interact with objects while, and for, learning.
Voiceover (VO): This is audio played over a video footage that does not include the speaker. This technique is often employed in movies and TV shows to establish context and introduce an idea with abstract visuals and narration. In ILVs, voiceovers are used for fullscreen graphics to explain a concept or idea, for example, a map, timeline, or diagram. Voiceovers are very helpful in complementing a given visual and they maintain the educator’s presence with the learner even when not visible on screen.
On-screen Text (OST): This is not subtitles or closed captions. On screen Text or OST is the text carefully curated from the content and visual aids to support the learning experience. In a sense these are the notes you would like the learner to take if it was a face-to-face interaction. On screens with the educator and graphics, avoid OST or keep it minimum to avoid information overload. Ideally, a learner’s attention should be focused on one primary source of input (either the educator, or graphics) and if needed, occasionally, a secondary source of input (either the graphics or the OST).
Background Music (BGM): This might seem self explanatory, and a bit superfluous but background music is quickly becoming a standard practice in all online learning videos to keep and guide the learner’s attention. An effective background music score invokes the right mood in the learner to take in the content delivered.
There is a lot more to ideating, creating, and publishing ILVs than these 9 components. There’s
recording equipment, editing software, interactive elements
, and more, and we will cover them all soon enough. But for now, remember these 9 and notice them in the videos already available. You can
deconstruct any ILV to its basics
with the knowledge of these elements. We will dive deeper into some of these in our upcoming posts. Stay tuned!