When media is produced, it happens in three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Pre-production is the visioning, planning, and script-writing phase. The more time spent in this phase, the more smoothly than next two steps go. In pre-production you would ensure that the media you are planning aligns with your course or learning objectives.
The production phase is when you or a producer create and capture your media whether you are using your computer in your office, or booked a session with a producer in a studio. In this phase it's best to be prepared and focus on your performance as studies have shown that students connect more when engaged by the performer.
The last phase is post-production. This is traditionally when an editor processes your audio or video recordings and integrates them with text, graphics and music, and shapes them into the final product. In academic settings the editor may be the educator or a teaching assistant. Because of this, you may want to consider the complexity of what needs to happen in this phase prior to recording.
Your media production timeline can run along side your course development timeline, but if possible, it's best to produce your media content before you review and share the completed course with students. This last phase of creating an online course is often called 'quality assurance' or 'quality control' under a bigger umbrella of evaluation.
It is often said that this is the most important phase of media creation. If well-planned, your project will go more smoothly and require less time and money to complete the following two phases. This is the phase where you have an opportunity to take a magnifying glass to your lecture content, parse it, and make it more digestible both for on-ground and online education. This collaborative study on video engagement talks about why videos should be kept short.
The parts you choose to record as video will most likely need a script. Scripts allow you to focus on your performance when speaking into the microphone or addressing the camera. Scripts also allow you to remove all of the extra words that we tend to pivot on such as “like, um” etc, so that your audio/video ends up more succinct. Additionally, if you are working with other people to produce your media, scripts are the backbone of planning and executing. Scripts give your team a guide for what is coming so that the correct visual content can be found. If you happen to have the funding for an animation or video with motion graphics, the script becomes the essential element from which to build the visual storyboard.
Lastly, pre-production is the time to plan everything else – locations, scheduling recordings, confirming your guests, and building your team.
Prior to recording you'll want to know what media type you are creating, have written your script, scheduled your recording session, reached out to your guests, confirmed a date, and prepped them. It's important to have those things in place because production is the action phase when everything that was prepared gets recorded. If you are working with a producer, this phase can be costly as there is setup and preparation required to ensure good lighting and sound, so it's helpful to be efficient with everyone's time while recording.
Rehearsing your content before the recording is of vital importance so that your performance carries the content, even if you are doing a simple capture with your computer. Being prepared will benefit your students and make your content more engaging because you will appear more relaxed and genuine. If you have guests, it's best to make them comfortable so that they appear on camera in a favorable way and deliver the information that your students are seeking. This study highlights the importance of performance, and why it matters most to students.
Our Getting Started article breaks down what equipment and help is available to academic faculty at UCSF. If you are using Media@UCSF in the CLE, this help article will provide additional instructions.
You often hear "Fix it in post!" Post-production is the forming and polishing phase. It could include editing, color correcting, mixing and adjusting audio and placing additional layers of audio like sound effects and music. Lastly, it includes adding visual layers of graphics or animation.
The media type and budget will dictate what your post-production process will look like and which tools you will use.
What is editing?
Editing allows you to create the product you planned in pre-production by taking the content you created or recorded and choosing the best parts, cutting it down, putting sections together, and re-organizing the order of things. Usually when you edit video there is audio associated with it. However, you can have audio-only editing. We point this out because you might use a slightly different process and tool for audio-only products.
When editing you can put things one after another on a horizontal timeline, and you have the capability to layer them on top of each other. This layering allows for text or graphics appear next to a person, or for another audio track like music to come in. Excellent editors are skilled visual storytellers who realize that there are a multitude of ways that you can play with this language to combine your content. Editors also know that this is a visual medium so cutting away from a talking head (a-roll) to what is called b-roll is essential to visual story telling. In education, b-roll can be images, graphs, documentation footage, text, tables, charts and motion graphics. All of the visual aids should support your learning objectives.
There are many tools you can use for this process and some might make more sense depending on what tool you used for recording your media. For instance, if you recorded with Camtasia, it is a very flexible tool that allows you to record and to edit your media in the same software. Camtasia is great for editing because it is user-friendly but still lets you edit, layer, add text, visuals and additional sound. Usually tools that give you the most post-production options also have the biggest learning curve so a professional editor would use tools like Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve, or Adobe Premiere versus an educator who might use Quicktime, Media@UCSF or Camtasia.
Editing Tools @UCSF
For more information on tools available at UCSF, check out the tools tab in our Getting Started article.
To schedule a consultation with a media specialist click here.