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A/V Best Practices When Creating Your First Course

When you first start out, you are going to make a ton of mistakes when filming your course. Before filming the entire course, film a few lectures and go back to watch them. There is nothing worse than filming an entire course to find out the audio was muffled, or the video was blurry!


When you first are getting started, remember that audio is much more important than video. After all, if a student can’t hear you or understand you, they will quickly stop watching. Video is much more forgiving than audio, so it is important to invest in a good microphone. There are numerous good quality microphones you can get for under $100 USD, like the ATR2100, the Blue Yeti, or the SmartLav+. When I started on Udemy, I used the SmartLav+ for about 18 months. It records very good audio, and I never got complaints from students for my audio quality.


Next, you need to figure out how to record your video. If you are doing a talking head style format (which I highly recommend), you need a smartphone or webcam to get started. The Logitech c930 is less than $70 USD and films in 1080p HD. This is the camera I used for my first 18 months on Udemy, as well. It provides a great picture for talking heads.


To record your screen, you need some form of screen capture software. For Mac, you can always use the built-in QuickTime software. For Windows, OBS is a good free option, but a little complicated to configure.


You will not be perfect and make Hollywood quality blockbusters when filming your first course. Remember, your first course is always going to be your worst course. Just try to improve each and every course.


Also, when filming your first course, pick a topic that is reasonable for you to complete in a relatively short period of time. Don’t try to make a 20-hour Python programming course on your first attempt. Instead, pick something in the 90-minute range. Make it a project-based course. Something that you can finish in 1-2 months.


For most people, it will take 15-30 hours of writing, filming, and editing to create a 90-minute course. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it if you can do it right.


Now, will the equipment above be all that you use forever? Well, I certainly hope not. This will get you started. Hopefully, you then start earning some money and can reinvest back into your new business of online teaching. My current setup includes a set of LED lights ($800), a prosumer model HD video camera ($1200), a really nice lavelier mic ($400), a teleprompter system for my camera ($500), and a really nice desktop computer to do all our editing on ($4200). Did I need all that to get started?


No! But over time we added a piece here and there, and now our quality of our new courses i son par with the professional production companies here on Udemy and beyond. That makes it easier for students to decide to buy our courses when compared against the "pros".


I hope this helps you get started out there,

Jason Dion