Make or Break It: Filming your Intro Lecture

As we’ve covered in other articles, just because a student enrolls in your course doesn’t mean they’re committed to taking it!  Your introduction lecture is one of the most important lectures in your entire course because it’s your first (and sometimes only!) chance to convince your students that your course is the correct one for them.

In this article we’ll cover how to take your introduction lecture script and turn it into a fully formed video.  In the final section of this article we’ll go over the next steps for you to take to film your own introduction lecture.  Whether you’re creating your very first course or optimizing the introduction of your tenth, follow the instructions below to make sure you are providing a world-class introduction to your expertise.

Step 1: Decide How you Want to Film

You already know from scripting out your course that you’re going to appear on camera in your introduction lecture.  After all, nothing says that you believe in your material than putting yourself in front of the camera for your students to see!  However, there are several other things to also consider when planning out your introduction lecture to set the correct tone for your course to come.  For example, do you want to appear relaxed to put your students at ease? Or would it be better to appear energized and eager to get started?

The background you choose for your shot, the lighting, the activities you’re engaged in — all these can all help establish the right tone for your course. Or they can set the wrong one if you’re not careful. For example, if your course is for professional skydivers trying to learn some new techniques, you may want to record your intro video in the middle of a dive. But, if you are teaching beginners how to overcome their fear of the first jump, you may find it preferable to record your intro video while sipping coffee on the flight deck to demonstrate your calm approach to going up for a dive.

Other things to consider when preparing to record include:

  • Time management: Can you say everything you need to say in 3 minutes or less?
  • Props: Do you need anything besides yourself and the camera, lights, and microphone?
  • Background: What will help you make a good impression? (For example, don’t use a blank wall when a homey bookshelf would work better, and vice versa).
  • Other people: Do you need anyone else to help you record or to interact with you on camera?

Of all the videos in your course, this is likely to be the most viewed, so be deliberate about it. Take your time and…

Step 2: Get it Right!

After filming and editing your introduction, look at it with a critical eye.  Is it something you feel great about?  If not, consider reshooting your intro a few more times until you feel really happy with your take.  Here are some things to keep in mind when evaluating your intro video with a critic’s eye:

  • Do you feel like your timing was slightly off?  Were you rushed or too slow?
  • Was your lighting not perfect?  Any shadows, or glare on your face?
  • Was the sound a bit off?  Was there loud traffic in the middle of the shot, or a loud appliance’s fan?
  • Did you seem a bit…timid or boring?  High energy and a personable instructor are incredibly important for your intro.  It can sometimes be hard to gauge your own energy levels until seeing yourself on the screen!

If you think you could improve in any of these areas, consider reshooting your video (and uploading another test video, which we’ll get to in the next step).  Just a reminder that you can always reshoot your intro video after you’ve created the rest of your course videos, or even after you’ve published and started receiving feedback from students!  Once you feel good about your video, you can move onto…

Step 3: Uploading your Video + Getting Feedback

If all of this sounds like a lot to tackle on your own, fear not: we’re here to help!  Once you’ve created your intro video you can upload it as a test video for the Udemy Review Team to give you feedback on.  If you want extra feedback, note in your comments to the Review team that you’d like feedback on your delivery as well as your technical set-up.

Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from the Review Team (or from your peers in the Udemy Studio) you can add it into your curriculum. That may be one short Udemy lecture but it’s one large step towards creating an unforgettable learning experience for your students!

It’s Your Turn: Filming your Intro Video

Step 1: Set up your Studio.  When considering your filming studio, make sure to take into account the things we go over in Step 1: Decide How You Want to Film.  Once you’ve decided on a location, set up your equipment.

Step 2: Rehearse your Script.  Being on camera for the first time can be a bit scary!  Rehearse your script and don’t be afraid to be a bit silly before turning the camera on — it will help your nerves and create a better final product!

Step 3: Film and Edit your Video!

Step 4: Upload your video to the Test Video tool so our Review Team can give you some feedback. You should also share your Test Video to the Udemy Studio for feedback from your peers and the Udemy Community team.


5 thoughts on “Make or Break It: Filming your Intro Lecture”

  1. vid says:

    Fine way of telling, and nice article to get data about my presentation subject, which i am
    going to present in university.

  2. Art Lader says:

    Thank you, very useful.

  3. Is it possible to make a powerpoint test video instead of a video of me?

    1. Udemy Instructor Team says:

      Hey Tamara, it is possible, but we do highly recommend having a talking-head video as your introduction to create rapport with your students! If you do decide to go with a Powerpoint, though, definitely include a photo of yourself to have students feel connected to you.

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