Video Clinic: Fast Training Video Creation Workflow

Written By

Jonathan Halls

June 27, 2018

One of the challenges for trainers, in our time-crunched world, where we’re doing a million and one things a day, is knowing how to make engaging training videos fast. After all, today’s trainers don’t just design and deliver learning. Many also curate and create content. The secret to making and curating all those training videos quickly is to have a video creation workflow. This may sound overly organized but most of us follow workflows for everyday tasks whether they’re simple or complex, important or personal. Here’s an example everyday task workflow.

Every morning, just before 6 AM, our alarm clock buzzes. By mutual consent, we hit snooze three times then I stumble out of bed and trudge down to the kitchen to perform my morning duties.

The most important of these is making coffee. As much as it’s a ritual, I strive to brew the same perfect coffee every morning using my tried and trusted coffee press. It’s funny how we get picky about coffee.

As well as making coffee, I unload the dishwasher, fill a watering can, and then water the pot plants on our deck.

These three tasks used to take 22 minutes. But I’ve been able to whittle that time down to about 14 minutes by changing the sequence and order in which I do things.

If I started boiling the water first, then put the watering can under the faucet for a few minutes to fill up, I could grind the coffee beans and unload much of the dishwasher while I waited.

Then, when the water is hot, and the watering can full, I could pour water into my coffee press to steep, and as it steeps, head outside and water my plants.

Good workflow ensures I get all the right things done, in the right order and done well. Workflow is equally important if I want to make engaging training videos fast.

Making videos requires you to manage multiple tasks and priorities that range from technical to editorial. Doing the right things in the right order is your key to ensuring that each video consistently hits the right quality and you don’t waste time in production.

The key to consistently producing great video is following a workflow

In almost 30 years of teaching media production to media professionals around the globe, I can confidently say that those consistently churning out great content follow a creation workflow.

Like my morning routine, a workflow is a sequence of steps you take to perform a task. It becomes a habit and you can perform the task faster without compromising quality.

Good workflows save time by ensuring tasks aren’t duplicated. And as much as possible, each step builds on the previous step. They prevent mistakes. And the process becomes a habit, so tasks are performed almost automatically. This frees the mind for creative tasks.

An important factor in production workflow is to allow sufficient time to planning. It makes no sense to write an objective after you’ve finished filming. Generally, allocate 40% of your project time to planning (Figure 1).

Devote 40 percent of the time allocated to your project to plan content and prepare production. The remaining time should be divided between filming and editing the video.

Figure 1: Video production workflow

One of the biggest struggles training professionals face when they start to make video content, is knowing what to do in what order. If you nail workflow, you’ll find you make video faster. And it will be of consistently higher quality.

Basic video workflow

In my book Rapid Media Development for Trainers, I run through the workflow I share with my clients. This workflow helped individual producers and production teams speed up production and improve their content quality. Here’s a distilled overview you might adopt or adapt to your situation.

Step One: Identify the Objective and Learner.
Before anything, identify who your learner is and what they can expect to know or do after watching your video. This is like an editorial statement and becomes a yardstick to evaluate content element.

Step Two: Break Your Content into Chunks.
Breaking down your learning objective into chunks forces you to think carefully about every aspect of the topic. Brainstorm on paper, use card sorting, or Post-it notes on the wall.

Step Three: Identify the Best Modality.
Video is not the ideal modality for every topic. If your learner does not need to see something to understand a topic, a podcast, infographic, or text-based content may be more effective.

Step Four: Identify the Device the Learner is Using
Find out what device your learners will access video on and craft your content for it. For example, captions look good when viewed on a desktop but are lost on a small screen.

Step Five: Plan the Video
With this information, you can plan the content. This involves research, creating a structure, drawing the storyboard, writing the script, and planning other elements like music and graphics. This goes faster when you have completed steps one to four.

Step Six: Prepare the Production
This is where you’ll conduct a risk assessment, draw up a shot plan, scout your location, and get permission or a permit to film if it’s in a public location. You’ll check equipment is in working order, charge batteries, and pack everything ready to go.

Step Seven: Shoot the Video
When you’ve planned well, shooting the video will take less than 20 percent of overall project time. Make sure to ensure your shots are crisp and clear, otherwise it adds time and headache during editing.

Step Eight: Edit the Video
Editing is where you pull together all the footage, graphics, music, and sound effects into one final product. Generally, this takes about 40% of project time.

Workflows take the guesswork out of any task, whether it be as simple as brewing that perfect coffee or making engaging training videos fast. In the case of video production workflows, they speed up production and free your mind for the creative aspects of making content to engage learners and help them learn.

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