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A warm welcome to the world of creative and educational video production. When I started

with first video projects in schools in North London in 1991 little did I know what a big, popular phenomenon it would become over the years. Connecting video production with education is creative, expressive and helps collaboration. It is a wonderful tool for communication and feedback and at the same time can help students to understand more about the power of media messages. It is a useful addition to explore the connection of visual language and oral language and also how language connects with culture.

I hope that you find this guide inspiring and useful. Ten pages are not enough to include every detail of a video production process. Please connect with us if questions arise but also if you want to share your video work.

Good luck with your first production!

Armin armin.hottmann@mediaeducation.net



You have decided to use video for your language lesson. Congratulations! This is a good decision and we hope that we can help with you with this guide (and Video as a Learning Resource) to get started and develop your skills in the months and years to come. You are also quite likely reading this booklet because you teach languages. The VIDEOforALL project will inspire you to discover many different ways of incorporating video in your teaching.

You don't need to be a video production expert before you get started. Young people have often a lot of media skills already. There might also other colleagues who are happy to help maybe you can collaborate with your Art or ICT colleagues. For you as the language teacher it is most important that you keep the concept of the production in your hand, not get bogged down in the technical detail.

If you have limited classroom time you can outsource some of the production. Students can for example record the material after school or do the editing as a free time activity. You can also consider that part of the production is done as a graded homework including tasks such as the writing of a script.


Video production offers a wide range of formats starting from very simple one shot recordings which can be uploaded straight away up to "proper" video productions. There is a range of technologies which you can use to record and edit material and there are more and more web tools where you produce video directly online. Video can include all sorts of media: still images, moving images, screen recordings, music and sound.

But first of all: keep things simple. Especially if this is your first project it is a good idea to use one of the entry tasks to get started. Once you feel confident with what you are doing you can take it a step up. Also consider what technology is available. As far as the technical development is concerned, you are quite likely to have enough technology to make a start.

We don't advise teachers to buy a camera first before they start with the projects. Use what you have and then you can see if you want to add more technology in the long run.

What do the different productions look like? Here are the three basic categories:

SIMPLE VIDEO EXERCISES. Simple tasks would include recordings with a mobile phone or a webcam, screen recordings or any other one shot videos which are uploaded directly with no video editing. This also includes video activities which can be done online such as animations where image, text and sound are combined. Simple exercises are useful warm up activities if bigger productions are planned.

BASIC VIDEO PRODUCTION. Basic productions include a bigger focus on camera work and video editing. All media material can be used such as still images, graphics, moving images or screen recordings. Productions would include photo stories, simple news programmes or puppet shows. For video editing you could use software such as Movie Maker or iMovie.

ADVANCED VIDEO PRODUCTION. With this we mean longer video productions were a video camera or better still a camera with video function is used. It also includes more developed video editing partly with the packages mentioned above but also more developed software such as Final Cut, Premiere or Vegas. Productions would need considerably more time and would include documentaries, drama productions or studio work.


For us, video production is not just about the technical skills of using a camera and editing equipment. It is a creative and reflective process which helps the students to move forward with the media and analytical skills. It is important not to forget this part of the task.

Students can be encouraged to take ownership of the process, gaining agency in their learning process. The teacher’s role is then that of a facilitator. Encourage your students to share ideas, discuss detail and agree on how to proceed. For instance you can help students work with mind maps.

Teamwork is essential for every media production. We don't find it a good idea if students work alone on their video. Not only because professional productions are always done in teams - mainly because teamwork offers a lot more space to reflect on and discuss each step of the production: ideas, acting, camera work and editing.

When we approach any production, even the most simple ones, we want to make sure that the students have taken time for preparation. This includes scripts, descriptions or storyboards. Storyboards are sketches of notes of what the video will look like. This helps the imagination but also the joint discussion so that every team member is clear about what is planned.

Make sure that there is enough time left in the end for evaluation. This can be done in the form of questionnaires, class discussion or a written or recorded report. In general it is important that students get feedback from their peers. They need to find out if their intended message is coming across to a wider audience.

Make sure that privacy is observed. Get written permission from parents if the students are young before you start the project. And only use image, video or sound material where copyright is clear. You cannot generally use commercial footage such as clips from Film and Television and popular music.

Creative Commons licences are internationally recognised ways of ensuring content that you create and share openly attributes your work, helping you to ensure that it is used according to your wishes. Consider applying a CC BY licence.

There are some tips:

Start out your scenario with a broad theme and let students focus on narrowing it down.

Let your learners brainstorm and create an open atmosphere for creative ideas, taking responsibility for what they know and what they don’t know.

Avoid a prescribed and fixed scheme of activities for groups work at the beginning; instead the learning can be scaffolded using different assignments or outlining the phases of the group work.

Feel free to foster confusion by asking unexpected questions, to stimulate students to discuss different possibilities with one another, searching for opposites, for opponents of the particular idea to consider other perspectives. Pose questions that make students imagine and explore possibilities in their widest context. Questions such as: What would happen if this was not true? In which situations does this not apply?

To create a successful learning experience, it is important to let students reflect on the activities that they have undertaken, encouraging students to continuously articulate their ideas and understanding of the experience through follow up activities. Support feedback from the teams and encourage them to be explicit about encountered problems and unresolved questions. Let the learners summarise and reflect on their intellectual achievements and plan their future achievements.

These activities should help to produce some concrete outcomes with which the group can work later.

For further information on using and exploiting video, please refer to another VIDEOforALL project guide, Video as a Learning Resource.


The collection of video practices will rely on different tools for recording:

–  –  –

This chapter will concentrate on the use of a camera. If you want to do screen recordings you will need to have specific software. Check out the additional information in Video as a Learning Resource. If you work directly online you normally need no equipment, just your phone, tablet or computer with an online connection.


Video cameras have changed dramatically in the last two decades and are very affordable as well as of high image and sound quality. Current mobile phones have better video quality then a generic video camera had ten years ago. For simple and basic production you can use any of the cameras listed below. If you want to work on advanced productions we suggest that you use a video camera or a still camera with video function since you might want to rely on the use of a lens.

MOBILE PHONES. The most available video cameras. These days many people have one in their pocket. The image quality is very good if it is a current model. Sound quality is limited and mobile phones have a fixed lens which can be often be rather wide angle which can distort faces slightly.

WEBCAMS. Most notebooks have a webcam built in. Webcams are ideal for recordings in the classroom or office, for work with feedback or communication. The quality is okay, normally of lower quality than a mobile phone. As with mobile phones they normally have a fixed lens and they are not very mobile if you plan to work on different locations.

STANDARD VIDEO CAMERAS. Generic video cameras in the sub-professional market have become less popular. This has to do with the availability of smart phones but also DSLR (digital SLRs with interchangeable lenses) which offer better images. Video cameras are easy to use and handle well. They normally also have a strong zoom which can help with some recordings. Sound is normally good and some of the better cameras have the option to connect an external microphone (see below). Action cameras normally have fixed lenses and rather poor sound. They are less useful for language video projects.

STILL CAMERAS WITH VIDEO FUNCTION. Most current still cameras have a video function. You can use these cameras for still and moving images. Compact cameras are a good step up from phones. If you want to work more on advanced production you should consider the use of a DSLR camera. These cameras produce nice images and have become popular in the semi-professional market. The use of different lenses offer more potential for creative work.

Look out for "prime" lenses, lenses with a fixed focal length (no zoom lens). They are favoured by professional filmmakers. The sound with DSLR is not so good however. Newer models offer a microphone input or you can use a separate sound recorder.

Tools for capture of interaction through and on a computer screen such as those used for screen capture and tele collaboration vary in their sophistication and capabilities and are changing rapidly as html5 tools start to proliferate. The capabilities of such tools to capture both audio and video vary in sophistication and system demands. In order to use such tools

well it helps to understand:

● which hardware is being accessed by the programme to capture voice and video so that you can adjust the input if necessary;

● how to troubleshoot the audio and video settings on the hardware you are using;

● the factors which may affect performance (bandwidth, configuration of network, processing power on your computer or device).


Since we are dealing with language video projects the sound is very important. If one cannot clearly understand what is said then the big production effort might be in vain. It helps if you are close to the sound with your camera. If your camera has a separate input for a microphone then this is also a very good support. A headphone socket which is included with better cameras can help you check if the sound quality is good. You can also use sound recorders if you want very good sound but this will make your post-production more complicated. They can be a good idea for photo stories. Free or cheap software sound recorders are available for Android or iOS phones.

If you record static scenes such as drama, news or events then a tripod is useful. It reduces the shaking of the camera. Tripods work well with still or video cameras. Phones will need special adapters if you want to put them on a tripod.

Lights can help with inside recordings. You don't need to get professional lights. Modern cameras work well with less light and you can explore existing lights. Strong construction lights can be useful if you have a white ceiling. Just bounce them against the ceiling and you will get a soft and even light. Reflectors (such as whiteboards) can help outside if there is not enough light on the face of your key people.


Recording is straightforward. With cheap storage on hardware such as memory cards or in the cloud, it is tempting to record as much as possible. Be aware that this makes your postproduction longer since you will need to look through everything you have recorded. Here are three common recording steps.

PREPARATION. Make sure that your technology is working, that you have enough space on one or more memory cards and that the battery or batteries are charged. Check up on lights and the sound, especially if you use an external microphone or a sound recorder. Also double check that the recording location is reasonably quiet.

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