by Seth Daugherty
The SCC library just completed its first in-house video for faculty and students on searching the SCC Library's Discovery service titled What is SmartSearch? It seemed like writing an article on the software used to create the video may not only inspire other instructors to create their own instructional videos, but also provide an opportunity to shamelessly plug the library videos which can be found here: https://vimeo.com/scclibrary/smartsearch
Okay, now that that's out of the way let's get down to the nuts and bolts of what it took to create the SmartSearch video.
It begins with a script:
For a short 3 to 5 minute video, which is the length I recommend, it's crucial to write a bullet-proof script. The script for a 3 to 5 minute video should range from 750 to 1250 words. The script guides the creative process and although edits can and probably will be made later, it's important to have a script that you think is very close to finished before moving forward to the next step.
Let's make art:
Now it's time to make the images for the video. I use Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is a vector-based software program which means the images can be enlarged to any size and remain pixel-perfect. At this stage in the process, it's important to decide on a few main colors you'll work with for every image you create to give the video a look of consistency and professionalism. I use SCC's school colors to support the SCC brand and because it matches the SCC Website.
So you have all the vector images you think you'll need for the animated film. Next, export the Illustrator images to .png files. Now upload the .png files into Adobe After Effects and get animating. Every animation should have been well thought-out when writing the script. I would keep things simple here, using opacity, scale, and position animations exclusively. This is when you should choose the fonts (if you haven't already). Just like the colors, choose just a few fonts and use them consistently throughout the project.
Now it's time to bring the script to life with audio narration. I use Adobe Audition. I do a few takes, choose the best take, and add a few audio effects to balance the sound. I also delete white noise which is common between chunks of narration.
Putting it all together:
Finally, I go into Adobe Premier and add the After Effects file and Audition file. I then cut and edit both files to get the timing just right. This is where the animated video comes to life in what might be called post-production. When I am finished, I export the video as an .mp4 video file ready for public consumption. Yay!
YouTube and Vimeo:
Finally the video is uploaded to YouTube. YouTube first, because it automatically creates closed captioning for the video. It won't be perfect (but pretty close). I edit the closed captioning in YouTube and when I am happy with it, I export the closed captioning file as a .srt file which is a type of file used for closed captioning videos. I then upload the video and the .srt file to Vimeo. Why do I used YouTube and Vimeo? YouTube is great for exposure and the closed captioning features are amazing and Vimeo doesn't have any ads and looks more professional.
If this sounds like a lot of work, it's because it is a lot of work. The Adobe workflow works great for me, but I spent many, many hours creating the SmartSearch video. Planning is the most important step so don't rush through this. The more concepts and ideas you have for your video, the easier life will be when you start creating the images and the animations. Good luck.
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