Video tutorial: our tips for success
By Nicolas Pagniez
Before starting your video tutorial, we encourage you to read these few lines, to go step by step.l.
Producing tutorials is particularly legitimate when you need to show a gesture, a technique, a process that can’t just be said or written. The format also appeals as a didactic support for those who need to see and hear to better understand. Here is our recipe for success in this format.
1 – Be surgical in your choice of subject
What do you want the audience to learn from your video? Your tutorial video must answer a well identified pain point or else it will not bring enough value and will quickly lose your audience.
2 – State at the beginning of your video the purpose of your tutorial and the intention of your video
Learning something does not mean giving a raw list of instructions. You need to contextualize your tutorial by explaining its benefits. The best practice is to give a purpose to each content and to link all the tutorials by announcing the theme of the next tutorial.
3 – List and time all the steps of your tutorial precisely
List each step and add an intro and an outro. In parallel, estimate how many seconds will be spent for each sequence. Then, we advise you to ask yourself how many sequences will be necessary to edit a step of your tutorial: will I simply state in front of the camera with the dressing what will require a sequence or will I use several illustration shots, several sequences to illustrate a step of my tutorial. With this approach you will have a clear vision of your storyboard and production needs.
4 – Put yourself in the shoes of a non-knowing person
This requires 4 essential points:
Vocabulary: be as non-technical as possible, or at least specify your technical terms if their use is unavoidable.
The formulation of your sentences: be as clear and specific as possible in your terms. Be careful, not being jargonous does not mean lacking precision.
Rephrase as simply as possible the subtitles for each instruction: we advise you to double your instructions with subtitles or even to simplify what is said during the recording with subtitles where all the slightly oral formulations are removed.
Multiply the media of illustration: the video is a medium of evocation and demonstration. Combining sound with a shot that illustrates what you are doing is a good practice. This is particularly obvious in the professions of gesture such as cooking, crafts … where the slightest manipulation is accompanied by the filmed gesture. This is also the case in computer tutorials where screen captures are essential to explain a computer manipulation.
5 – Think about deleting the moments in your shoot that don’t add value
In a cooking tutorial, you are never shown in real time the cooking times. The tutorial is not a live event. You can speed up sequences that illustrate a repetitive gesture or delete certain parts of your video rush. Do the same for your professional tutorial, avoid frills, loading time, preparation time. And don’t hesitate to speed up certain phases if they are repetitive.
6 – Anticipate all your illustration supports
You are going to illustrate what you are saying with keywords, images, screenshots and even illustration shots. What will you choose? It all depends on the importance of the object and its use during your tutorial. For example, to show an object, you have three choices:
Will you show it by holding it in your main shot?
Will you embed it as a keyword in your video?
Or will you dedicate an illustration shot to it?
It all depends on your storyboard and how you want to deal with the elements you mention in your tutorial.
7 – Adapt your content to your audience. And update it!
A tutorial is not fixed in time. As a learning medium, it can always be improved. Take advantage of user feedbacks or comments published on the networks to improve your video and make it a reference video on the subject.
8 – In-house, focus on substance…without neglecting form
In the case of a tutorial dedicated to internal use, you are not asked to do a Spielberg or Nolan movie. Content is more important than form. If you answer the exact pain point you mention at the beginning of your video, you’ll be forgiven for some approximations as a novice videographer. Just think about the sound and image quality. As for the script and editing, you’ll get better with practice!
9 – Test your tutorial
The criterion of success of your tutorial is quite objective. To know if your tutorial is successful, don’t hesitate to test your format against a test sample. According to the feedback, modify the sequences where there are still shadows. The objective of your tutorial will be fulfilled as long as your testers succeed with your video.
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