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1.2 Review of popular video styles (e.g. Khan Academy, TedTalk, Masterclass, etc.)

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You know you want to make a video, but what kind (see our overview of common video formats for even more options)? Before you film at home, it's a great idea to review some video formats that might work for you. We have collected some popular styles (Khan Academy, Masterclass, TedTalks, etc.) that might provide you with some inspiration; bear in mind that none of the options below are typically self-captured - so be kind to yourself as you replicate the styles.

Deciding on which format to use depends on:

  1. Your personal method of teaching (both techniques (e.g. chalk n'talk) and style (e.g. socratic))
  2. Your skill level using the technology (as well as your interest level)
  3. Your budget (depending on purchasing requirements)
  4. Your timeline

This guide will address certain popular self-captured video styles and what hardware and software is needed to make that happen. If you are looking for more information on how to self-capture content, consider looking at the guide to how to self-capture (and share) course content, or consider participating in the remote editing process with help on any video editing needs.

This guide covers the following self-capture styles:

  1. Khan Academy Style Videos (Tablet Capture with Voiceover)
  2. MasterClass Style Videos (Video Recording of Yourself)
  3. Ted Talk Style Videos (Video Recording + Voice over PowerPoint)
  4. Whiteboard Style Videos (Webcam/Microphone + Whiteboard + Markers)

Before you Begin

Review the Icon Legend for this guide: The icons are intended to provide a quick indicator of the technical proficiency (skill level), the type of teaching style the method is most aligned with (teaching style), the amount of set up and production required (time), and the cost of purchasing equipment and licenses (budget). In each, there's lots of room for movement and each requires personal reflection.

1. Khan Academy Style Videos

Khan Academy is a well-regarded online repository of video course material. Many students self-select to use these videos to compliment and enhance their learning.

Producing a similar video at home would entail...self-capturing your display (either computer or tablet) as you draw, while recording your audio. You would not appear on camera. This format is great because it maximizes one of the students favourite things - being able to see the content being generated (written, drawn, etc) in real time. Unlike PowerPoint, which can be difficult to pace sometimes, tablet drawing is much easier to pace due to the natural restriction of drawing/writing time.

1.1. Example of a Khan Academy Video

1.2. Is this video style right for you?

Benefits Drawbacks
(can be) low cost set up instructor not visible on video
natural pacing restrictions (how fast you can write) limited real estate visible at one time
close substitution to chalkboard writing adding complexity (e.g. an introduction on camera) adds production time and equipment needs
popular style

1.3. What do you need to make a video like this?

If you invest in one thing for this style...make it your microphone! Good quality audio is important to ensure your content is clear, and the listening experience is smooth for your students. Big improvements can come from isolating yourself from background noises, but a good microphone also helps to improve audio fidelity. See our microphone recommendations.

2. Masterclass Style Video

Masterclass offers a series of courses, usually led by a prominent figure in the field (think Chris Hadfield teaching space exploration or Tony Hawk teaching skateboarding). They are known for being well produced, intimate, thorough, and extremely engaging. There are typically extra production elements like an intro, lower third graphic (subtitle) and music. While effective, these add to production timelines.

Producing a similar video at home would entail...filming yourself using high quality equipment as this format is primarily you talking to the camera, explaining a concept (though it doesn’t have to be quite as high production to be effective). You would also record yourself doing a live demo, writing on a whiteboard/ chalkboard, or any other thing that you can imagine to film yourself doing. This format also requires more time investment, effort and skill level to record as you need to map out how your video elements fit together, record them, and then edit them together, but is very engaging to students. This is also the most expensive type of video to create, as you'll need a full home recording kit plus licensed editing software.

2.1. Example of a Master-class style video

2.2. Is this video style right for you?

Benefits Drawbacks
Builds strong connection with learners Combine styles, which means expertise in many different formats
Very polished production Requires large investment in hardware and software
Highly re-usable and long lasting Requires controlled and quiet environment for best results
Communicates in styles, very flexible On camera presence is critical

2.3. What do you need to make a video like this?


  1. Computer + external input tablet
  2. Microphone
  3. Drawing Software
  4. Screen capture software
  5. Editing Software
  6. Camera + tripod
  7. Lighting
  8. Consistent set and controlled environment


  1. Tablet + stylus

If you invest in one thing for this style...make it your lighting! If appearing on video, you want to make sure your recorded video is clear, and you are visible and in focus. This is affected by a multitude of factors, but lighting is key; most HD cameras capture excellent footage if the environment is well lit.

3. Ted Talk Style Videos

TEDxTalks are videos both professionally-produced and self-produced. Their slogan is, "Ideas worth spreading." They are known for taking a typical presentation up a notch (think Steve Jobs presenting at an Apple conference). They showcase the charisma of the speaker, but often also include a visual interlude in the form of presentation materials.

Producing a similar format at home would combine self-recording via your cameras as well as screen capturing your display. You would have voice over for your slides/ notes, but also you would record yourself on camera (perhaps to bring emphasis to certain materials, or introduce yourself). There is a good mix of being able to engage students while on camera, and also explain content like you would traditionally with PowerPoint.

3.1. Example of a TedTalk video

3.2. Is this video style right for you?

Benefits Drawbacks
Builds strong connection with learners Combine styles, which means expertise in many different formats
Bit more flexibility in terms of quality Requires investment in hardware
Re-usable and long lasting Requires licensed editing software
Good pattern interruption; incorporates multiple video styles On camera presence is critical

3.3. What do you need to make a video like this?

4. Whiteboard Style Videos

Whiteboard videos are actually often not done on a whiteboard - they are done with digital animation tools. The style allows you see to see the idea formed in front of you, drawn while a voiceover provides an explanation (see some comments on whiteboard animated videos). But, this doesn't mean you that you cannot take the great things about the style (crisp, clean, and well-paced)

Producing a similar format at home would involve a whiteboard (or even a piece of paper) that you use markers or thick pens to draw/write on. To prepare, you would map out your content to ensure effective use of the real estate of the board (or paper). You would set up your camera to record your hand as you write and speak. You could also use a document camera.

4.1. Example of a Whiteboard video

4.2. Is this video style right for you?

Benefits Drawbacks
Low-technical barrier High hardware and software set up
Quick Requires some artistic ability
High fidelity to familiar format (chalkboard) Quality tied to preparation and rehearsal
Natural pacing (limited to speed of hand writing) Can involved high amount of post-production
Student favourite (like to see hand of professor) Requires physical space and quiet environment

4.3. What do you need to make a video like this?


  1. Physical Space + quiet environment
  2. Camera or document camera
  3. Computer + external input tablet
  4. Microphone
  5. Editing Software

Optional (but recommended):

  1. Tablet + stylus
  2. Lighting
  3. Tripod
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