Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

Frequently Asked Questions: Lightboard

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We have one Lightboard at Engineering. It is located at the Bahen Centre in rm. 3116. If you'd like to film using the Lightboard, please send a request to [email protected].

What is a Lightboard?

A lightboard is a LED illuminated glass sheet that is roughly the same size as a single chalkboard. It is used to record course content and is ideally suited to problem solving, diagrams, equations, and any other content for which you might normally use a chalkboard.

What does a Lightboard video look like?

So glad you asked! Here's a sample done by Prof. Marianne Touchie, from the Department of Civil Engineering.

Why use a Lightboard versus a chalkboard?

There are positive and negatives to both methods. The main instructional benefit of using a lightboard is that it allows the instructor to face the learners (ie. the camera) the entire time. There's no loss of connection, which can happen when the instructor turns away from the camera.

You'll notice in the table below that there are many similarities between using both methods. In fact, many of the best things about a chalkboard are preserved - the pacing is still moderated by your own handwriting speed (which is much preferred by students versus a pre-designed slide presentation). Both are extremely authentic and personal methods for filming that allow for instructors to be themselves, which is important when fostering a sense of connection with your learners.

Lightboard Chalkboard
Allows Instructor to face the learners (camera) Instructor is often turned away from learners
Does not require room booking Requires room booking
Clearest text and diagrams Clear text and diagrams
Requires multiple staff for filming Requires one staff for filming
Pacing is determined by handwriting speed Pacing is determined by handwriting speed
Requires little post production Requires little post production
Allows for superimposing of images in post production Allows for floating images in post production
Multi-coloured Markers Usually only white chalk
Only one "board" Often offers multiple boards

How long does it take to film?

The length of time it takes to film depends on the type of preparation you've done (this is detailed in a separate article) and the length of the content. One of the things that does eat time is that once you've finished a "board," we need to erase and dry it before you can begin your next section. We estimate that in one hour, you can film 2-3 short segments. Of course, some of this does depend on the number of takes you choose to complete before calling each piece done.

How long should each video be?

As with all online video content, the general recommendation is the shorter, the better. Research shows that attention drops significantly after 6mins. Spending time "chunking" your content into short, concise videos is worth the time spent. Sometimes, this happens naturally with the lightboard, since your real estate is limited. Once you've filled one board, it might be time to start another video.

What should I wear?

This one actually has a definitive answer - dark clothing, no patterns, no lettering. You want to be complimentary to the black background, but still ensure that the writing shows up clearly even when you stand behind it.

What do I need to bring?

You need to bring any artifacts/scripts that you've created that help support your videos. We'll provide any equipment needed, including the markers.

If you are using a script, or you have another file, it's helpful to send this to us in advance so that we can have it set up (this reduced set up time).

What does a typical filming session look like?

A typical session caps at 90 minutes. We find that after this point, energy levels are down and it starts to show on camera. All you need to do day of is show up, with your materials (ex. script, notes). The hard part for you (the planning and rehearsal) is all done, now it's on us. We try to make your filming experience as smooth as possible.

  1. Review the Plan: When you arrive, we'll do a brief run down of your production plan (how many videos, how long, etc.). If this is your first time filming, we'll spend a bit longer in this segment to ensure that you are comfortable.
  2. Review on camera behaviour: We'll review our tips on how to act on camera, including what we need from you for our post production editing. You don't need to remember anything - we're there to remind you.
  3. Get mic'ed up: We'll provide a wireless microphone for you.
  4. Set up teleprompter: If you have a script, we'll set up a monitor that has a teleprompter.
  5. Start Filming: We don't really do practice takes anymore - recording is so easy now that we might as well capture it in case you do something amazing! Plus, the first take is often the best take.
  6. In Between Video Work: Our team will erase the board for you as needed (we also provide the markers).
  7. End of Session: We'll review any special editing notes that came up, but, mostly, you're all done! We'll turn the video around for your review as quickly as possible.

Do I have to write backwards?

No even a little bit! The camera reverses the image automatically during filming, so the final product makes it appear, like magic, as if you are writing correctly. This does mean that you are also reversed on camera - revealing perhaps what your (evil) doppleganger might look like.

How long does post-production take?

Post-production usually takes a few days. The actual editing is quite quick, but, rendering can take some time. We normally will do a first draft of the video, send it to you for review, and then incorporate any change requests or fix any errors.

How much advance notice do you need for filming?

If you are filming one video, we can accommodate one off requests easily. If you are thinking about converting an entire course, then we'll need to schedule in this larger project. Ideally, you'll also look for funding opportunities to support the project.

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