Course Equipment Recommendations

What equipment is needed for online course creation?

The Course Equipment Recommendations is a downloadable list of the best software and hardware for creating online courses on a budget!

Let’s start with the video camera.

There are two things to look for when buying a video camera:  The display resolution and the frames per second (FPS). The display resolution is the number of pixels that display on a screen and is usually quoted as width by height. The more pixels a screen can display, the better quality the video will appear.

Here are a few common display resolutions you’ve likely come across:

  • Standard High Definition (HD), which is 1280x720 pixels is referred to as 720p.
  • Full HD, which is 1920x1080 pixels is referred to as 1080p.
  • A relatively new format is known as Ultra HD, or 4K HD, which is 3840x2160 pixels.

The second thing to consider is the frames per second (or FPS). Videos are comprised of a series of consecutive images. Each individual image is known as a frame. Shuffling quickly through frames give the illusion of movement when played at a high frequency, or frame rate. The FPS of a video literally indicates how many frames the video shuffles through in a single second.

Next, you’ll be needing a tripod.

The cheaper, the better really. If it has three legs and can attach to your camera, buy it. The only thing you might consider is the height. When you shoot “talking head” shots, you want the camera to be at eye level and many tripods cap at 60 inches. (Admittedly, you can always put your tripod on top of your desk.)

Third, you may want a lighting kit.

There’s nothing like poor lighting to make a video look amateur, which distracts from your course content. An actual lighting kit, like the Triple Lighting Kit from CowBoyStudio, is a useful product for serious course creators.

Moving on to microphones.

When a student enrolls in your course, they’re dedicating the next few hours to listening to your voice. Nasality can’t be easily fixed, but feedback, background noise, and fuzziness when recording your voice can be reduced with decent microphones. Depending on your selected lecture format, you’ll need either a desktop microphone, a lavalier (or “lav”) microphone, or both.

Desktop microphones are those, believe or not, that sit on your desktop. Desktop microphones like the Audio-Technica 2020 USB Microphone or Blue Yeti USB Microphone are great mic’s for online courses.

A lavalier microphone is what you might have seen a news anchor wear on their collar. This type of microphone is critical for any “talking head”-style footage but can also be used for recording screencasts. The Audio-Technica Lavalier Microphone is a good option.

You may want a screencast software.

Screencast-O-Matic costs $15 per year for the full feature product and to produce recordings without their logo in the corner. It records in HD and exports to all common video formats. Though, it doesn’t have any advanced features like animations or editing capabilities beyond cropping the beginning and end of each video.

Camtasia is an industry favorite with all the previously-mentioned features. It will cost you, but it’s a must for successful course creators. The full-fledged version is only for PC users.

Lastly, you’ll need video and audio editing software.

If you have a Macintosh computer, iMovie is a feature-filled free editing software. Windows Movie Maker isn’t as powerful, but it’s a free software for PC’s. Both programs allow you to import the footage you record, splice-and-dice your video, and layer on voiceovers and music.

To improve audio quality when using these programs, you could consider an audio editing software like Audacity. Import your audio and increase the volume; remove background noise; and edit out fillers words like “um” and “uh.”

The more programs you use in your production process, the more tedious the process will be. To save time, you could try Adobe Premiere Pro for assembling and editing videos, which plays well with Adobe Audition for audio editing. It’s not the cheapest software, but it eliminates the need to constantly import-export between Audacity and a video editing software.

Of course, having the right hardware and software is only half the battle. Enroll in the Complete Guide to Awesome Online Course Creation course if you want to learn how to effectively use the equipment to create extremely profitable courses!

Start Learning Today. Start Creating Tomorrow.

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