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Taking Quality Classroom Video

October 8, 2015 / by Tate Green

We here at the Autism Circuit love classroom video. I’ve personally watched hundreds of hours of video of teachers in action as part of my work here at Region 13. It’s invigorating to see evidence-based practices happening in schools all over the state of Texas!

That being said, sometimes the quality of video we receive doesn’t match the quality of the instruction being captured, and video begins to lose its power to impact our professional learning community. Videos that aren’t clear or don’t show enough of what is happening tend to get glossed over, which benefits no one. A stable, easy to watch video will garner more views and discussion, helping both those watching and the person who recorded the video.

Fortunately there are a couple of simple tricks to ensuring your classroom video is just as wonderful as your teaching! I’m going to show you three extremely easy things you can do to drastically improve your video and, in turn, the success of the Autism Circuit as a whole.


  1. NEVER RECORD VERTICALLY (SERIOUSLY, NEVER)

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(vertical orientation, or “watching everything from inside a Kleenex box”)

     This is a particularly common occurrence in the day and age of the smartphone. We tend to film things the same way we hold the phone to do virtually everything else. In a way that makes sense, but look how much wider our field of vision gets when we turn our phone horizontally!

horizontal video

(horizontal orientation)

     Think about it this way: Computer screens and televisions are horizontally oriented, and video is meant to be filmed horizontally to fit those screens. If my plea isn't enough to convince you, check out this hilarious video about the dangers of vertical videos.

  1. HOLD THE CAMERA STILL (BETTER YET, USE A TRIPOD)

The more stable a video is, the easier it is for the audience to focus on what’s happening. The best situation for video is when you have an intervention planned and can set the recording device up ahead of time. For interventions with lots of movement, see if you can get a coworker to hold the camera and follow the subject(s). If you are pretty sure you’ll be in one place, plop your recording device on a tripod.

Don’t have a tripod? You can make one with a bunch of different kinds of classroom junk!

Here are some examples:

areosol lid

(an aerosol can lid, cut with scissors)

cup

(a plastic cup, cut with scissors)

mason-jar-tripod

(three rubber bands and a weighted jar/bottle)

binder clips

(two binder clips)

     Okay, MacGyver, now go make a tripod!

  1. STAY CLOSE TO YOUR SUBJECT (FEWER DISTRACTIONS, BETTER AUDIO)

Classrooms can be pretty loud and action-packed places. That’s not a bad thing! However, extra noise and background activity captured on video can be a distraction to viewers. The general rule of thumb is the closer you can be to the subject of your video, without getting so close we can’t tell what’s going on, the better. Most common recording devices have simple microphones, so proximity is the best means of improving the sound of a video.


With these three easy to implement tips in mind, you can create great video to share with everyone in the Autism Circuit! Want more info on how to succeed at video on Teaching Channel? Check out their video with more tips!

Topics: Classroom Experiences, Lesson Planning

Tate Green

Written by Tate Green

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