How to Create a Professional Video from Scratch

Videos are not only great for training – they are also a great way to promote your training business. Studies have shown that online learners are nearly twice as likely to sign up to take a course after viewing a video, versus someone who didn’t watch the course trailer.  A good case in point to show the power of both promotion and training is Udemy (   Their top 10 course creators made over 5 million dollars last year.  That’s right.  On average, that’s $500,000 each.  And if you’ve ever visited Sal Khan’s Khan Academy (, you can see how effective video can be for any kind of training.

So how do you do it?  Videos can be expensive to create in both equipment and time, especially if you’re not a trained videographer or a video production company.  So here is the Elearning! magazine basic primer.


Believe it or not, today’s smartphones can shoot a pretty good video – if you properly light and frame what you’re shooting.  But here’s the catch.  The audio recording capability for an iPhone or an Android is not really that great.  That’s because it’s an omnidirectional microphone which captures audio from all around you.  That makes it really hard to hear.  Almost all of the good videos captured on a smartphone use an audio capturing device, or a separate audio input, instead of the phone’s microphone. 

The solution is to find an adapter for an inexpensive Lavalier microphone that will hook to your smartphone, or buy a Lavalier microphone that was made to work with your iPhone or Android.  Another option is a handheld microphone by iRig, which plugs directly into your smartphone.

You can also use a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR).  These cameras will shoot an HD video and you’ll get better quality.  These types of cameras also have interchangeable lenses to give you even more flexibility.


On a Windows PC, Movie Maker comes free and is pretty easy to use.  And that’s coming from someone who hates to read instructional manuals.  If you want to figure out how to do something unique, like making a portion of your video run in slow motion, you can Google that.

The Mac version is iMovie.  It’s equally user-friendly and under $15 to acquire (or free for qualifying iOS 7-compatible devices).  Adobe Premiere Elements 12 works on both the Mac and Windows platform, and you should check out, which is cloud-based and pretty simple to master.

WHAT IS ANIMOTO? is a personal favorite of mine.  When I need to come up a quick video that looks “over-the-top” from a quality and production perspective, this is the best choice in my humble opinion.  You can use it with still photos and short video clips, and then select a packaged production from a lot of templates.  Then all you do is upload the images and clips into that template and hit ‘produce.’  You’ll find a wide selection of audio clips, and you can’t beat it for a professional quality video.

Another possibility is, which is an animated cartoon package that offers a ton of templates and clip art that you can combine into a pretty professional-looking video.  But Animoto is still my favorite for quality and visual appeal.


Of course you can, and there is a lot to learn about making a video.  Taking it to the next level – webisodes – can be as daunting as making a movie.  Remember the credit roll at the end of a movie?  Basically, you’d have to do all of those tasks.

To find a professional at the best price, you should consider looking at sites like and, where there are lots of people competing for jobs.  Need someone local?  You could use or to find someone local that could come by and shoot the video, as well as do the editing.

Another possibility is to find a nearby college with a film school.  The students who might offer to help you will have great access to video and editing equipment and software – and be hungry for experience.

And lastly, if you’re going to be joining us in Anaheim, CA for ELCE 2014 (, we have a premiere Hollywood-level studio lined up to show you everything you’d ever want to know about making a video.  You can see their clientele and production quality by going to this video on their website:  (Note: If your internet connection is slow, click once on the HD symbol to turn off HD.)

So what are you waiting for?

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