When you take a course or Udacity Nanodegree program, a big part of your learning experience is watching our knowledgeable instructors teach via video in our online classrooms. There’s an entire team of skilled video production professionals that bring the videos to life. And this week, we sat down with Megan Little from the video production team to find out more about what they do.
How is a Video Shoot Set Up?
The process of capturing the projects on camera is not as easy as it looks. Udacity instructor video shoots are set up remotely in the instructor’s homes or offices. Instructors are sent a mini interface, a ring light, microphones and occasionally a laptop, phone or tripod to aid in production. The production team leads the instructors through technical rehearsals and dry runs before moving on to the actual recording event.
From there, the video production team is in charge of capturing lecture content, demos, screencasts and “talking head” shots. All of these together combine to create all of the video material in Udacity courses.
How Do You Interact with Instructors While Filming?
While the video production team may not always be experts in the content that is being taught during filming, their job is to ensure that the sessions they capture are clear, concise and fun.
“A lot of our instructors are really knowledgeable,” says Megan. “They have a great background in their industry, and sometimes teaching as well, but they may have never sat in front of a computer to talk to themselves as if they were talking to other people. To this end, our team brings a lot of encouragement as we guide them along the way toward being comfortable with that experience.”
Each video recording session varies from instructor to instructor. Megan explains that some instructors are happy to do whatever they are prompted to do by the team, while others need to be brought out of their shells.
“Each instructor presents a unique challenge,” Megan says. “It allows us to have a little shake up even if it feels very much the same because we don’t understand the content at all generally.”
Overall, Megan’s favorite part is watching the instructors flourish. “The relationship we are able to build with instructors is great, because we constantly make it clear that we are here to help them succeed in any way we can.”
These connections are what help make Udacity instructor videos so engaging.
What’s the Funniest Thing That Has Happened on Set?
While the video production team does their best to ensure things run smoothly, sometimes there are curve balls. One time, while filming content for the AI for Healthcare Nanodegree program, the instructor’s dog was unceremoniously booted from his bed (AKA the sofa) for a shot.
The instructor tried shutting the dog in the bathroom while he recorded, but the dog just wouldn’t have it. He whined and scraped the walls so it was impossible to get a good shot. “The instructor had to keep taking breaks to go on walks with his dog to quiet him down,” laughed Megan. “It was super funny.”
Be an Instructor and Build With Udacity
Many instructors at Udacity say that video production week is their favorite. “It’s a really positive experience,” says Megan. “The culture we create in production week is so positive and solutions-oriented.” The final result is video content that makes the instructors look and sound their very best.
Teaching with Udacity can give you a flexible work life and the ability to impact the lives of students around the globe. If you are an industry expert and are interested in becoming a Udacity instructor, you can read more here.