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Considerations for Pre-Recording Research Presentations

In an online learning environment, or for some online conferences, you may be asked to pre-record a presentation.

You have some decisions to make as a presenter. These decisions will influence the technology and software you will require, and how you need to prepare.

  • How long is your presentation expected to be? Some free video recording tools have limits on the length of recording or file size.
  • Will you appear on camera in the video or will you only be recording your voice over slides and other visuals? If you would like to move between your webcam and slides, choose a screencast recording tool rather than PowerPoint, Google Slides or Keynote.
  • What video file formats are acceptable? Some professors or conferences will ask you to submit your presentation in a particular file format (e.g. MP4). If the tool you are using doesn't record in that format, you will need to convert the file before submitting it. 
  • How widely will the presentation be shared? If your video will be available online for anyone to access, it is even more important that you adhere to guidelines around copyright if you are reusing any existing images, videos, or music in your presentation.
  • If you are recording your presentation for an academic conference, review the submission guidelines carefully. In some cases, conference organizers may have specified what recording software should be used (e.g. Zoom), provided a custom background, etc. 

 

Before You Hit Record

Some general tips for preparing to record for your presentation:

  • Create an outline for your presentation to ensure that key areas are covered. Write out what you would like to say as a script or jot down some notes on the key points you want to address in each section. 
  • Practice your presentation a few times to work out trouble spots in your script and timing. 
  • Do a short test recording with your chosen technology and recording software to test out the sound and video quality.
  • If there are keyboard shortcuts to start/stop the recording, camera, etc, write the shortcuts down and ensure it is visible to you, but not the audience if you need them. Often, these keyboard shortcuts can make for smoother transitions between content because they can be faster than navigating with a mouse. 
  • Mute your phone, disable notifications on your computer (e.g. Hangouts), and close any programs you are not using.
  • Let others in your household know when you will be recording to minimize interruptions. 
  • If you make a mistake while recording, you can restart from the beginning or continue recording and edit the video. If you are planning to edit the video, pause for a few seconds after your mistake before you continue on. This will make it easier to identify and edit out the mistake later.

Your presentation slides or visuals will complement what you will be saying. The biggest mistakes most students make is to have too much text on each slide. A text-heavy slide is distracting and might take the attention of your audience away from what you are saying. 

Use your slides or visuals to:

  • Show the sequence of your presentation via a summary page
  • Highlight important aspects of each section of your presentation as you go along
  • Show visual data such as graphs, charts, experimental set-ups, flowcharts, etc.

Additional considerations around slides in a recorded presentation:

  • If the presentation will be made available online, ensure that all of the images in your presentation are being used with the permission of the copyright holder(s) or according to their Creative Commons license. For more information, visit our Copyright Guide, or contact the campus Copyright Advisor.
  • If you have added your speaking notes underneath your slides in PowerPoint or Google Slides, you will need to ensure that your recording is only capturing the slides, not the notes themselves. The steps to do this are different for each software program - for example, if you are able to record a specific tab or Window, you can use the Presenter view in Google Slides, and select the tab that the slides appear in, rather than the notes.

If you are appearing on camera in the video, here are some tips to look and sound your best.

  • Try to find a quiet space away from possible distractions
  • Position yourself so that any light source is in front of your camera (e.g. a window), rather than behind you. 
  • Ensure that your laptop is raised up so that your face appears in the middle of the screen when you are on camera. You can do this with books, a shelf, etc.
  • There may still be expectations around appropriate attire in virtual conference venues. Business casual is usually safe, but ask your professor or supervisor for advice.
  • If you are recording yourself on video, try and remove distracting background objects or reduce the amount of clutter in the shot. If you are recording yourself using Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, you can use the background blur option

Additional resources

 

Video Recording and Editing Software

To record your presentation, you will need the following:

  • A microphone. Most laptops come with pre-installed microphones. Better sound quality can be obtained using headset mics, but work with what you have on hand. You may be able to record audio using your phone or tablet if they have better sound quality (e.g. PowerPoint on Android, Keynote on iPhone or iPads, etc), but ensure that the final video file will be available in the video format your professor or the conference requested. 
  • If you will be appearing in the video, you will also need a webcam. Most laptops come with pre-installed webcams.
  • The recording software of your choice (see the following tabs)
  • An internet connection to share your video with your instructor or the conference. Most video files are large and can take several minutes to upload, even with a strong internet connection. 

The following software is freely available or is pre-installed on most PC computers. 

Video recording tools

  • PowerPoint - You can record a narration over your slides and export it as an MP4 video file. You need to use a separate tool if you wish to make any edits to the video itself, and it does not capture a video of you presenting. Please note: there are some reported bugs with this function on Mac computers, so we only recommend this route on PCs. All MRU students are eligible for free access to Office 365, which includes PowerPoint.
  • Google Meet - Create a meeting in your Google calendar and add Google Meet video conferencing to the event. Go into the meeting, and record yourself  doing your presentation (e.g. sharing your screen, etc) with your camera on. When you are sharing your screen, the recording will capture both the screen you are sharing and a video of you presenting. After you end the recording, you can find the file in Google Drive under My Drive > Meet Recordings folder. You will need a separate tool to make edits to the video.
  • Loom - This free tool can be added as a Chrome extension or desktop app. Users can choose to record their webcam, their screen, or both at the same time. Videos can be downloaded as MP4 files. You will need to use a separate tool to edit the video.
  • Screencast-o-matic - You can record your screen and webcam using this tool, which is useful if you are using Google Slides. You can record up to 15 minute presentations for free using this tool - however, the free version will include a watermark logo in the corner of the presentation. The editing functions are not available to free account holders.
  • Open Broadcaster Software - OBS allows users on any platform to record what they're doing on screen. The software includes the ability to have picture-in-picture recordings, and it supports live streaming. This is a great option if you want audience members to see you and your presentation slides simultaneously.
  • Xbox Game Bar - The Xbox Game Bar app allows you to capture video of any window on your screen. This free application can be installed on Windows 10 through the store app or the Microsoft website.

If you need to record a group presentation, some options include:

  • Google Meet
  • Microsoft Teams (available in Office 365)
  • PowerPoint - Narrations can be added to individual slides and the file passed on to the next group member to add their contribution. You could run into problems if your team uses a mix of Mac and PC computers.

Video editing tools

  • PC computers with Windows 10 - Video Editor - Search for the Video Editor app in the bottom left corner of your screen. This tool allows you to trim, remove, or add content. 
    • PC computers running Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8 - This tool was known as either Movie Maker or Video Editor.
  • YouTube - if you are using YouTube to host your video, there are some video editing tools available in YouTube studio.
  • OpenShot - cross-platform video editor for beginners
  • DaVinci Resolve 16 - cross-platform video editor with more advanced effects and features
  • Shortcut - Free and open source cross-platform video editor

The following software is freely available or is pre-installed on most Macs. 

Video recording tools

  • Apple Keynote - Record audio narration over your Keynote slides and export as a video file. 
  • Apple QuickTime - Records screen and audio, and can be used to edit completed videos. 
  • Google Meet - Create a meeting in your Google calendar and add Google Meet video conferencing to the event. Go into the meeting, and record yourself  doing your presentation (e.g. sharing your screen, etc) with your camera on. When you are sharing your screen, the recording will capture both the screen you are sharing and a video of you presenting. After you end the recording, you can find the file in Google Drive under My Drive > Meet Recordings folder. You will need a separate tool to make edits to the video.
  • Loom - This free tool can be added as a Chrome extension or desktop app. Users can choose to record their webcam, their screen, or both at the same timeVideos can be downloaded as MP4 files. You will need to use a separate tool to edit the video.
  • Screencast-o-matic - You can record your screen and webcam using this tool, which is useful if you are using Google Slldes. You can record up to 15 minute presentations for free using this tool - however, the free version will include a watermark logo in the corner of the presentation. The editing functions are not available to free account holders.

If you need to record a group presentation, some options include:

  • Google Meet

Video editing tools

  • iMovie
  • Quicktime
  • YouTube - if you are using YouTube to host your video, there are some video editing tools available in YouTube studio.
  • OpenShot - cross-platform video editor for beginners
  • DaVinci Resolve 16 - cross-platform video editor with more advanced effects and features
  • Shortcut - Free and open source cross-platform video editor

Need assistance?

If you need assistance with your research project, please reach out to your subject librarian. They would be happy to help.

If you are not sure who to chat with, please contact Cari Merkley.