Top tips for online presentations

Posted by j.laird on 27 August 2021 - 9:30am

Zoom’s advanced video recording options
Zoom’s advanced video recording options

Over the last couple of years delivering presentations online has become par for the course, with Covid-19 forcing many people to work from home and events to be delivered remotely. With our work culture changing, online presentations look set to stay, so here are our top tips to help you deliver a strong recording.

  1. Plan your set-up

Make sure you are well and evenly lit, and you aren’t wearing clothes with distracting patterns (e.g. narrow stripes can strobe on screen). If you have glasses, position your camera to reduce any glare and consider dimming your screen. Do a trial run to check what can be seen in your background and that your microphone is recording you clearly.

Check your software settings - for example, do you only want to record the active speaker (if you are in a video call with other people), or can you record an audio transcript? Make sure you let any non-speakers present in a call know that you are going to record and if they will appear so they can choose whether to consent and keep their camera on. Ask non-speakers to keep their microphones turned off.

  1. When recording

If you’re recording a presentation using slides, don't talk over slide transitions and try to leave gaps in-between each topic/section. If you're using an inset video of yourself, try to return to a neutral position at each slide transition. These both make it much easier to edit later.

Try to look at the camera rather than reading off slides so you can make ‘eye-contact’ with your audience. If you mess up just take a moment and start your sentence again - it’s easy enough to edit out mistakes. Be personable - even though you’re talking to a computer, remember that this will be seen by real people!

  1. Editing

If you did a more or less flawless run, you can use software like Quicktime Player (on Mac) or Photos (on Windows 10) to trim the start and end of the video. Otherwise, you will have to use the video editor of your choice (such as free software like OpenShot or paid-for like Premiere Pro). Expect it to take a few hours to record, edit and then add subtitles for a 10-minute talk. 

Adding a video cover that appears for a few seconds at the start of the talk creates a more professional presentation. It can include your name, the title of your presentation and any relevant logos.

  1. Add captions

Adding captions is best practice to make your video content accessible to a larger audience. If you want to reach deaf, hard-of-hearing and non-native speakers, or you yourself are not a native speaker - captions can help them understand your videos better. Most videos on social media are watched without the sound on so it’s a good idea to add captions to any video clips you plan to share. 

Depending on the software you used to record you may have an audio transcription file along with your video file. Alternatively you can upload your video to a platform such as YouTube which creates automatic captions. Either way you should check the captions and correct any errors. You can download the subtitles as an .srt file and apply to your video if your final destination point is not YouTube. See our guide for more details.

  1. Sharing your video

Your recordings can be shared via a video hosting platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. When uploading a video include the relevant metadata, such as including links to any external resources in the description (presentation slides, event webpage, etc.) and adding a licence, for example Creative Commons - Attribution instead of the default YouTube license to enable reuse. Choose the video settings such as if it will be visible to all (public), only those you share the link with (unlisted), or if you are waiting to share then you can keep it private.

You can get a link to embed the video on a webpage by clicking on ‘share’ on the video hosting platform. If you’re sharing your video on social media it’s best to upload it directly, rather than sharing a link to your hosting platform, so that it starts playing automatically in newsfeeds which gets better engagement. However, there are time limits on different platforms for direct uploads (e.g. 140 seconds on Twitter, 10 minutes on LinkedIn), so if your video is longer then make sure your text makes people want to click on the link.

For more information on recording online presentations, including advice on live streaming, see our Guide on Recording Screencasts, Online Training and Events and Live Streaming.

Want to discuss this post with us? Send us an email or contact us on Twitter @SoftwareSaved.  

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