Instructional Videos: How I Make Them

Here’s a “behind the scenes” look at making one of the ham radio instructional (training) videos, in this case for Amateur Extra Lesson 3.5. The purpose of these instructional videos is to help people get their ham licenses, and they are companions to the respective ARRL study guide. Learn more by clicking on the appropriate heading in the right hand column of every page on this site.

I captured the video with my Brinno TLC200 Pro time-lapse camera. You can clearly see the equipment I use. I stand on that little rug behind the music stand – it keeps me from wandering too far. The green screen is separately lit by three fluorescent fixtures: one above and one on each side. I use a rather bright soft box as the key light, and another at half-brightness as the fill light. I also have two lights mounted on the bar as hair/back lights, which makes it easier to pull a key (chroma key/green screen) in post production in CyberLink PowerDirector 12. I use a teleprompter to keep myself on script and avoid the “uhs” that come otherwise. Plus, with the teleprompter, I can capture several takes of the same script segment and choose the best one (meaning no errors, dropped words, substituted words, mispronounced words, or outright flubs).

Making the ham radio instructional videos is a lot of work! I do it because the feedback I get indicates they’re useful. I’ve already created complete sets for Technician and General, and am now working on the Amateur Extra series. The first videos were pretty primitive; I’m trying to improve production values with each one I make. And, yes, I really enjoy making them.

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