We (me and the guys of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Technology) have started working out the best conditions for recording all the lecture videos. We have a lot of factors to consider - for most of these Coursera provides detailed advice, which we're modifying to suit our circumstances. This is all very new to me, so what I've written below will probably sound very naive to anyone with video experience.
Format: We're planning to use the most common MOOC format, with the students usually seeing a powerpoint slide that sometimes contains a 'picture-in-picture' video image of the instructor (me). As I speak I will annotate the images on the slides (e.g. underlining important terms), using a pen controlled by a drawing tablet.
Location: The plan is set up appropriate conditions so I can record the main lecture videos in my
office at my convenience, rather than having to book time in the CTLT
Recording software: Coursera recommends using Camtasia for Windows but Screenflow for Macs. We think this is because Camtasia was not available for the Mac until recently (we should ask).
I've been trying out Camtasia for the Mac - it seems plenty powerful
for what I want to do, although the CTLT guys say that the Windows
version has more features. I'm not really in a position to evaluate it,
because I don't know what I'm doing yet. One nice feature of Camtasia
is that, once you've downloaded the trial version, they send you a daily
email with a link to each of a sequence of very short training videos.
Camera: When you are being filmed you want to be looking straight at the camera, so you appear to be speaking to the audience. Coursera suggests using a webcam on a little tripod, arranged either right in front of the middle of your monitor where you will look at it when you look at your slides, or off to the side where you will direct your gaze when speaking to students. We tried this but found that the built-in camera in my MacBook Pro is better than the webcam the CTLT guys brought, so I'm going to use that. It will be off to the side; I'm going to tape a photo of student faces there around the camera to remind me to look there.
What's in the background (behind me): We considered using a neutral backdrop, so all the viewer would see behind me is an out-of focus white field, but that's a nuisance to set up (need a large screen because of the camera's wide field of view) so instead we're going to use the normal background of my office (I'll post a photo later), tidied up so it is not distracting.
Lighting: My office has lots of natural light (big south-facing windows), but this is a disadvantage, not an advantage, because the light is much too variable and because it won't be available in the late winter afternoons and evenings when I'll be making most of my videos. What's wanted is soft light on my face, with no strong shadows on me or in the background. The CTLT guys brought a couple of diffuse-light lamps to put on my desk - these worked well, so I hope I'll be able to keep them in my office. CTLT suggests also having a light behind me - maybe this can just be the normal overhead fluorescent room lights. If I want to make a video when the sun is shining I may have a lighting
problem, because the blinds are the perforated kind that still let in a
lot of light.
Microphone: Coursera recommends the 'Blue Snowflake' microphone, which can be mounted on a monitor. If background noise is a problem, another instructor recommended using instead a clip-on microphone ('lavalier') since these are less sensitive to background noise. My office has occasional background noise, but a bit is OK since we're obviously recording in a real office, not pretending to be recording in a studio.
Slide annotation: This is not yet resolved. Coursera recommends using the Wacom Cintiq tablet, with which you can write with a stylus directly on your slides as viewed in the tablet's monitor screen. Because these tablets are expensive (~$1000), UBC wants to instead use a cheaper and simpler tablet that doesn't show you an image of each slides. With this tablet, you move a stylus around on a grey surface, and pen marks appear on your slide. I'm too uncoordinated to use this, so I'm going to hold out for the Cintiq tablet.
What to wear: Yes, this is a concern for me. I want to look casual and comfortable, but not like a slob. Of course I don't want to have to dress up, but my appearance should be fairly consistent across the term. If I end up using the clip-on microphone I'll need to be wearing something that's open at the front, for the mike to clip on to. So I'm shopping for a simple lightweight jacket or shirt that I can put on over whatever t-shirt or top I'm wearing that day.