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How-To Video Course

Extension & Delivery > How-to video training


Welcome to UC ANR's How-To Video Training site! 

Updated April 7, 2022.

An old cinema camera with film
This course will show you how to produce short "How-To" style videos. By following the content here you will gain the basic skills needed to plan, record, edit, and post videos.

Producing videos takes practice. While some people feel at home in front of the camera, for most of us it is a bit unnerving! Your first videos will be a bit rough around the edges. That's OK!

If you remember back to your first public presentations and consider how you feel now about speaking, you will note a difference. Videos are like that, too. 

Your skills and confidence will improve with each video you make! 

Why Video?

Video is a powerful tool available to reach audiences.

Not every situation requires a video, but for some types of content it is an effective means of communication. 

Recorded videos are especially good at relaying these types of content:

  • Instruction / How-To where there is a strong visual component to the material taught, and the steps are linear
  • Emotional connections and outreach
  • Posting on some social media platforms (Instagram, etc.)

Some projects are better suited to text. We process written material quicker than in video, and we can review text in a non-linear manner. Material with tables, extensive references, or that only requires a description may be a better candidate for a fact sheet or article.

As an example, rather than make a video about killing a particular weed in a pasture, that particular audience is probably experienced and may prefer just a written recommendation rather than a demonstration of techniques they already know. If, however, there were a novel tool or process that needed demonstration, video may be a better tool. You are the expert on determining the most appropriate medium for delivering content to your audience.

Just like fact sheets and presentations, video content should be relevant to the audience and culturally appropriate. UC ANR has resources to help evaluate your project, but this is beyond the scope of this course. Consider reviewing the Audience and Need materials on our Learning and Development website for more information on needs assessment.

About this Course

This web resource was put together by Dustin Blakey with help and input from the Online Video Clinic Team and our Strategic Initiative leaders. (You can learn more about how and why this site came to be at this link.)

The purpose of this course is to provide the basic skills needed to get started with producing simple how-to videos, with the expectation that these videos would be hosted either on a personal or UC ANR-managed YouTube channel.

You will not become video production experts by following all the sections in this course, but you will have enough core skills to make a basic video about 2 to 5 minutes in length. Practice will be needed to improve your skills or to create larger, more ambitious projects.

Throughout the learning process, don't be afraid to experiment. Mistakes are great learning tools. 

Like you, I am not a video professional, and also like you, I am more comfortable standing in front of a group leading a workshop than I am in front of a camera.

When you first see or hear yourself on video for the first time, it can be unnerving. Almost certainly you will look much better to others than you do to yourself. Try not to be hard on yourself and make video production fun.

Remember: Don't let perfect get in the way of good. Your knowledge and expertise are what others are seeking. 

Using This Site

Originally this site accompanied the webinar-based instruction from the online workshops conducted in Spring 2020. As such, all the materials from those sessions have been incorporated into this site, including the webinar recordings.

As a standalone learning site, you can review each section and work through the material. Some is text-based, but there are embedded videos throughout most topics.

If you are a complete beginner, I suggest completing each section in the order shown at right. The topics are placed in a logical order that will make sense as you progress. 

In some places there are additional sub-pages with extra content. These are useful, but you can come back to them later if needed.

It is not necessary to both watch the two webinars and read the related sections, although that would probably be best! The webinars have been incorporated to make this reference more useful for learners coming from the video clinic webinars.

Since our Zoom video clinics had time constraints, these website sections contain more detailed information than the webinars, so if you are unsure which track to follow, I suggest going through the website version. You can always just watch relevant parts of the webinars to reinforce skills, if desired. (Each has time stamps with the sections listed.)

If you have previously used the Learning & Development website's video tools, you will find them now all incorporated into this website under the appropriate sections.

Getting Help

The links on the right-hand side cover the most common topics, but sometimes you need more help, or want to move beyond the basics. Please see the "Next Steps" section for resources to learn more and find answers to your questions.

Remember that the focus of this site is how-to type videos. If you are producing a promotional piece or planning for a live-broadcast, that's not really the scope of this site. 

Sometimes it's hard to know what questions to ask or you will find content on this site is just plain confusing. If you're stumped, please contact me and I'll try to help. As the saying goes: I know enough to be dangerous!

I hope you find this useful. If you have any comments or questions, let me know!


— Dustin Blakey 

UCCE Inyo and Mono Counties