Researching Instructional Videos (Specifically 3D)

 

 

 

All these videos are similar in what they provide to the customer. They are basically instruction manual styles but animated in 3D. This is very similar to what i want to recreate. However the pre-installation video is more about asking the customer to tell C-tex what they need to know about there machines so that they can send a pretty much complete colour machine ready for fixing on. By this I mean things like dimensions of the company’s own machine so C-tex can create a correctly sized rig. Also what side the computer / control box is own and which way the fabric rolls. Therefore instead of showing the customer how to build the machine from scratch i just need to show through animation which information C-tex need to receive in order to proceed with the order.

However I am definitely going for the same basic structure of showing them what they are getting and where exactly the information that C-tex need can be found, with the same clear white infinite background to keep it simple and not too cluttered.

Although the instructions will be 80 percent visual I thought it would be a good idea to look at tips for written instructions as this will help give me insight on what a video could do to help and speed up these tips. Also the same tips really apply for video and so it helps to understand both sides of the issue.

9 Tips for Writing Effective Instructions

  1. Know your audience. Have an idea of your submitter’s demographic and background so you can include language and terms that you know they will understand.
  2. Keep your instructions short and concise. Don’t say something in 30 words that you could say in 7 and limit each instruction to one main idea. There’s an acronym on the internet–tl;dr–which translates to “too long; didn’t read.” Don’t succumb to this.
  3. Use the simplest terms. Your audience may be new to online collection (or submitting materials in general) or English may not be their primary language. Use small words.
  4. Have contextual instructions. Make sure that your instructions are in a place nearest to the appropriate activity and at the appropriate time in the collection process.
  5. Place sequential instructions in a numbered list and optional instructions in bullets. Instructions that are in steps should resemble a recipe. Those that are optional or alternate (this OR that OR the other) don’t need to be in numbered order, but make sure you include your “ORs” between bullets. (This is a numbered list because there is at least somewhat of an order to these steps.)
  6. Use the imperative mood. Make your instructions specific commands instead of vague statements (you may have noticed I’ve been trying to do this as much as I can). Example: “Select one topic below,” instead of “Please pick from this list of topics.”
  7. Call attention to warnings. Style warning text bold and even change font style/size if it’s not too aesthetically jarring. You can also make the text red, but realize that some colorblind users may not be able to make the distinction between red and black/dark gray text.
  8. Give it a dry run. Have some staff try going through the process and see if they suggest revisions to your instructions. Go through the instructions on your own and picture yourself in the role of submitter. If possible, have a few trusted contributors test the instructions and provide feedback before you open the site to everyone.
  9. Don’t be afraid to change the instructions. Making the instructions clearer halfway through the submission process at least makes it easier on the late arrivals.

9 Tips for Writing Effective Instructions

and also looking at what makes an effective training video to see which points interlink and compare them, and then which are different and solely used for video or written.

10 TIPS TO MAKING MORE EFFECTIVE TRAINING VIDEOS

1. Use a Script  – Don’t Ramble

Too many people tend to want to skip to the fun part – the shooting, and not work with a script, storyboard, shot sheet or any type of plan to getting their training video done. This wastes a lot of time and doesn’t inform the audience well, and key points can be missed or lost in translation.

2. Keep it Short – Be Concise and Succinct

People have very short attention spans nowadays, especially for internet video. They have a lot of distractions taking them away from your video.

3. Audio is MOST Important!

Videomaker harping on the need for good audio is like listening to a broken record. (You remember those, right? Black vinyl discs with grooves that spun on a player with a diamond needle that projected cool tunes in the old days?) Some people still don’t get it – your audience will forgive bad video, but will tune out due to bad audio.

4. Simple Background and Lighting

An elaborate set isn’t necessary for most How To videos, and in fact it often detracts from the subject at hand.

5. Use Two cameras or Shoot it Twice – Then Edit it!

Many people really want to do a training video in one long shot, with one take. More power to them. You can’t run the camera and do the demo at the same time effectively, and zooming in then out to illustrate points wastes time.

6. Closeups and Cutaways of the Action

Closeups are necessary for most training videos. Whether it’s to demonstrate a techniques or show a collection of materials needed, most training videos will have some cutaways of closeup shots.

7. Add Simple Graphics

From an Open Graphic that tells the audience what you are demonstrating to a Closing Graphic that tells them where to go for more, graphics are essential for all training videos. Even the easiest entry-level consumer video editing programs can make simple titles nowadays.

8. Check out Examples Online

Critique them for how you think you’d learn to do the technique yourself.

  • Are they too sloppy? Can you understand what the message is implying? Do you feel confident that you can do the process they are teaching? Is it rushed or does it drag to much? Does it have a busy backdrop or distracting background?

9. Bonus Material

If you’re making the training video to sell on a disc, adding bonus material to the DVD is a good way to elicit sales other than just views from a free online audience.

10. Teaser – More to Come!

always leave them wanting more.

  • If your training video is one in a series that runs online, you can have a short 10 to 20 second teaser at the end advertising the next video in the series using a simple voice-over that discusses what the next video will be along with an expected time it might appear. Don’t forget to add your product name, company or business name and website.

 

As I am reading this i can see that quite a lot of these points we are already implementing which is definitely a good sign and this research has definitely helped me realise that we are heading in the right direction with everything!!

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