Activity: Making a video

 Doing this at home

This activity requires no modification to be done at home.


In this fun activity you are going to make a video explaining a physical concept e.g. Work.This is a group activity If you want to record real examples you will need a camera if you don't have one then you will have to make a screen cast.

  • Videos should be about 1 minute long and can include live action, animations, simulations, drawings, you name it.
  • Don't worry if you can't do things fast enough, you can speed things up during editing.
  • Choose a topic that you understand.

The story board

This is an outline of what you are going to do. It doesn't have to be detailed but should include all the elements e.g. Here is an outline for a video about the concept of work. Showing that work done = Fcosθ x

Making the video

Record all the relevant live action with you camera. You can add text and captions later so don't bother holding up cards. If you are going to record animations you will need some software to do it. I use Camtasia, you can download a trial version here.

Here are some brief instructions on how to use it.

Before you start to record the performance you need to have rehearsed what you are going to do, this will save a lot of time editing afterwards. Practice the mouse movements and maybe even write a script (or leave out the narration).

  • Open Camtasia recorder, this will give you a tool bar like the one below.

  • You probably don’t want to record the whole of your desktop so choose “custom” and adjust the size and position of the borders to the size you want.
  • If you are going to record your voice tick audio and make sure your microphone works.
  • If you want to include yourself in the screencast then tick “webcam” on.

If you mess up half way through the video you can cut the mistake out afterwards but it might be easier to simply start again. To do this click “stop” then “delete”.

Editing the video

When you are happy with your performance stop the video and click “save and edit” this will open the editing window. The main thing to do now is to cut out the bits that you don’t want and zoom in to the bits you want to see more closely. You can also add text, shapes, narration and captions.


  • Advance the video to the point that you want to cut.
  • Click the split button (this might not work, if it doesn’t click on the track and try again).
  • Split
  • Click the bit you want to remove and delete or cut with the cut button (scissors).
  • Close the gap.

Zooming is particularly useful if you want to show what to select in a menu or pop up.

  • Forward to the start of the part you want to zoom in on.
  • Click the “zoom-n- pan” button (alternatively choose zoom-n- pan from the tools menu).
  • Change the size of the box and move it to the bit you want to zoom in on. The video will stay zoomed in until you change the size of the box.

There is a lot more that you can do to enhance your screencast, for example adding text, arrows and highlights but you can find out about these features yourself.

Adding Narration

Live narration doesn't work is possible but you have to get everything right as it would be messed up when you edit the video. For that reason its best to add the narration afterwards. To do this chose "voice Narration" from the "more" button, click start recording and speak. You will still need a script. What I do is write the captions first then use them as a script. Captions are also found under "more".

Producing the video

When you are finished editing you need to turn the project into a finished video (you can save the project and come back to it later if you want but it won’t be able to be played with a movie player until you have produced it).

  • From the file menu choose “produce and share”.

If you have already set up and account with then you will be able to produce and publish the video in one step, you can also do this if you have a youtube account. If you want to save the video to your computer then choose one of the mp4 settings.

  • Follow the on screen instructions.

Here is an example from me:

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