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Digital Video for Teaching & Learning

A guide for faculty interested in digital video in its various forms. Examples include digital storytelling student assignments, instructional videos, lecture capture, and/or video-based research projects.

A Primer on Digital Video

The process of recording and finalizing digital video may seem daunting at first, but you shouldn't let this deter you from trying it out. In reality, creating videos for your courses or conducting a video-based study is only as complex as you want or need it to be. If you are thinking about using video for teaching or research, start by considering the following:

  • Purpose or “Genre”: The way you will use your video should determine the technical aspects of your project, not the other way around. Keep things simple when you need quick, informal videos, but you should aim for an adequate level of production value for more formal, higher-profile projects. This affects every aspect of the video-making process; from how much “pre-production” work you or your students have to do, to the type of recording equipment you will need, to how you will manage, edit, and publish your video. 
  • Hardware, software, and other resources: Once you have a clear picture of what your video project shoud be, you can start thinking about the tools you need to get those results. Make sure that the various elements that will come together to create your video are consistent with its purpose. See the Create & Share page of this LibGuide for information about different video production tools.


Digital Video Glossary

One reason why some may shy away from working with digital video is the amount of technical jargon involved. If you run into unfamiliar terminology while reading any of the material in this guide, look it up on Wikipedia's Glossary of Video Terms. Some of the most common video-related terms you may encounter are:

Bit-rate: The amount of digital information making up each second of video. Higher bit-rates produce better videos but also larger files.

CODEC: A set of technical standards for coding/decoding a video during compression.

Compression: The common term for the process of reducing a video to a target resolution and/or file size. 

Encoding: The technical term for the compression process, especially when associated with a particular CODEC, playback device, or medium (e.g., iPod, YouTube, etc.).

Frame Rate: The number of still images (frames) that make up one second of video during recording and/or playback.

Resolution: The vertical and horizontal dimensions of the frames in a video, which determine the size and quality of the video when viewed.

Streaming: A low bit-rate compression method commonly used to adjust online video to the speed of the viewer's Internet connection.

Transcoding: The process of converting compressed videos from one format (CODEC) into another.


Related LibGuides

Subject Guide

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An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube

This presentation, delivered by Michael Wesch (Kansas State University) at the Library of Congress in 2008 provides a brief overview of the growing role that video in general and YouTube in particular play in society today.