Talking heads

Talking heads

How can you make your mini-lecture videos more engaging? One way is to include yourself as a ‘talking head’ rather than just narrate over the top of your powerpoints. You can do this by simultaneously recording both the screen and a video of you talking via your webcam, using your scree-casting software.
But what if you make mistakes as you are speaking? And if your camera is fixed, how can you add some variety to the positioning of your ‘talking head’? Camtasia allows you to perform some handy edits once you have recorded your lecture.
Shot variety
Keep the camera rolling if you make mistakes and make a ‘clean start’ by composing yourself in-between takes. When you edit, you can split your video so you can remove any bits you don’t want in there. You can then use techiques such as fake zooms, transitions and jump cuts to make your ‘talking head’ more interesting. Marlene Hielema (Image Maven Video for Bloggers)¬†explains how in her video
Jump cut and zoom. Video edits in Camtasia, Screenflow, Final Cut”.
If you are able to set your recording device to record in at 1920×1080 pixels but then edit at 720p (1080×720), this will give you the flexiblity to add variety to your shots during editing. Check out “How to avoid jump cuts – the 30% rule” by Brighton West (Subscriber Nation).

Lon Naylor also has some good “Tips for talking head video in Camtasia“.
Make headroom
Make sure when you make your powerpoint that you design them with this in mind otherwise you’ll find you are obscuring some of your content with your talking head. If you need to, you can remove the talking head for certain slides.
Remove a background
If you’d like to minimize the amount of room your talking head video occupies on the screen, you can remove the background so that only your head remains. Record yourself in front of a green screen and follow the steps in this video “Remove background to a video on Camtasia Studio 8 (Chroma Keying/Green Screen) 7 STEPS!” from ArbolENG to edit out the background in Camtasia.

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