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Higher Ed & Enterprise Videographers Trade Tips

Higher Ed & Enterprise Videographers Trade Tips

What can corporate videographers learn from the higher education sector, & vice versa?

Not all jobs are created equal in the world of online video.

At least that seems to be the case when you begin comparing the roles of videographers who work in the corporate setting with those working in the education field.

In many cases, the video professional in the business environment seemingly would have greater opportunity to take a role in producing high-profile events. After all, the overwhelming majority of video production activities on the collegiate level consists of capturing lectures and making them available for later replay online.

That’s a great role for video, but it may lack some of the sizzle associated with producing a live product launch event for online distribution. Even more mundane video applications in the business field, such as making sure that a CEO’s videoconference takes place without a hitch, will have you working on important events on behalf of top managers.

All-in-all, it would seem a little more exciting than working to ensure that a mid-October Economics 101 lecture gets recorded for a bunch of 19-year-olds to watch when they’re scrambling to cram for the final exam.

That said, corporate videographers can learn a lot from their brethren from the education segment. Lessons on how to manage the proliferation of video creation, in particular, can be learned by studying the best practices taking hold at the collegiate level today.

And perhaps the biggest takeaway that we can take from video in education today is that as video creation becomes more and more democratized—it still never hurts to have a watchful eye looking over the presenters’ shoulder.

To some, this concept may seem outdated in today’s video-enriched classroom, where lecture capture systems have become so simple that even the most technology-adverse professors can easily initiate the recording of an in-class presentation for later viewing.

As is the case in the corporate world, video in the classroom has not always been this straightforward. Recall the traditional process of recording video in a learning environment from years ago. In a big classroom, a technician would sit in a dark corner, making sure that the audio is working, the lighting is right and that all the technology needed to capture an instructor’s lecture is up and running.

In this environment, video recording had evolved into a task seemingly too convoluted to trust to mere mortals. Instructors had been left helpless—from a video perspective, at least—when working in classrooms not staffed with their living, breathing, AV security blanket.

Those days are long gone, fortunately. Technology vendors have transformed the “in-classroom technician” into the virtual equivalent of an endangered species. Packaged solutions have massively simplified the video recording process—to the point where instructors almost take lecture capture for granted.

Undoubtedly, instructors’ growing confidence in video-capture solutions is heartwarming. It’s also very hazardous in an environment where students grow to rely on recorded videos to review key lecture material. Even the most technically proficient among us can forget to take the lens cap off a camera or to flip on the microphone. But with just one tiny slip-up, lots of valuable instruction can be lost to the ether.

As a result, the answer for spurring successful collegiate video capture programs often rests in the increasingly popular concept of “remote management.” The idea is that hosted technology solutions can be used to create a central control room where a technician can monitor the video—and associated lecture capture solutions—from multiple classrooms at the same time.

With the right remote management platform, instructors take responsibility for initiating video capture on their own. But—if they do happen to mess up—the technician in the central room serves as a back-stop for fixing video issues as they arise.

It’s an environment that allows classroom presenters to take more ownership of the video capture process, while still working with a safety net. A technician may still watch over the shoulder of instructors. But—instead of being trapped in the corner of one lecture hall if they do—they can supervise production quality in multiple classrooms simultaneously. It’s an idea that large businesses could mimic in order to provide support to a large number of video conference rooms and/or video production studios at the same time.

On campus, it certainly is more efficient than the AV support days of yore. As a smaller staff is employed to address the AV issues of a larger number of classrooms, the number of employees needed for AV support in turn will decline. In this way, remote management helps institutions become more efficient and reallocate their support services to other areas.

Let’s tally the benefits: Professors get more confidence in video capture. Video archives swell. Less content is ruined by silly technical mistakes. Overall costs decrease. This is proof positive that the maxim is true—it really is good to have someone watching over your shoulder.

It also proves one other truism for corporate videographers: You can always learn something new going back to school.

Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at