Remote Video Recording
- National Instruments needed training materials created quickly to support an accelerated product launch due to unprecedented global shelter-in-place protocols.
- Global lockdown prevented subject matter experts from visiting the Enable Education video production and training studios.
- An Enable Education producer provided performance coaching and recording capabilities through a remote platform.
- Within a week of recording, nine rollout videos were produced with multiple angles, brand graphics, and step-by-step software walkthroughs.
- National Instruments was able to immediately provide product users with “get started” support and improved new user experience.
About National Instruments
National Instruments is a $1.3B company that equips engineers and scientists with systems that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery. LabVIEW is NI’s gold-standard systems engineering software for applications that require test, measurement, and control with rapid access to hardware and data insights. NI created the LabVIEW Community Edition to open the doors to anyone interested in developing personal, non-commercial experiments on devices like Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, and Arduino Uno.
A World in Lockdown
While National Instruments programmers were getting ready to launch their free software to the community, a global event caused the whole world to pause. Suddenly, social distancing prohibited people from collaborating in workspaces, gathering in groups, or travelling. Knowing they needed to create training materials, and with just days left before a major marketing campaign, NI turned to their trusted partners at Enable Education.
NI asked Enable Education to create a series of training videos to help new users get started with LabVIEW Community Edition. These videos would guide users through downloading software, setting up executable files, and performing their first experiments with three different devices.
This wasn’t the first time Enable had created training videos for NI. In the past, an Ni subject matter expert would visit the Enable Education training and production studios to record on-camera presentations. Enable’s professional video producers helped SMEs break their training content into bite-sized pieces for short videos and provide performance coaching while recording. The experience is personal, customized, and supportive every step of the way. Only now, the studios were closed indefinitely, and a deadline loomed.
Being Ahead of the Curve
Chief architect Joe Peck was ready to share his knowledge but has no way of creating the training materials himself.
The producers at Enable had already pivoted in response to social distancing and designer a remote workflow that allowed clients to turn their home into a temporary studio AND still benefit from personal coaching and guidance.
To get started, Karina Sinclair, Enable video producer, connected with Joe Peck through a video call. They discusses equipment needs, content breakdown, and timelines.
Virtual Location Scout
Next came the virtual location scout. Joe shared views of his home office space via webcam and photos and Karina made suggestions on how to improve sound quality given the 16-foot ceilings and maximize indirect window light. She also gave advice on what to wear, what to eat and drink the day of the recording session, and what basic equipment would make the process go more smoothly. There was a concern that ordering any equipment, like tripods, phone clamps, or lights, may be delayed due to reduced inventory, so backup plans were also discussed.
On the day of the shoot, Joe and Karina logged into a web-based remote recording platform. Two additional collaborators from NI were able to log in, observe, and provide feedback as well.
The phone clamps had arrived in time and were used to attach 2 iPhones to tripods that Joe’s wife helped position. These two angles allowed for a closer front view of Joe and a wider side view of Joe and his computer screens. Joe had also preinstalled a program to capture his screen during software walkthroughs.
The remote platform allowed Karina to control the camera functions of the iPhones, including white balance, exposure, and focus. Each phone was set to record in 4K. The on-camera speaking parts were recorded first. Then one of the phones was re-positioned to record close-up shots of the devices at the end.
Most importantly, Karina and Joe were able to converse, share ideas, provide feedback, and collaborate despite being over 2500 kilometres apart. The personal coaching and support normally expected in the Enable studios was still an important part of the process.
One of the pleasant surprises throughout this was how they make you feel through the process. If you’re not used to it, it’s challenging staring at a camera and trying to speak in a nice interactive way, and they really helped guide you through that and help point out things in a very constructive and beneficial way.
“I know it’s intimidating to be recorded, especially when you’re new to being on camera,” said Karina. “My goal, whether in the studio or while recording remotely, is to make subject matter experts feel supported and fabulous. I won’t ever let them look or sound foolish. We’re in it together to create meaningful learning experiences for others.”
NI had a tight deadline for turnaround. So all the recorded files, include the screen captures, were immediately uploaded to online storage and then downloaded by Karina. She synced all the files in Premiere Pro and compiled the best takes for each of the topics they recorded. After adding the NI-branded name banner and logo animation, Karina shared 9 videos through a review platform. The platform allowed all stakeholders to watch the videos and give frame-specific feedback without having to download the files.
Master files were delivered within a week of recording and NI was able to immediately embed the videos into their online course for LabVIEW Community Edition.
Because Enable Education and National Instruments were able to record these videos remotely:
- NI was able to provide useful training videos in time for their product launch;
- Subject matter expert Joe Peck was able to contribute his knowledge from the comfort and safety of his home during the global pandemic;
- Learners around the world were able to get started with LabVIEW Community Edition experiments;
- Karina Sinclair was able to provide the same friendly and supportive experience clients could expect while visiting the Enable studios;
- NI and Enable Education continue their close partnership and shared goals of revolutionizing education
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