Filming Your First Online Course

Filming Your First Online Course


Getting your first online course out there is an incredibly exciting and fun thing to do. This is at least what it felt to me, when I started working on my course over the last few weeks. Although I had studied online courses of other people in the past to improve my own skills, filming and getting my first online course out there was not as easy as

I expected it to be. My business partner - and videographer for the course - and I made quite a few mistakes. We also learned new things, which we will implement when filming the next online course very soon. As some people asked me to share my lessons learned,

So here we go:

1. Get clear on how you'll market the online course   Before shooting the whole online course material, make sure that you know what kind of additional material you will need to shoot for promoting the course. A teaser for your squeeze page? Another video for your landing page? Behind the scenes material (short video clips and pictures) for your social media channels? Creating this content can be easily forgotten but it is really important as well!  

2. Invest in great technical equipment  

Lesson learned #1: Get spare batteries for your camera(s). I know that they are quite an investment but nothing is as annoying as being ready and excited to film but the technical equipment simply says "nope". That will kill your energy and vibe.

Lesson learned #2: We worked with great classic photography lights. They were ok but the videos required more post-editing afterwards than initially expected; time we could have used smarter/better.

Recommendation? Invest in variable video lights!  

3. The art of working with a teleprompter

If you have never worked with a teleprompter before and if you would like to use one when filming your online course, start training with it as soon as you purchase. Figure out what speed and font size works for you.

PS: Use a new paragraph whenever you start a new thought. Highlight words in capital letters that you'd like to emphasize. That will enhance your reading flow. I created 19 separate script files in a free app called Prompter Duo.

How? I "copy and pasted" the text out of the original Word file that I had stored on Dropbox. Oh, and don't forget to charge your ipad before you start filming and at the end of the first filming day!  

4. Block two half days

No matter how great you are in front of the camera, filming 19 (or more) videos in a day requires A LOT of concentration and energy. Even if you possess outstanding acting skills, discipline and will power, the fact that you are tired will very likely - at a certain stage - show in your body language and facial expressions.

A better strategy? Plan in two half-days for filming the online course instead of one full day (it is easier and more fun). Also make sure that you take regular short breaks, drink enough water and don’t forget to eat during those two days.  

5. Don't start filming until the technical set-up is great  

Especially when you do this for the first time (after watching 10,000 Youtube tutorials), finding the right light, eliminating all shadows and being happy with the audio can be a pain in the back.

Argh! It makes sense though to experiment with the lights and audio until you get it right. Test the setup a few times before the actual filming day. That will save you heaps of time and eliminate frustration when you will be filming. If you cannot get it right, ask an expert.  

6. Check & structure your files.

Whenever you are content with a video that you have filmed, make sure you watch and double-check it on your laptop or desktop (-> on a big screen). If it is still ok, give the video a name and create a folder structure - ideally it follows the structure of your online course. Rename and place the videos of your second camera in the respective folders as well. This will make your editing process faster.  

7. Get an assistant   

If possible get an assistant for make-up, hair and clothes. Someone who will be around during those days, whose job is to focus on the presenter's make-up, hair and clothes, switch on the ac, order food etc. There were a few takes that we had to redo because I started to shine on my forehead, my shirt did not sit right and other small flaws.  


As everything in life, you learn best by doing and experimenting to figure out what works and what does not work. I genuinely like the end results of my first online course and look forward to filming more.

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