Copyrighting it RIGHT on Video!

Copyrighting it RIGHT on Video!

TLC Centre – Burnaby, BC. Recently the TLC’s Ed Media Media Designer Shantala Sing and Visual Designer Adam O. Thomas were contacted by SFU Copyright Specialist, Jennifer Zerkee and asked if they could support her in the creation of a series of tutorial videos on copyright policy at Simon Fraser University. After some initial discussions, Jennifer jumped into the project and prepared storyboards that helped organize her thoughts and the flow of the first video. The Ed Media team then made some technical recommendations and suggested Jennifer use Camtasia ( a screen-capture program ) as a means of building the video. To be fair, there was a fairly steep learning curve involved here as Jennifer created the video by incorporating slides from a static Power Point presentation and a voice recording she made in her office, but the result is pretty great.

But don’t take our word for it, here is Jennifer’s own personal testimonial about her experience.

The SFU Copyright Office is creating a series of educational videos based on our faculty workshops, in response to requests from the SFU community for more flexible ways to learn about copyright. I started with Copyright Basics, an 11-minute introduction to the Canadian Copyright Act. I had never created videos before, so this was a new experience for me, with quite a learning curve. It took a lot of time watching tutorial videos and just playing with the software to get the hang of what is possible in a video, and brainstorming with TLC staff to plot the storyboard.

I used our existing PowerPoint slides and speaking notes as the basis for the new video. I used Camtasia to screen capture the slides and record the voiceover, and to add animations and put everything together. I produced the final online version of Copyright Basics directly from Camtasia to YouTube, and it’s embedded on the various Resources pages (e.g. Resources for Instructors) of the Copyright at SFU website ( and also available on the Library’s YouTube channel (

Things I learned:

  • It took a bit to figure out how best to use animations (such as underlining, arrows, and fading text in and out) and images effectively but without overdoing it. This was quite different from planning static PowerPoint slides. I ended up removing text from some of my slides and re-recording them, in order to add the text in Camtasia instead, so I could animate it. Determining how much visual material to add was compounded by the fact that it is challenging (to say the least) to make copyright information interesting and engaging! Shantala at TLC provided great illustrations for a number of copyright topics, which helped a lot.
  • There is a chicken/egg question about whether to record the voiceover first, or screen capture the slides, and before I started this project I had no concept of which way might work best. I screen captured the slides first, leaving extra time on each one, then put in most of my images and animations, and then added the voiceover and adjusted the timing of everything. However, this adjustment was very time consuming (since many animations are timed to specific talking points); next time I would still start with the slides, but record the voiceover next, and finalize the timing of everything before adding too many other pieces.
  • Recording a voiceover is more complicated than it appears. Tiny adjustments in microphone position or speaking volume can make big differences, and subtle differences between takes become noticeable when put together in the final video. That said, it is amazing how much control Camtasia gives you to silence “ums” and change the length of pauses, making really noticeable improvements in the final product. Adam at TLC was a great resource for troubleshooting the sound recording.
  • It is useful to think about the final format of the video at the very beginning of the planning stage. I created the video at the dimensions of my PowerPoint slides, but they are narrower than the standard YouTube size, so I had to resize the video before uploading it, which added those black bars on the sides. I don’t know if I would have been able to adapt the existing slides and content to the YouTube dimensions very easily, but it would have been helpful to consider from the beginning.

Creating this first video was a real learning process, but I’m really impressed with the results, and I’m happy to report that the second copyright video, Teaching and Copyright, is under production, and is only taking a fraction of the time.