Course Trailers: Look Your Best

A portion of my responsibilities deals with helping faculty create a trailer for their course, in order to generate interest in the course and inform incoming students of expectations and standards. Usually this just entails a two to three minute talking head video with limited graphics – imagine PowerPoint with some video. It’s easy to do, and will accomplish the course trailer’s goal(s). However, you have to ask a couple of questions:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Will the video keep their interest for the whole duration?

The first question is easy to answer. We know who the audience is: potential/future students. In that regard, you have to keep in mind what would be interesting to them. I think their expectations for any professional video to be just that: professional-looking. If you do a search online of course trailer videos you will find that most appear to be created using a webcam at the faculty member’s desk. How many of those could you watch? Would you be interested in the class if the video trailer for that class seemed dull? Probably not.

Now, I am not talking about creating a full-out Michael Bay-style production with explosions, car chases, and transforming robot cars (although that would be interesting, I suppose). No, what you (we?) need is a professional-looking interview setup, with graphics that aren’t overbearing and flow well with the video’s content. A good lighting setup, non-distracting background, and a clear audio recording are just the (necessary) beginnings. Add in post-production editing (text graphics, transitions, etc.), and you have a nice trailer.

Now, don’t worry about the technical aspects of everything. All you would need to do is doing a little preparation on what you would like to say, and then show up for the recording. I would take care of the rest.

Interested in making one for your course? Contact me and we can work together to create a product your students (and future students) will appreciate.

Steve Holsonback
Instructional Media Design Specialist
Center for Academic & Professional Excellence
Ext. 3425


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