Studio in a Box: Instructor guide to recording lectures

Section 1: Pedagogical Principles and Guidelines for Lecture Video Recordings

Why do recorded online lectures?

Recording a lecture video will give your students the option to review the session at their own pace while helping to mitigate technology challenges and conflicting schedules.

While developing asynchronous video can be time intensive, there are advantages to using asynchronous content such as:

  • Sustainability. After you create a video or textual content you can reuse it for future course offerings and across multiple courses.
  • Flexibility. Students can access asynchronous content anywhere and anytime. This gives them more flexibility in how they access and interact with content. UBC students have indicated they value this flexibility (McPhee & Lyon, 2020 [pdf]).
  • Internet and bandwidth. Students have fewer constraints from limited internet connections and bandwidth when accessing asynchronous content.
  • Students can playback or re-read. Students can replay and pause video lecture content or re-read textual content.

Section 2: Video Recording Lectures – Synchronous Contexts

One approach to developing asynchronous content is recording your synchronous sessions. Zoom allows for the session to be recorded. Once you have recorded the session, you can share the video with your students on Canvas. If you choose to record your synchronous sessions, be sure to let students know in advance.

It is easy to quickly record and share synchronous lectures. This allows students who were unable to attend to view the lecture and learn from the questions other students asked. It also allows students to review the lecture as many times as necessary to feel confident with the material.


Certain elements of the session may not be captured properly, such as the breakout rooms. The following strategies can help make your recorded lectures more effective and engaging:

  • Use an external microphone when you lead your synchronous online lectures. Higher audio quality is important for reusing and replaying.
  • Download and edit the recording. With editing, you can add annotations and cut out areas that are not useful for replay, such as technical issues.
  • Consider ways that the recording can be incorporated with other content, such as embedding reflective or quiz questions, or linking the video to course readings or discussions.

Section 3: Video Recording Lectures – Asynchronous Contexts

In addition to recording your synchronous online lectures, you can develop videos to replace in-person lecture components and help engage your students. These could include: lecture videos, demonstration videos, virtual field visits/trips, guest speakers, or interviews.

Effective practices for pre-recorded course videos

If you are considering using pre-recorded course videos, there are a few easy things you can do to make them more conducive to learning:

  • Consider creating different types of videos to establish a teaching presence in your online course (e.g. Welcome video, Course orientation, video feedback).
  • Use short chunks. Studies show that a shorter video is the key to engaging students, with approximately 6 minutes as the optimum length. While there is not definitive research showing increased learning from shorter videos, if the students don't watch the video, they can't learn from it. Note: recording short video clips can be time consuming with segmented learning.
  • Emphasize important concepts. Emphasize essential material by highlighting, using pointers, zooming in, and drawing circles, to focus learners’ attention on important points.
  • Design for accessibility. When possible create video transcripts to make your videos accessible for all learners.
  • Design for sustainability. You should also try to design your video so it can be reused in other courses or in the same course in the future. Videos can be time-consuming to create, so make sure you can use the same videos from term to term without having to redo them. Avoid including dates and references to current events that will limit the potential of reusing content from year to year.
  • Don’t overdo it on production. Post-processing can be extremely time-consuming and there is no evidence that it leads to better learning from videos (if anything, slick videos can deceive people into thinking they have learned something when the opposite is the case).

Section 4: Practical Tips and Best Practices

What space or tools are available?

At UBC, you have access to learning spaces to record/livestream your lecture on campus as well as different tools to help you record your lectures such as Zoom, Camtasia, and Kaltura. In addition, there are do-it-yourself (DIY) on-campus studios which allow you to quickly create and share lectures or content videos. The One-Button and the Lightboard studios at UBC Vancouver are open for faculty preparing content for credit courses for both summer and winter academic terms.

Let's Get Started!

Now that you have a better understanding of what a pre-recorded video entails and the tools available at UBC, you are ready to start! We suggest four steps in the process:

Plan your video, you may want to consider the following:

  • In your course, what content requires limited interaction and could be developed as lecture videos?
  • How much content should be included in a video?

What to include in your video?

You may want to focus on concepts, principles or knowledge that students can learn by themselves, aspects of the course that do not require you to spend time introducing or explaining during a live session. You can prepare a script to help you structure the content that you’d like to deliver. For more details, we recommend the following resource: How to use Mayer’s 12 Principles of Multimedia [Examples Included] by Andrew DeBell.

Record your video. This video (Live Lecture and Recording Tips) created by UBC Studios provides useful tips about live lecture and lecture recording, and how you might record in your own space.

Video Recording Tools

There is a variety of UBC-supported tools that allow you to create and share instructional videos with students in Canvas and other websites (UBC Blogs and UBC Wiki).

Recording Tool Description
Zoom* The video recordings will be available in Canvas from the Zoom link in the course menu (cloud recordings) or uploaded to the Media Gallery (local recordings).
PowerPoint with voice over* You can record your slides with voice over and save it as a video file (MP4).
Camtasia* This tool is a screen casting desktop software which allows you to create videos by recording your computer screen and webcam (audio/video). It also supports video editing. Instructions on how to install Camtasia can be found here. A quick guide on how to create lecture videos with Camtasia can be found here. Once you are done creating your video, export it as an MP4 file.


New Webcam Recorder

Kaltura Capture

The following tools from Kaltura allows you to create and share your videos in Canvas directly. Kaltura is available in any Canvas course from My Media (personal repository) and the Media Gallery (shared repository).

  • New Webcam Recorder. This tool is an HTML browser-based webcam recorder that allows you to record a video using your webcam directly from the browser without needing to install additional software. You can use this tool to record short video clips (e.g. Welcome video, Module introduction video, Summary video, etc.). Step-by-step instructions can be found here.
  • Kaltura Capture . This tool is an application that allows you to create videos using a computer screen and webcam. It is available in Canvas under My Media, and it allows you to automatically upload new videos into your personal media repository (My Media). Step-by-step instructions can be found here.
DIY Media and the UBC Studios*

This toolkit provides a list of video recording options:


* These video recording tools (Zoom, PowerPoint, Camtasia, DIY media options) will produce a video file (e.g. .mp4) which you can upload to Canvas (using My Media/Media Upload) for students to access. Please refer to STEP 3: Upload and Share Videos with Students for instructions.

After you have created your recorded lecture, you will need to make it available to students. Depending on which tool you used to create your videos, the process will be different.

Zoom recordings:

When recording in Zoom, you can choose between local recording and cloud recording.

For cloud recordings, you will need to publish the recording in Canvas:

  1. Click on Zoom from the course navigation. (Note: if you have not added the Zoom link to your course yet, please refer to these instructions).
  2. Click on the Cloud Recordings tab.
  3. Toggle the button beside the recording you want to publish to on.

For local recordings, you will need to download the recording from Zoom and then upload to your Canvas course using My Media/Media Upload.

1. Download your Zoom recording.

  • Log into your Zoom account at
  • Go to > click on Local Recordings.
  • Select the recording you want to download and click on the Export button. The file will be downloaded to your computer.

2. Upload to Canvas

  • Log into your Canvas course.
  • Click on Media Gallery from the course navigation menu.
  • Click the + Add Media button on the top right-hand corner.
  • Click Add New > Media Upload.
  • Click Choose a file to upload and select the video from your computer.
  • Select the proper Copyright Permission from the drop down and fill in any other details. Click Save.

Your students will be able to access your recordings by clicking on Media Gallery from the course navigation menu.

TIP: You can also embed your recorded videos in a page, announcement, discussion, etc. within Canvas using the Rich Content Editor (RCE). This allows you to organize your content within your modules and makes it easier for students to find. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

Refer to this guide for more information about Zoom.

Kaltura Recordings

Recordings created using New Webcam Recorder and Kaltura Capture will automatically upload to your My Media area as a private video in your Canvas course. You will need to publish it before students have access.

  1. Click on Media Gallery from your course navigation menu.
  2. Click on the + Add Media button.
  3. Select the video you want to publish by checking the checkbox beside the video.
  4. Click on the Publish button.

Note: If you have not selected a Copyright Permission for your video yet, you will need to do that before the video can be published. The following message will appear, click on Edit and select a Copyright Permission.

TIP: Kaltura - Interactive Video Quizzes. You can embed multiple-choice questions in a video using the Quiz Creator to engage students with the content. Consult the Video Quiz Guide for Creating Quizzes for more details. 

Refer to this guide for more information about Kaltura.

Camtasia Recordings

Recordings produced in Camtasia will need to be exported as a .mp4 file then uploaded to Canvas.

1. Export your recording in Camtasia.

  • Click on Share > Local File
  • Make sure Export to MP4 (.mp4) is selected for the file format
  • Click Export. The file will be saved to your computer.

2. Upload to Canvas.

  • Log into your Canvas course.
  • Click on Media Gallery from the course navigation menu.
  • Click the + Add Media button on the top right-hand corner.
  • Click Add New > Media Upload.

Your students will be able to access your recordings by clicking on Media Gallery from the course navigation menu.

Captioning for Pre-recorded Videos

For accessibility purposes, you will need to make your instructional videos available to students with disabilities (e.g. deaf or hard of hearing students). Captions are also very useful for students that are English language learners or will be viewing the video under less-than-ideal audio conditions. More information on academic accommodations can be found here.

You can submit a captioning request for your videos in Kaltura after they are uploaded. This service is free of charge to instructors. More information on captioning for videos uploaded to Kaltura can be found in the Using Kaltura in Canvas course, Module 9: Ordering, Editing and Viewing Captions.

What Support is Available?

To help you with video recording, you may want to consider the following:

  • What support do you have from your faculty unit for developing video content?
  • What training or experience do you have using programs like Camtasia and Kaltura for video development?

Drop-in Support & Workshops:

Last updated on: September 18, 2020

Learning technology support

If you have any questions or if you would like to report an issue regarding a learning technology, please don’t hesitate to contact us at For in-person support, please join our LTRs at one of our drop-in sessions.