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4 Ways to Tell Video Stories During Lockdown

Video serves many critical purposes in learning today. It’s a flexible, cost-effective, and ubiquitous medium that can deliver powerful stories to create the right impact at the right time. So how can you adapt the way you tell stories in learning when high-end video production is no longer an option? In this blog post, Frank McCabe, LEO Learning’s Executive Producer in charge of Moving Image, looks at four alternative options.

In common with almost every business on the planet, LEO Learning is having to think creatively about how we can sustain great levels of service for our customers. Although office working is on hold for the time being, the nature of what we produce means that, for the most part, a relatively ‘normal’ service can be maintained. That means eLearning scriptwriting, testing, graphic design and project management can all be carried out at home without any notable drop in efficiency.

But there’s one area that is severely compromised: namely video production.

So our challenge is to find alternatives to conventional video shoots, and we’ve already implemented a few of these solutions on existing learning programs.

LEO’s Moving Image team has identified four effective formats that allow us to fulfill the dramatic, narrative, or inter-personal aspects of a learning program:


The simplest switch to make is from video to animation. All the work required to produce an animation can continue while working from home. In addition, many professional voice artists have home recording studios and can be briefed virtually. Consider whether your content ‘fits’ an animated style by asking:

  • Is it inherently visual content?
  • Does it focus on a structure or process?
  • Are the key messages focused AWAY from behaviors?

If the answer to any of these is no, you may want to consider one of the alternative options listed below.

Discover more: ‘Virtual Learning: The Definitive Guide’

2) Self-Tape Video

Some forms of video, designed to deliver certain messages, can be recorded by individual contributors. So interviews, hints and tips videos, leadership messages and so on are prime candidates for this.

Certain dramatic contexts can work well with this format too. We recently designed a drama in which a hacker sends video messages to a bank employee, warning of potential security breaches he’s looking to exploit. The actor will ‘self-tape’ these segments on their own phone.

You can help your subject matter experts (SMEs) to improve the quality of their home production by giving them the equipment they need. We recently posted broadcast-level microphones to a group of our SMEs so they can record themselves on their mobile devices.

3) Audio-Led Video

Whether you’re intending to use actors, staff, presenters or SMEs in your learning, recording audio is still very feasible. The podcast explosion of the past few years makes the audio-only format—viewed as almost obsolete a few years ago—valid again.

Can you set up a remote chat between two SMEs and record it? Is there value in a voice artist narrating a story with some still images? Done right, there’s actually a huge set of combinations of ‘audio with…’ that are potentially highly effective.

You might also like: ‘How to Deliver Effective Learning Journeys at Distance’

4) Mixed Media Using Stock Footage

We’re currently creating a number of mixed media presentations for clients using pre-existing footage. This stock comes from either their own library of materials or our subscription-based resources like iStock. In fact, most commonly we’re using a combination of both these sources.

Footage can be ‘treated’ (i.e. visually stylized or color-graded) to make the end-result feel fresh and customized to the project. Soundtracks and voiceovers are important elements that can have a big impact on the quality of your production.

Is your organization adapting to working from home? Discover how to customize your learning program with our free insight ‘Transitioning From Face-To-Face to Digital Learning’.

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