Recording an online event

What to consider when recording an online event?

The challenge

Online events such as online seminars, workshops and group meetings have become very common, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Recording such an event presents an opportunity as it is much easier and cheaper than recording an in-person event which might require professional equipment and a camera operator. Video recordings make it possible to share the event with persons who could not participate or for participants to re-watch the event. While video recordings have such advantages, they also come with challenges: some are specific to the online character of the event and others apply to all recorded events.

Areas of application:

all online events.


Before the recording

If time and effort are invested in making and sharing a recording, it should be ensured beforehand that the event is designed in a way which makes the content of the recorded version relevant and understandable.


Questions that should be considered include:

  • Is there anything which is not visible in the recording (e.g. the chat, where an external link might be shared) but which is crucial to understand what is going on?
  • Will the content still be relevant in a few days or a few weeks? If not, can it be adapted in a way to make it so?

The agreement of all participating parties that the event can be recorded and shared afterwards is necessary. Make sure this agreement is given before the recording starts.
This refers not only to things said during the event, but also to text in the chat (some videoconferencing tools do not record the chat, or provide an option whether to record it or not as well as the pictures/videos of participants). If some participants do not want to be in the recording, they can be offered the option to only share their thoughts via chat (if the chat is not recorded). Then, the host has to make sure to anonymize their contributions when reading them out/commenting on them.


During the recording

Consider the time you start the recording. Often, events are recorded right from the beginning, which means that they include all the “Hello” and “Can you hear me?” which are an obligatory part of each online event. Spare this part to the viewers by starting the recording only when the event actually starts or edit those parts out.
And, very important: Do not forget to hit the “Record” button!


After the recording: Video Editing

Every online event has parts which are chaotic, irrelevant, silent or simply boring. While attending the event, this is often not a major problem as it is part of the experience of a live event. If the recording is viewed later though, it can be unpleasant. Viewers either need to endure it, or skip ahead which creates the risk of missing some important content. In order to improve the experience for viewers, it might be worth considering to edit the recording.

Basic video editing can be done by the event host. One aspect of the editing is to cut out the unnecessary parts. Another aspect is to adjust the volume of speakers to make the whisperers a bit louder and turn down the screamers. To learn more about video editing, take a look at “Video – Overview”.

Before exporting the edited recording, make sure that the file size has not (significantly) increased. Often, file sizes are doubled, tripled or even quadrupled after editing. It might be necessary to choose a lower quality to ensure that the video is still accessible with reasonable connection speeds.
Fees for licenses of video editing applications or external professionals, in case a more sophisticated editing is required, might need to be budgeted.


After the recording: Video Sharing

 The recording is a single video file that can be shared in different ways:

  • upload it to a video-sharing platform to make it available to the public or a selected target group.
  • upload it to the 9.3 Wiki, to Moodle, or include it in any other website. Again, depending on the settings, the video is accessible to anyone or to a selected group only.
  • share the video via NextCloud or on an external storage device.

Tools and technical aspects

The main tool is the videoconferencing tool, such as DFN or Tixeo. If it provides a recording function, and no editing of the recording is required, this is the only tool that is needed.

If a recording function is not available in the tool, an external screen recorder might be used. There are many such tools available, e.g. oCam and Icecream Screen Recorder.
Finally, if editing the recording is required, a video editing tool is needed. There are commercial ones like Adobe Premiere or Camtasia, which come with required license fees (unless a time-limited trial version is used), or open-source tools like Kdenlive or OpenShot. A basic tool available to all Windows users is Video-Editor.


Heike Koch

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