Pre-recorded video

Short pre-recorded videos can be used to provide input in various (virtual) events when a presentation in real time is not feasible.

Area of application

 Input that for various practical reasons cannot be presented in real time during an event might still be included in the form of short pre-recorded videos.

The pre-recorded videos do not necessarily need to be made professionally. They can either be self-shot by the input-giver or recorded during a prior meeting with the event organizers. Some typical examples in the context of international cooperation projects include:

  • A greeting message by a person who cannot attend an “online seminar” (e.g. a top-level manager or an external partner)
  • Pre-recorded information on the status of a project or a project component by different partners as preparation for a steering committee meeting
  • Screencasting a demonstration of a website, database or software application and its structure and functionalities and presenting it without the delay that is produced by the system itself, a poor connection, or by “Murphy’s law”
  • Filming of equipment and working processes in a laboratory as a basis for hands-on laboratory training, pre-assessment consultancy or an interview. Videos can be pre-recorded both by the trainer/assessor/consultant and by the trainees/laboratory staff.


The pre-recorded video replaces live input which would otherwise be given during an event. The video might be made available to all participants before or after an event. Alternatively, it might be played during the event as one of the agenda points. The disadvantage of a pre-recorded video compared to a real-time input by the presenter is that participants cannot engage in a direct Q&A session with the presenter. In that case the interaction is rather a one-way transmission of information. Interaction might still take place asynchronously via “like” buttons or other icons and comments on the platform where the pre-recorded video is presented or uploaded.

Virtual mode

Pre-recorded video input provides a solution to typical challenges of virtual events, such as difficulty to bring together people from different time zones, limited time for virtual meetings, impossibility to travel for an on-site visit, or the need to mix methods to keep participants engaged during online events.


For in-depth guidelines please see the general profile “Video overview”.

A pre-recorded video input might be self-made by the input giver, e.g. with their own mobile device or with a screencast application. It can show the presenter’s working space or any other object, equipment or surrounding. Alternatively, another person can shoot the video, e.g. the organiser might meet and talk with the input giver before the event and record the conversation or the message.

Prior to the recording, clear instructions or an interview guideline need to be provided by the event organizer to tailor the content and style of the input to the objectives of the event and the target audience. Depending on the objective of the pre-recording (e.g. a technical training in a laboratory), a script might be necessary, which outlines the exact steps to be performed and the accompanying audio narration and the positioning of the presenter.

For the camera operator, prior light and sound as well as camera movements and zoom-in/zoom-out checks are highly recommended.

There are a number of tools and applications that can be used to produce and share pre-recorded videos. When choosing them, it is important to keep in mind and comply with the data protection and privacy regulations in the location of the trainer and trainees. The software applications mentioned below serve only as examples. Before use, users should check whether they comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and other applicable legislation as well as meeting IT security requirements.

The video might be sent to participants as a data file, uploaded on the organizer’s website or to a content-sharing platform such as YouTube or Vimeo and shared as a link, or be played from the computer of the organiser via shared screen during a videoconferencing meeting.


It might be tempting to ask participants to watch pre-recorded videos before the event. In practice, such preparation work is often skipped, so it might be necessary to budget time for watching the video during the event. Nevertheless, time is still saved, as real-time interaction, especially when different people are involved, always takes longer than the net content.

If the video is played during the event, sending a link to the video is easier than streaming it. However, input providers might be reluctant to have their videos uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or another platform, so organizers need to be get a clear prior permission.

Make videos as short as possible (i.e., a couple of minutes). Editing and cutting the video down to the most relevant and essential content saves time for all participants and keeps them focused.

After editing the input, it is recommended to check back with the input giver and get their approval to make sure you have not taken information out of context.

If you are making a technical video in laboratory:

  • ensure that the laboratory is clean and tidy prior to the recording. Unnecessary objects lying around will distract the attention of the viewers from the demonstration;
  • prepare all necessary materials and equipment needed for the demonstration in advance and have them within easy reach
  • align the visuals with the narration (i.e. the expert should keep it simple and only explain the task that they are demonstrating)

The video does not have to show a perfect demonstration. Sometimes recording mistakes or incorrect ways of performing tasks can have instructional value as well.




Sufficient time needs to be planned to develop the script for the video, shoot it and edit it.

Do not underestimate the time needed to shoot even a short (e.g. three-minute) video as multiple takes might be necessary to get the shooting angle, view and other details right.

Additional time for quality control and editing after the recording needs to be planned.



The costs are low, as mobile phone cameras usually provide sufficient resolution and free videoconferencing tools and video editing programmes such as iMovie and Inshot are available.



Shooting the video:
Mobile phone camera, screencast application or videoconference recording. Good light and sound are important.

Video editing:
Video editing offers many possibilities to improve and enhance the recording. The extent to which video editing is used depends on the technical skills of the staff. At a minimum, mobile phone applications or simple editing programmes such as iMovie can be used to shorten the video and to increase the quality (light, contrast, etc.).

The video can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or another public or private content-sharing platform.




The following roles are involved in the recording of videos:

pre-defines and communicates the content, guiding questions, length, style, etc.; edits the video and checks back with the input giver; distributes or uploads the video, if necessary.

Input giver:
provides input in front of a camera or records her or his working environment (e.g. laboratory).


Suzana Lange, Heike Koch, Elsa Batista

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