Video: Overview

Short recordings of animations, tutorials, interviews, documentaries, etc.

Area of application

Videos are currently a very popular format, including in the training field. They can be used as a stand-alone medium that learners use without or in their own context. They can also be easily embedded in educational programmes or events, for example in face-to-face or virtual events like (online) seminars, group meetings or workshops, as part of a Web-Based Training, etc., or for many other purposes like documentation, promotion, communication, etc.

What makes the video a tricky format to describe is its variety. A recording of an online seminar, an animation or a short film are all examples of videos. However, they require very different planning and resources. That’s why this topic is split into several parts:

  • Recording of an (online) event: Many online seminars or other (online) events are recorded, either to provide participants with the opportunity to re-watch the event, or to enable those who could not participate to watch it later. As it does not take much to design or produce such videos, this format is not profiled. Instead it is covered as learning experience.  
  • Videos based on a presentation: It is increasingly common for “non-professionals” to create videos that correspond to their “live” trainings. A popular and easy way of doing so is to create a video by enhancing a Powerpoint presentation with video and audio, and export it as a film.
    There are many tutorials available online with some practical tips and tricks, for example this one:
  • Animations: These are the classic “explanatory videos”, i.e. short animated films being constructed solely using software. These videos have a professional look and feel, so they can be used not only as training material, but also for promotional purposes. Click here to learn more about animations.
  • Live-action movies: These videos use real footage, i.e. film material recorded by means of a camera/microphone. Live-action movies used in training can be interviews with experts, actors simulating a certain situation, documentaries showing certain environments, or many other types of content.



A video can be distributed on open-access platforms, uploaded on websites (e.g. the PTB intranet) or learning management systems, e.g. Moodle, or shared via email / file transfer or even on a USB stick.

Video is primarily a “one-way” medium where the viewer perceives the content transmitted through the movie. The interactive element in videos is limited to the viewer pausing or resuming a video or, in some player applications, choosing the speed.

Virtual mode

Video is, by design, a digital medium. It is more easily included in virtual events or trainings but can also be used in face-to-face settings as well, provided that the necessary hardware, e.g. screen, projector and audio speakers, is available.



Videos are suitable in many training settings, e.g. to introduce to a topic, give an overview, illustrate or visualize, document, promote, or simply add “spice” to other training formats.

Things to consider when using videos as part of a training:

  • Video accessibility: how and when will users access the video? Make it accessible accordingly (e.g. on a platform)
  • Audio: can users hear the sound of the video?  In online events, the presenter needs to share their computer audio, in face-to-face events the presenter needs to ensure beforehand that a speaker is available.
  • Online or offline version: reliable internet connection might be needed for online use
  • Language: can all viewers understand the video? For non-native speakers, captions/subtitles are helpful.



The higher the costs, in terms of time, money and expertise, put into the video production, the bigger the target group should be in order to get return on investment.

While it is difficult to generalize, it is assumed that the attention span when watching videos is  less than a minute. Therefore, videos should be as short as possible.

Even experienced developers cannot predict the video outcome before it is implemented. As a result, (minor) changes are often needed during the implementation phase. To avoid massive additional work, it is recommended (especially for animations) to create a so-called “animatic”, i.e. a prototype version of the video using placeholder visuals and preliminary narration to check whether the timing fits.




The required time for production depends on several aspects, the main one among which is the format of a video. Providing a recording of an online seminar can be done within minutes, whereas producing a high-level content-specific video can take up to several months.



Similarly to time, the budget varies depending on the video format. A video can be produced almost for free (e.g. if an online event is simply recorded and uploaded on an open-access platform). Alternatively, a properly designed and professionally made video can cost several thousand Euros to produce.



The software for editing videos is often similar, even though there is specialized software for certain types of video. The most common commercial tools for video editing are Adobe AfterEffects and Camtasia, but there are numerous other commercial or free-to-use and open-source tools. The illustration below shows a generic video-editing tool with its basic features. The exact features and where they can be found varies from application to application.



The roles in video production are similar for all video formats. However, the specific tasks for each role might differ depending on the format. In general, they are:

Subject matter expert:
provides the technical expertise.


Heike Koch

Contact us
© Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt