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Guidelines for Developing Multimedia

Here are some take-a-ways regarding developing multimedia, especially micro-lectures:

  • Video length matters.  Videos that exceed four to seven minutes are unlikely to be viewed unless they are required, and even then it's not a guarantee.
  • Voice quality in narration matters. Although preference in type of voice inevitably varies, the narrator’s voice is noticed over production value. It is important that the narrator speaks evenly and clearly but does not sound like they are reading from a script.
  • Include example scenarios which will help ground the viewer to the information - essentially creating a 'memory anchor.'
  • For brief how-to videos, there is a small preference for screencast instructional videos over a narrative role play scenario.

Multimedia Authoring Tools Heading link

This area will provide you with some examples of software and hardware used to develop multimedia elements.

Authoring Tools to Create Your Own Video & Audio

  • Lightboard: This is a unique way to develop video content. Essentially, it is two very long pieces of glass or some similar material, with light infused from the bottom. You can use dry erase markers to write on the glass, and incorporate images or slides in your presentation as well. Currently, there is only one of these tools and it is located on the east side of the Chicago campus.
  • Microphones
    • If you are recording audio using your computer, do a test of the internal microphone by recording yourself speaking. On play back, if the sound is decent, you probably do not need to purchase or borrow a microphone.
    • Otherwise, there are lavalier mics available from Amazon that are quite inexpensive. You can also ask IT staff at your campus if they lend out microphones.
    • Check out Adobe Mic Check to ensure you will produce the best sound.
    • Here are some options:


  • Articulate (Rise, Storyline, etc.)
    • Note – there is a small team of users from the three campuses. This tool is quite expensive so the team is small for now.
  • TechSmith Camtasia
    • Note: no longer available through the UI Webstore, only through iBuy or purchased via retail.
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Echo Universal Capture
    • You can download this tool from the Echo360 website. Log in to, click on the settings wheel in the upper right, and download the Universal Capture – Personal program. If you use a PC, you can also download a Microsoft PowerPoint Ribbon add-on so you can record directly from PowerPoint. This only works on PC, not Mac.
  • Panopto
    • This is not used as often in COM as Echo360.
  • PowToon
  • Explain Everything (mobile app, mainly for tablets)
  • Zoom
    • Probably the most common way we record.

Mic Check!

It is important you have a decent microphone (see examples above of recommendations) and you record in an area that is free from distractions such as noise coming from a piece of equipment of even the air conditioning. These types of noises can have a surprising effect on the quality of your recording. Even if you have a great microphone, consider using Adobe Mic Check to be sure the resulting audio will be ‘podcast ready’. We can also use Adobe Enhance Speech if necessary to ‘clean up’ any audio that sounds a bit off. At UIC, we have access to Adobe so if prompted, sign in with your NETID and password.

Some tips for stellar voice narration

  1. Avoid ingesting dairy products prior to recording. It increases mucus production and can lead to unwanted mouth sounds.
  2. Green apple slices will lubricate your mouth without creating unwanted mouth sounds. If you are sick, consider how sick you are and decide whether to record or not – tea with honey can help.
  3. Avoid very cold beverages as they can freeze the vocal cords.
  4. Maintain a consistent distance from the microphone and speak at a consistent volume.
  5. Proceed in a relaxed pace. There is no need to rush. Remember, that non-native English speakers watch our videos too.
  6. FACT (source unknown): 95% of screencasters hate the sound of their own voice. Don’t fret. It’s fine.
  7. Not a bad idea to invest in a pop filter. This is a piece of nylon stretched across a hoop that covers the mic. It keeps your breath from hitting the grille of the mic, thus avoiding those annoying sounds when you say words that start with “p” or “b”.
  8. Don’t forget to pause between actions you are showing. Go slower than you typically would.
  9. In a recording, background noise can be the ruin of an otherwise finished product. Be on the lookout for jewelry, squeaky chair, noise from fluorescent lights, and other external noises, to list a few.
  10. Breathe silently. Many screencasters forget to breathe in until the very end of a sentence. This results in a very audible sharp intake of breath called a ‘catch breath.’ It sounds bad, so avoid it!

Video Quizzes

Video can be used for more than podcasts or tutorials. Here is a collection of software titles to use for creating video quizzes:

Authoring Tools to Create Your Own Animations

Authoring Tools to Create Your Own Images

Color & Accessibility

Some interesting articles on how to select ‘the right color’:

Four ways to Choose Color Palettes for eLearning:

Five Popular Color Schemes:

The Color Effect: How your Palette Affects Learners: