Web-Based Video for Teaching


Modes of Video

Camera Image

Traditional video.  Use a camera to record the action.  For teaching purposes, this could be you simply speaking into the camera, perhaps with a whiteboard behind you.  Or, you might be recording yourself performing a procedure.  For most people the camera in their mobile phone is more than adequate for this.


Record whatever a camera attached to a computer is seeing.  

Handwriting, or Manual Procedure.  

It's possible to record something taking place on a tabletop, using a rig that suspends the camera above the workspace. 


Record what is happening on your computer screen, with a voice narrative.  Screencasting is ideal for creating repeatable, pausible mini-lessons or tutorials available to your students on the web. Screencast videos can free up classtime in face-to-face courses, be a major component of online courses, and may serve as the basis for student-created video assessments.  They can present information on screen in a dynamic way, as well as (optionally) dispense with the complication of camera recording.  In this category we include video recordings of narrated slideshow presentations.


You may elect to record only your voice, with no image.  This is an equally acceptable form of course content, akin to podcasts that are now popular media.  

Video Possibilities

Procedural Videos

With video being cheap and easy to produce, you might consider video messages to your students, that introduce your course and walk them through the syllabus and course procedures.  These can be a great way to both reinforce the syllabus and inject your voice in the class.  Here's an example:

You can also create weekly videos that help students get orientated and organized for an upcoming week of your course.  If you make a habit of it, these can become faster to produce, upload, and install in D2L than typing up a similar email.  Here's an example:

You might also create a tutorial for students, using screencasting to walk them through the steps for using a software tool, or performing a procedure:  

Video Lecture

There are several options to explore if you wish to record video lectures for your online or hybrid course.

A Class Meeting

Remote Meetings

Web Conferencing systems like Zoom can make video recordings of meetings.  These can include all participants, or just the instructor, or just the instructors' screen, depending on the features employed.  A professor should bear in mind that, if the video is to be published where it is publicly available, student images or names should not appear on screen in the video.

In a Classroom

For recording a face-to-face meeting or class, you will likely need a camera assembly (camera, tripod, and microphone) set.  You may have and know how to use this equipment, but if not, contact the Canisius College Media Center for assistance.  Naturally this should be done as early as possible before an event, since the Media Center's support service is requested by many faculty, and campus offices.  Plus, depending on your requirements, it may take time to set up equipment.  

Student Project Video

As an assignment, you can have students record videos of their own, ranging from simple webcam monologues, tutorials or demonstrations, or even longer documentaries.  Students can either use cameras built into their own devices, or borrow cameras and related equipment from the Canisius College Media Center.  Check out our Guide to Student Video Projects for ideas and resources.

Recording Options

Laptop or Desktop Recording


If you use Zoom for remote meetings, it's a serious contender as a video recorder.  It can record webcam, screencast, and even whiteboard video, or some combination of these.  It has simple but effective options for recording to your desktop and even more features if you record to Zoom's cloud storage, and promptly download your videos from there.  

Zoom lacks a video editor, and some other features that may lead you to choose another option.  But it will do simple jobs and is probably adequate for most faculty.  

Zoom's on-board recording options. To use Zoom as a video recorder, start a meeting without any invitees, and record yourself, your screen, or both.  

Zoom has several screensharing modes, so that screencasting with Zoom is easy. 

If you record to the Zoom Cloud, you get more options as to what your video looks like.  However, you should promptly download your videos and host them elsewhere, as Canisius's Zoom Recording Cloud can only hold any video for 30 days.

While students do not have access to the Canisius pro version of Zoom, they can use the free version to record simple videos.  


Clipchamp is a freemium software (i.e., free software with some "premium" features behind a paywall) provides a more robust video editor than Panopto.

Check out our tutorials on ClipChamp or their Ultimate Guide to Making Videos with ClipChamp.

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio

OBS is a downloadable, lightweight, and open source recording software. OBS allows you to record multiple screens, audio (like microphones) sources, webcams, and more all at once.

Note: OBS is only a recorder. It does not have editing tools. For editing the video, you will have to use another software, such as iMovie for Macs, Video Editor for Windows PC, Clipchamp, or one of the other browser-based editors. Other alternatives include DaVinci Resolve, which Faculty, Staff, and Students have access to, and Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects, which Faculty and Staff have access to via Adobe Creative Cloud and students can access these programs via lab computers. However, these last three software are "professional-grade" tools and take time to learn.

Check out our tutorial page for OBS or check out the OBS Quick Start Guide.

Other (Simple) Options on Mac

Quicktime for Mac will record using your webcam, screencasts, and even audio-only clips.  

iMovie is available for Mac users, for free.  This is a powerful video builder or editor tool.  You can either edit clips you record (with your iPhone camera, or Quicktime, for example) or build videos using still images, video clips, and your voice as a narrative.  

Other (Simple) Options on Windows

Microsoft Windows' built-in Camera App will record using your webcam.  

Windows has a simple on-board Video Editor that can allow you to make simple cuts, without having to download any additional software.

Powerpoint for Windows allows you to export a narrated presentation as a .mp4 file. This is probably the simplest method for recording something like a lecture or slide-based lesson.

Other Web-Based Options

Canva- Another freemium web-based suite of tools mostly touted for the ability to quickly make posters and other graphics, you can also record (webcam only) and edit videos with Canva. While the editor is not as robust as Clipchamp (i.e., less options/features), it is a lot easier to quickly edit videos.

Adobe Express- Adobe Express is a lightweight, web-based version of Adobe's suite of products (like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, etc.). Also based on the freemium model, it only allows you to record a voice over, so you will have to use another tool to screen record if you need that. It has similar controls to Canva. The editor is lacking in some features when compared to ClipChamp, but makes up for it with other features, particularly where text is concerned.

Scenery- Another freemium, web-based, video editing tool, Scenery offers collaborative video editing as well as other advanced features.

Professional-Grade Video Editors

Adobe Premiere Pro: A professional-grade video editing tool for quick edits (like cutting and removing sections of video, speeding up sections of video, etc.) and some special effects. All faculty and staff have access to Adobe Premiere Pro via Adobe Cloud and students can access it via certain lab computers. Adobe also has a great set of tutorials on Premiere Pro.

DaVinci Resolve: Another professional video editor from Black Magic Design. Resolve is available to all students, faculty, and staff. Black Magic Design also has a robust set of tutorials for Resolve.

Camera Recording: Hardware and Setup 

Any digital camera can potentially record video.  These vary widely in form and quality, so that it's too much to cove here, beyond noting that these are perfectly good options.  Plus, if you own this hardware, you probably know how to use it for video!  For example, if you use a DSLR for still photography, the steps are mostly the same as those for static images.   

Since it's probably the most readily available camera type (and capable of good quality video at close ranges), here's some basic tips for recording with a mobile phone.

A Spot to Record

When recording, choose a place or room relatively free of extra noise, background distractions, and other things that can make it difficult for your viewer to focus on what you are recording.  

Good lighting arrangements make for great video.  If you just start recording you may notice that your video is either too dark, or harshly lit (usually from one side, with dark shadows on the other.)  Three recommendations:

  1. Have plenty of light.  You can buy gear, but arranging desk lamps, camp lanterns, or other light sources you already own, might do the job.
  2. In general, try to have light in front and above you.  Facing a window to take advantage of daylight is best.  Try not to have bright lights behind you and in view of the camera (including bright daylight coming into a window.)
  3. If you want semi-professional lighting, check out YouTube tutorials for the basics.  There's a lot of great advice from channels (see our favorites).
  4. Try to have the camera slightly above your eye line. This will help force you to look up into the camera as well as prevent you from being perceived as looking down at your audience. You can stack books or boxes to do this. 
  5. Put your laptop/webcam on a stable surface. It is very convenient to put your laptop on your lap and just record. However, that itch you need to scratch or that slight movement to make yourself more comfortable will be exasperated in the recording.
  6. Experiment.  If it looks good to you, it's great.  

Remember: for a lot of teaching, screencasting may be all you need.  So if you find camera setup and operation unappealing, and have no specific use for videorecorded procedures or scenes, you may dispense with camera video altogether.

Video Hosting with Panopto

At Canisius, in almost all cases academic video is stored in Panopto, a video hosting service available specifically for coursework.  It is conveniently located within D2L, so that students may simply think of course videos as "in D2L" without realizing it is a separate service.

See our Panopto Resource for Faculty to discover how to use Panopto for academic video.

Additional Tutorials

If you are using any video capture or recording through your web browser (such as in Google Meet or Panopto Capture) you may need to switch cameras.  

Step-by-step written tutorial: Changing Webcams in the Browser