How to create training videos that don't suck.

If you need to convey important information and you want everyone to be on the same page, you need to create a training video. Below we’ll walk you through our step by step formula, from planning through editing, for effective training videos that guarantee success.

You may be struggling to change or preserve your organization’s culture. Your workforce may lack consistency. Or simply, you’re suffering from an inability to gather in groups because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following these steps will lead to well-informed viewers:

Step 1 - Chose a desired outcome

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture a perfect world where…

      • Onboarding doesn’t take forever
      • Health and safety are always top of mind
      • You don’t have to answer the same question a thousand times a day
      • There is no confusion about behaviors and expectations

Everyone considering creating a training video should define what success looks like from the very beginning. That is, every training video makes a simple promise to the viewer: “After watching this video, you should confidently be able to _______.”

Step 2 - Document best practices

Create an outline of all the information your viewer needs to understand. Give extra attention to topics where you believe they might get stuck. It’s always a good idea to share this outline with staff and those who will actually need to implement it to get feedback.

Step 3 - Choose an appropriate style

There are many styles of training videos, some may be more effective than others at helping you achieve your goal. Here are some to keep in mind:


A screencast is a recording of a computer monitor usually used to walk the viewer through software programs.


A demo video helps the viewer to understand complex processes by visualizing the step-by-step instructions.

Role Play

Walk a mile in their shoes. A role play video can help change the viewer's perspective by allowing them to view things from someone else’s point of view.


Presentations are straightforward and informational. They can be aided by printouts or PowerPoints. Sometimes keeping it simple is the way to go.


Seminars are a great way for strong public speakers to engage viewers. Seminar videos work especially well with a live audience who can interact and serve as a proxy for the viewers.


We love working with real people; that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the power of animation to help train. Animations help to visualize situations that would be dangerous, or impossible to film.


The explainer video excels at introducing a product, idea, or process helping learners reach a better understanding of topics that might be unfamiliar to them.


Transport viewers to a different environment. Let them explore it on their own. 360 videos engage in a way no others can, distraction free.


An interactive training video prompts viewers to make decisions or answer questions as they watch.


Using interviews for training videos conveys messages from leadership in their own words.

Step 4 - Script and storyboard

Think of your script as a playbook, a written manual that will help you fulfill the promise you made in step 1. It should contain any spoken lines and also reference actions, locations, and additional visual needs. Here’s an example:

A storyboard is a necessary tool when making training videos that require demonstrations of complex steps.

Step 5 - Casting

You’ll need to make a decision about who will be on-camera or narrate the film. This is important and shouldn’t be overlooked or left to the last minute. Would your message be better received if it came from someone younger or more experienced? There are a few options when considering your leading man or woman.

Employees – It is absolutely appropriate to use staff in your training videos. However, they should be on board with the idea of being on-camera. If they feel uncomfortable, their discomfort will be very obvious and will only serve to distract. When using an employee in your video, don’t forget to block out their schedule and make sure they are available when you plan to film.

Professional actors – Using actors is the best way to deliver a training experience where you need to dramatize or show emotion. While they may seem like an extra cost, consider this: a professional actor can deliver their lines accurately and with ease; that efficiency allows you to film much more in a day than you would normally if you were using an employee who needed to re-do their lines.

Friends and family – Unfortunately, this rarely ever works out well. While we like to think we could count on relatives and friends to help, it leads to a very big problem all productions should avoid: lack of reliability.

Step 6 - Capture Footage

Schedule your shooting day taking into account everyone’s availability.  With a plan in hand, you can begin capturing the material. Let’s go over some equipment needs:

Camera, Tripod – The cellphone in your pocket might be good enough, but make sure you lock it down so viewers don’t get seasick.

Microphone – Audio is half the experience, nothing ruins a great-looking video like bad audio. Avoid on-camera microphones; they are good for capturing ambient natural sounds, but we do not recommend them for filming anyone speaking. Lavaliers, both wireless and wired, are preferred but suffer from rustling noises if the wearer is engaged in physical activity. A shotgun microphone above your speaker and just out of frame can be a good compromise.

Lighting – Controlled lighting gives videos a polished, professional look. It communicates to the audience that the information being presented is important. Even outdoors, the sun can be controlled by using diffusion fabrics and flags to cut, soften, and shape its rays.

Teleprompter – Memorizing a script is difficult. If you’re using employees on-camera, consider using a teleprompter. They’re not just for news anchors. There are even cost-effective ways to turn a tablet into a teleprompter.

Setting – Of course, you’ll need a place to film. Choose a location that is relatively quiet, where you have control of lighting and foot traffic. Filming during off-hours may solve some logistical issues.

Use a shot list to keep track of the best takes. They also keep track of everything you need to record.

Step 7 - Post-production

Everything is in the can and it’s time to combine all of the individual elements into a finished piece. The script and storyboard will serve as a guide in the post-production process as well. Keep an open mind and allow for some flexibility. You might encounter sections that worked well when written on paper but didn’t translate exactly as you hoped into video.

Our studio handles post-production in three stages:

The rough cut: A rough cut is made to resemble the final video but may be lacking color correction, music, animations, or motion graphics. It is used to confirm the accuracy and structure of the content.

Fine cut: A fine cut incorporates any feedback from the rough cut and adds all of the final elements, including music, animation, and graphics. The fine cut is then reviewed.

Final cut: A final cut takes care of all feedback and tweaks. It is the version of the video that is ready to be published.

Step 8 - Distribution and tracking

Physical media is dead. Learners are more likely to watch training videos on a computer or their phone. That’s because today you can use video distribution platforms such as Wistia, Vimeo, or even YouTube to share your videos publicly or privately via a link to the services or embedded in an internal employee resource page. One of the key benefits of this form of distribution is tracking.

With rich analytical tools, you can see if the videos are being watched all the way through or if viewers are tuning out. You can use this behavior data for optimization. If your organization is creating several training videos, you can conduct A/B testing by producing different styles and see which one resonates with your audience.

Keys to success

We believe clear, defined processes are the key to success when it comes to making any video. And we hope this guide will help you get started on meeting your training and L&D goals.

Is health and safety a concern as you return back to your office? Can’t afford to get it wrong?  We’re here to help.  Planning your next training video starts with a free 15-minute discovery call.  Schedule one today.

Schedule a 15 minute call to get started.