My latest course on React performance is my first time doing live video.

Here's the course introduction that I iterated on until I got my set up in order:


I have to admit, it's a pain – and if someone asked me, "Should I make a course with live video?" and it was their first or second course, I'd say hell no. Remember, Pluralsight only started introducing live video in the last couple of years – since 2004, they've built a billion dollar business with slide-based instructional content.

Now if you want to be a creator (vs. an "instructor"), then sure, being on camera will probably be part of the deal.

To give you an idea of the differences, here's all the stuff that I've found to be annoying and different with live-action course vs. audio-video only:

  • I have to change into the same outfit every time I record so that it's at least consistent within a single clip/module
  • You need to deal with lighting conditions
  • I have 3 lights that all need charging, and right now, I'm waiting for them to recharge because one turned off and I had to stop recording
  • Being animated on camera is entirely different than reading/just focusing on audio (i.e. "stage presence")
  • You have to keep your background consistent
  • You have to redo an entire take to maintain smooth video vs. just redoing a sentence with audio-only
  • You will probably need a teleprompter unless you've got a great memory and can speak intelligibly off-the-cuff (or you will have 10 bad takes for every 1 good one)
  • You have to remember to keep your head in the frame
  • You have to remember to have a lull before and after a live video take so you can smoothly cut

That is all in addition to the regular things you have to do for recording.

There are ways to mitigate and handle some of this (like having a permanently wired setup, getting a better video editor, or getting coached).

Do I like the result? Yes... and so does my PS team:

"The 'buffering' bit is AMAZING. This is exactly what it looks like to communicate concepts through video, taking full advantage of the medium."

I've tried to incorporate similar visual bits throughout the course so far in that same vein.

Will that extra live video juice be worth the squeeze? I guess we'll see once the course comes out 😉

Have a lovely day,

The pain of live video

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