How to Make a Great Educational Video

March 20, 2024

Content creation can be such a daunting task especially when you are new. Working with video is not always easy and for most people, getting started is the hardest part. Do I have the right setup? What Equipment do I need? How do I even record a video? Is anybody even going to watch? These are the questions that cross our minds whenever we first get started in the world of Youtube or any other video hosting platform. In this article, I’ll help you figure out all the answers to these questions and more.

Recording your First Video:

Starting making videos is more often than not a mental block because in reality, you can start with little to no equipment nowadays. In addition, countless free tools allow you to capture your screen, and record your microphone that make content creation very accessible. Even most phones have a decent camera that can help you record yourself. When it comes to editing, there are thousands upon thousands of tutorials available on Youtube for free.

Here’s all you need to get started making your first video:

  • First, an Idea
  • Then, research + script
  • Something to record your video
  • A way to edit your video
  • A platform to publish

Please notice that in this list I don’t mention anything about equipment, microphones, lighting, computers, soundboards, etc. It’s not that complicated. Hundreds of YouTubers get tens of thousands of subscribers without any fancy equipment, without any editing, and with just a phone.

I’m not saying quality doesn’t matter at all because it does but if you’re just getting started let’s focus on getting you started with the process before we worry about all the other stuff.

💡 Focus on creating your first video and then work on improving something each time.

How to Set up OBS

When it comes to recording your gameplay, OBS studio is one of the best tools out there and it’s completely free. OBS allows you to capture your screen and record audio on separate tracks which is great especially if you’re trying to record gaming videos while playing with friends or coaching over discord.

  1. Download OBS Studio for free.
  2. Install OBS.
    • Follow the setup instructions presented to you in the install wizard.
  3. Create new scenes & sources.
    1. Scenes
      1. First thing you want to do after installing OBS is setting up your scenes and sources. You will have to create sources for each scene. Think of scenes as presets with different sources. You will be able to switch between them easily and if you’re new to OBS i recommend you create 4 different scenes depending on what you want to use OBS studio for.
        1. Streaming scene
          • This will be your default layout in which you will spend the majority of your stream. This scene will include sources such as camera, screen capture, gameplay, sound sources & alerts.
        2. Recording scene
          • When recording, perhaps you’re only interested in recording gameplay without camera or you want to position it differently and disable overlays and alerts. Having a recording scene helps create videos that are not streamed live.
        3. Full Camera
          • This can be used whenever you want to hide your screen during your stream and allows u to transition to full camera swiftly.
        4. Sound
          • It’s always a good idea to have a scene where you monitor all sound sources. It’s very unlikely that you will have to switch to this scene at any time during a recording or stream but it’s considered good practice to keep track of all sound channels especially when having multiple devices.
    2. Sources
      1. Gameplay Capture → It’s pretty straight forward. Gameplay capture will simply record your game and that’s it. Gameplay capture is great when you only want to record a single game at a time without needing to alt tab. Best used when playing the game and recording or streaming at the same time.
      2. Display Capture → Display capture records your entire screen. You get to choose which monitor you want to record and then it will capture everything that shows up on the chosen screen.
      3. Video Capture → This source is most commonly used for adding webcam footage on screen. Select the device you want to use to record your video and then manually adjust the size to your liking.
      4. Text Capture → While limited in scope, text capture allows you to add text to your screen. This is very often used when trying to convey a certain information to your audience without having the need to repeat yourself multiple times.
      5. Sound Input & Output. → Sound input refers to all the sounds going into the system like your microphone. System output is everything that comes outwards from your system such as music and sounds coming from your game, music, other people on discord and such. A pro tip is having all output sounds on separate tracks to make your life easier if you decide to edit these recordings.
  4. Adjust Video Settings
    1. video resolution - Depending on how powerful your PC, you want to record in either 1080p, 1440p or 2160p also known as 4K. I do not recommend going higher than 1080 unless you have a high end machine for editing. Most viewers in 2024 don't even own a 4k monitor so they wouldn't be able to tell much of a difference anyway.
    2. Bitrate - Bitrate when recording is different than when streaming because recording locally doesn't rely on your internet connection so you can easily bump the bitrate to 15000 and more. Play around with the bitrate until you start noticing performance issues and then adjust accordingly.
  5. Separate Audio Tracks
  6. Choose File Location
    1. Last thing you want to do before pressing Start Recording is choosing the file location where you want the footage to be stored on your computer. Depending on the settings you have selected file size will vary so i definitely suggest recording your footage on a drive with at least 100gb of free space. For reference, a good benchmark to keep in mind is 2.5gb for 20 minutes of raw 1080p 60fps footage.

What Makes a Great Educational Video?

A great educational video follows the following formula:

  • Only 1 topic per video with this structure:
    • What is it that we are teaching?
    • Why is it important?
    • How do you do it?
  • The topic is explained in all the different ways it is needed to cover all details.
  • It is a generally good to NOT dumb down or simplify a concept just because it is considered “too advanced”
  • The creator doesn’t only explain but also shows how to get better at the topic of the video

💡 Ideally after watching a video the viewer always:

  • Has something to remember
  • Feels like they have learned something new
  • Knows how to apply what they have learned in his next match.
  • Realises theres more to the game than they thought.</aside>

Now that we know what a great video looks like, let’s see how we get there. Over my 4 years of creating educational content worth paying for, I’ve perfected a 5 step plan to help you create the best content.

1. Find the Right Topic

When it comes to content creation, the topic is very important because it can directly impact the amount of views you get. If you talk about something that’s not interesting, then people won’t care enough to watch. However, sometimes, you can create interesting topics through great storytelling. If you’re an expert on a topic, then it’s easy and I’d suggest you talk about that. If it’s something that has been covered plenty of times, try bringing a new perspective.

Once you find a topic worth talking about, it’s a good ideal to create a talking paper including all questions and answers in keywords to help yourself remember what the content in the video is going to be like.

2. Establish an Introduction

The next step is to create an engaging introduction to the video. Answer the following 3 questions.

  • What will we learn?
  • Why is this important to know?
  • What is the goal of this video

You want to be quick and brief in the introduction and not drag it on for a long time. Viewer retention is everything when working with videos and we don’t want to lose them before they even get to the contents of the video.

The goal is to catch the attention of the viewer and make them want to continue watching, teasing what they can expect to learn can make people continue to watch.

3. Organize the Contents

It’s time to get into the meat of the video. This is where the viewer will get most of the information from and will be doing the learning. Depending on the goal of the video and what you want to teach, you want to cover the topic as much as possible without overloading the student with information.

  • Explain the most important things first. Like mentioned before, you’re fighting for the viewers attention so you always want to present the most important things first. It’s much easier to convince somebody to watch the last 10 minutes of a video than the first 10 minutes, because by the halfway mark they have already committed.

A common mistake people often do is going down rabbit holes and going too in depth into a specific scenario. While this might be interesting and worth exploring if the video is only related to that specific rabbit hole, it’s usually bad for retention if you stray too far away from the topic.

  • Show, don’t tell. A lot of times when I’m watching educational gaming videos, creators often simply describe WHAT is going on rather than explain WHY. While it might be obvious for you, it’s not always the same for the viewer who is very likely at a different level. Always try to put your thought process into words and showcase the way you make decisions so the user can get a better understanding.
  • Don’t Oversimplify. Unless you’re creating something that’s suited for absolute beginners, often times it’s a good idea to keep advanced concepts in your script and not oversimplify. Obviously, it’s important to make sure your audience can understand what you’re explaining but you also want to give your viewers a wow feeling and showcase that there is so much more to the game than they know. Amazing your viewers and showing you have a good understanding of advanced concepts will cement yourself as an expert.
  • Use Examples: Especially when working with video games, you want to use the game to provide examples to further reinforce your teachings. You might not need a specific example for everything but it does add a lot to your video and helps with keeping viewers engaged.

4. Ask Questions

Part of creating a great video is to constantly try to put yourself in the shoes of the viewer and really try to approach the topic through their eyes. Ask yourself questions that lower leveled players might be asking when you’re explaining something.

This can be easier said than done. If you can’t figure it out and you don’t have anybody you can consult with, you can always fall back on these default questions:

  • What could be an alternative move in this situation and why is it worse/better?
  • What are some common mistakes in this situation?
  • Why shouldn’t you do this anymore?
  • What is something you have done to get better at this topic?
  • What is going on in the opponents mind?
  • Any way I can analyze this topic from a different PoV?

5. Conclusion

Lastly, the conclusion of the video is where you can sum up all the learnings and really drill down what’s important to remember from your video. You want to make sure the viewer knows exactly where to go from here and what to do in their next game.

However it’s a bit tricky to make the most out of the conclusion and I’m still a bit thorn on it. On one hand I believe the conclusion to be a very integral piece of the video and it can really help learn new things.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that conclusions are bad for retention therefore leaving me conflicted on them.

Thumbnails & Titles

Creating a great gaming video is just the first part of it and while you’re more than 70% there, you still need to craft a good thumbnail and title. Here’s some of my recommendations based on my journey and experience with growing a YouTube channel from 0-40k in 18 months.

  • The KISS Principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid → The KISS Principle proposes that you keep design as simple as possible. Having too many elements in your thumbnails makes them confusing and when you only have a few glimpses to catch viewers’ attention, you can’t afford complicated thumbnails. Here are a few tips to help achieve this.
    • Use only a few colors,
    • Keep colors bright
    • Minimize usage of text on your thumbnails
    • Avoid repeating information on thumbnail + title.
  • Make Complementary Titles and Thumbnails → Start thinking of your video title and thumbnail as a combo rather than 2 separate elements. I’m saying this because the best performing videos master this. Let’s use the YouTube homepage. The first thing your eyes do is scan all the thumbnails and whichever seems interesting to you, you’ll start reading the titles after. You almost never take them separately.
  • Keep the Audience in Mind → You want to avoid limiting your audience by addressing your topic to only a fraction of your potential audience. Always try to spark the interest and attract as many viewers as possible.


  • “How Easy Is The Off Lane?” -> The Off Lane is one of 5 roles in Dota 2 and in this video Coach Khezu talks about 3 different heroes and how to win the lane with them. (He also makes it look very easy)
  • If I named the video, How to Win with Hero X, Y, Z  -> then only people who want to play X Y & Z would watch it and perhaps wouldn’t even watch more than 1 example.
  • So we go broader. “How to Easily Win the Off Lane” -> Decent, but now only people who play off lane might watch and that's still only 20% of the total player base since there are 5 roles.
  • So how can we expand it to make it more interesting to people who might not necessarily play off lane but still want easy ways to win games.
  • "How Easy is the Off Lane?" -> Nothing is easy in Dota 2, but the title and thumbnail complement each other and peaks the interest of the viewer so they click on it  and that's already half the job done.
  • And that’s how I came up with the Title & Thumbnail combo that 5x’ed our usual views. The video doesn't change at all.

Equipment Options To Get Started

Whether you’re getting started or have been doing videos for a while and looking for upgrade, this section gives you a few solid options for equipment. Below you will find both cheap and premium options combined with a few middle ground solutions or custom pieces based on your needs.

  • Microphone Recommendations:
    • Fifine USB microphone with stand - 50$
      • Pros
        • Very cheap, very solid
        • Audio quality with using the stand/arm makes it sound similar to MV7’s usb quality
        • Easily adjustable gain on front of the mic
      • Cons
        • Only supports USB connection
        • Cable directly connected to mic so if cable is damaged, u need to replace the microphone
    • Shure MV7 - 300$
      • Pros
        • Great sound quality
        • Has both XLR + USB output
        • Ideal microphone for easy dual-stream setup
      • Cons
        • If using XLR, you will need an audio interface (Scarlet 2i2 for example)
    • Shure SM7B - 400$
      • Pros
        • Best sounding mic for gaming/podcast
      • Cons
        • Only has XLR support
        • Requires audio interface
    • Rode Wireless Go II + Adapter + Lavalier Go - 270$
      • Pros
        • Incredibly portable
        • Good audio but less bass compared to the above mentioned mics
        • It is wireless microphone so your audio quality wont be impacted if you move away from the desk
      • Cons
        • If you don’t buy the paired package (2 microphones) then you need to be aware that the microphone can run out of battery
        • If you dont have experience with lav setups, you may cause some scratching sounds with the mic
    • DJI Mic
      • Same Pros and Cons as the Wireless Go II however DJI Mic has a slight advantage in most departments (battery, mic quality) so if you see this mic package on sale but not the GO 2, def. should consider getting this one (if u want to stick to a lav mic setup)
  • Camera Recommendations 📷
    • Logitech C920 - 60$
      • Pros
        • Very cheap
        • Semi-consistent quality
      • Cons
        • Outdated
        • Webcam, relies on bright light to look decent
    • DEPSTECH Webcam 4k - 80$
      • Pros
        • 4k resolution, will look better in full screen than C920
        • Still relatively cheap in the 4k webcam market
      • Cons
        • Will need a bit of light to make it look good
        • Unreliable auto-focus
    • Insta360 Link - 300$
      • Pros
        • 360 rotating/tilting lens that can follow you anywhere in the room
        • Great if you want to easily have the camera aimed at your desk (in case to showcase keyboard/mouse hand or perhaps cards)
      • Cons
        • Bit expensive and relies on computer like any other webcam
    • Rayer Kiyo Pro Ultra - 300$
      • Pros
        • Best looking webcam on the market
        • Decent depth of field for a webcam
      • Cons
        • Compared to Insta360, not as flexible webcam
        • Requires Razer Synapse to setup and it can be hard to operate
    • Buy used DSLR camera - 200-400$
      • 4k camera capture card + hdmi cable → 30-40$
      • Also a dummy battery - 30$
      • Cheap tripod / desk stand - 30$
    • Sony a6400 - 850$
    • GH5 - used ones go for around 800$
  • Light Recommendations 💡
    • USB keylight - 30 dollars (comes in pairs so u get 2 lights for 30$ )
    • RGB floodlight for budget RGB lighting of background - 30$
    • RGB bulbs - 18$ (for a pair usually)
    • RGB LED light portable - 40$ LINK
  • Editing Software 🎦
    • Adobe Package (Premiere + After Effects)
      • This is the “ultimate” package and most ideal for creating content as you have all the tools necessary to make high quality videos
      • Lot of third party plugins to make workflow easier and faster with animations
      • Premiere also has a great workflow for creating animated text, captions
        • If you are looking into scaling up your social media content, it is a no brainer as Premiere offers the easiest and fastest way of creating captions (animated captions mind you) that you can use to easily elevate your content, especially your shorts that should have captions
    • Free Softwares
      • Davinci Resolve
        • Great for editing and coloring
        • Not the best for animations and graphics but if you have access to a library of pre-rendered animations, you can make it work with Davinci
      • Hitfilm Express
        • If you are uncertain about paying for Adobe tools, this is a great alternative to learn both editing and adding some animations to your videos
        • Free version only has “light mode” meaning that it might be a bit jarring to get used to the bright UI
        • Prone to crash frequently so remember to frequently save your projects

Editing Advice:

When it comes to videos and editing, there’s no right or wrong answer. With that said, I’m not going to give you some generic editing advice and simply suggest that you make it engaging and captivating so viewers don’t get bored, even though that’s exactly what you should aim to do.

Instead, here are a few tips and suggestions you could try to implement in your editing to make sure your viewers don’t lose interest.

  • Strong & Captivating Introductions → Perhaps the most important thing you should always keep in mind when creating a video. If you have a poor introduction, nobody skips it to get to the good part, instead they just click off your video. Which is the last thing you want. Create an interesting introduction that gets straight into the point a
  • Add Captions → Adding captions is a must for short format videos but you can make use of captioning even for 16x9 longer videos. Subtitles are best used during introductions to make them more captivating or during moments where the audio is not very clear. You can also get the most out of them when having multiple people speaking in the same video, especially if they are talking at the same time.
  • Fast-paced editing → Now you don’t need to jump cut every 2 seconds to have fast-paced editing but the general idea is you want to make sure that you have something going on at all times throughout your video. Avoid having long periods where you lull on the same point. Think about your story telling and the delivery of your message at all stages of the production, including the editing.
  • Keep the Outros Short → Outros are great if you’re trying to make any sort of call to action that doesn’t have much to do with the topic of the video. But outside of that I’d try to minimize the amount of time you spend in the outro. When the end of the video starts rolling in, viewers will usually click off your video which leads to a drop in retention.
  • Add Story Telling → Less of an editing tip but still relevant when working on the post production of your videos. You want to make sure that the editing supports the story telling. Whatever your message is throughout the video you want to make sure that it is told correctly. A lot of great youtubers have started adding story telling elements to their videos with great success.

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