With videos quickly becoming an indispensable tool in teaching an e-course, you might be thinking: Can including a video really make a difference with learners?

And, the answer is a resounding yes.

In a study done by H. David Brecht from the California State University, which examines the instructional value of online video lectures, students who supplemented their studies with video lectures experienced improved initial learning and better grades.

The use of videos have also been credited as the reason for lower attrition rates in e-courses where it’s used. Experts say seeing non-verbal cues through videos decreases the isolation that a lot of online learners feel, and therefore makes it easier for them to develop a bond with the instructor.

However, with fierce competition to stand above other e-courses or online schools as well as students being more discerning than ever before, a talking head video filmed using your laptop’s camera just won’t cut it anymore.

So, how do you utilize the benefits of including video lectures in your e-course? Simple. Build your own home studio setup and create your own kickass video lectures.

Get yourself a quality camera.

Notice it says quality camera and not expensive camera? The truth is, you don’t need the latest and priciest camera to get the best looking videos. All you need is your creativity combined with a clear understanding of your camera’s basic features.

As a quick guide, get a camera that can shoot at least at 1080p HD video, optical image stabilization, a tilting screen, high ISO capability, and Wi-Fi connectivity for quick file transfer. You can check our suggestions for the best camera for every budget for more options.

You need a great microphone. You really do.

The secret to a great video is great audio. Invest in a good external microphone, because it won’t matter how well-produced your video is if your students can’t focus on the lecture because your sound is garbled.

For a home studio, a shotgun microphone or a lavalier clip on mic are your best options. Make sure to get one that cancels most of the ambient sounds, so you have clean, noise-free audio. Check out our choices for the top 10 most affordable yet quality microphones for more choices.

Remember, great lighting makes everything look good.

If there’s one thing we can all learn from YouTube beauty gurus, it’s that, a well-lit video is a visually engaging video.

While you might prefer natural lighting, it often results in giving your video mixed lighting, and the sudden lighting changes can be a cause of distraction for learners. So it’s best to invest in a lighting kit to give your videos a more consistent and professional look.

A backdrop completes the look.

While the camera captures you, it also captures everything that’s behind you. So might as well create an interesting backdrop for it capture. You can put up photos, fairy lights, or even some plants to give the image some depth and texture.

You can also use a green screen, which is either made from paper or fabric, if you want to edit in more unique backgrounds. Or project images that are related to your video lecture.

Now that you have the basics of how to create a functional home studio setup for your video lectures, go ahead and create one for your e-course. Lights, camera, lecture!