Desktop Lecture Recording Best Practices

Content Preparation

  • Create your presentation using MS PowerPoint or any other linear content presentation software.
    • Please create your presentation in 16x9 (widescreen) format, 4x3 format is no longer acceptable. In MS PowerPoint:
      • When creating a new slide, change slide size from Standard 4:3 to Widescreen 16:9.
      • If your slides are in a 4:3 format, go to “File” in the Navigation bar, click on “Page Setup” and change “Slides sized for:  On-screen show (4:3)” to  “Slides sized for: On-screen show (16:9)” 
  • Copyright
    • Make sure you have obtained the right to use all materials in your presentation (charts, quotes, references to articles, cartoons, visualizations, etc.) in your presentation or the use of these materials is covered by Fair Use.
    • For more information on copyright law and fair use, please visit the University of Texas Copyright Policy and Information Website:
  • Type up slide-by-slide talking points/notes for your presentation. Think about key points you need to get across.
  • Give yourself enough time to draft, review, fine-tune your presentation.
  • Practice your presentation before recording.
  • Do not eat a meal or snack less than one hour before your recording session, this will affect your voice and your ability to speak clearly.


Recording Equipment

  • We recommend using a SBMI approved headset with microphone for your recordings. These headset microphones are optimized to cancel background noise and do a fairly good job when used properly.
  • Alternatively you can purchase a high quality microphone from your own funding sources such as:
  • You can request a headset if you don’t have one by sending an e-mail to
  • If you need assistance setting up or troubleshooting your recording setup, please send an e-mail to and we will help you.

Recording Software

  • SBMI only provides and supports the following desktop recording software:
    • Camtasia Studio (Windows)
    • Adobe Captivate (Mac / Winsdows)
    • ScreenFlow (Mac)
  • Please send an e-mail to to request a license if you need desktop recording software for preparing recoded lectures your class.
    • OAA can purchase this software for you only if it is related for a class you’re currently teaching or will teach in an upcoming semester.
    • We can only provide one license per instructor for free.
    • Please include the following information in your request:
      • Your name
      • Your class number and name
      • Your computer platform information (hardware, operating system)


Recording Environment

  • Allocate an hour for your recording session to give yourself plenty of time to record, re-record and edit.
  • Find a quiet place to record where you will not be interrupted.
  • Pets, children, spouses, coworkers should be put away at this time.
  • Turn off music, close windows, if you are near a loud AC went (such as in UCT) try recording elsewhere such as the Media Lab on 8th Floor (e mail to gain access to the Media lab).
  • Close other programs to disable notifications and consumption of computer resources.
  • Have some water handy in case you need a quick sip during the recording.
  • If you are in an office environment, place a do not disturb sign on your door to minimize interruptions.
  • Turn off e-mail, you don’t want it to display incoming messages on your recording.
  • Turn off and put away your cellphone as it will both create interference in audio during the recording and distract you.


Test Recording

  • Test your voice level by recording your first slide as a test.
  • Make sure your audio levels are not too loud nor too quiet.
    • Audio levels for the microphone can be adjusted in the Control Panel for Windows or System Preferences for Macs.


During the Recording

  • Software like Camtasia Studio and Captivate recognize PowerPoint files and is able to open them to let you record each slide’s narration separately.
  • Please sit up straight while recording.
  • Speak naturally, clearly and at a steady pace. Do not rush through slides.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to breathe between sentences.
  • Be conscious of your tone, your students will not have visual cues such as your face and gestures so your voice has to do all the work.
  • If you yawn, cough, or sneeze during a recording, please re-record for the sake of the quality and clarity of the recording.
  • If you’re recording slide by slide, review each recording and re-record where necessary.
  • Keep recordings shorter than 30 minutes if possible. Do not exceed an hour.



  • Review your entire recording before exporting out of the screen capture software to see if it all makes sense and gets all the crucial points across.
  • If you like, create a list of time markers to allow for skipping ahead or jumping to specific points of the presentation. This list should be submitted to This list should include:
    • Title of the section / marker
    • Where the marker is in the timeline in minutes and seconds.



  • Follow the instructions provided on the attached How to Export Desktop Lectures for Online Courses to export your presentation to .mp4 format.
  • We will not accept flash video (no .swf or .flv files please)
  • Contact and submit a request to post your video by providing the following:
    • Number and name of your course
    • Unit/Week number of your presentation
    • Title of your presentation
    • List of table of contents and markers (optional)
    • Link to the presentation exported as mp4 and uploaded to a file sharing portal (FILR, Box, UTH Share)


ALL Files must be submitted to DE at least 48 hours before they need to be accessed by students.


For content going live on a Saturday, files must be sent to DE by 

Thursday 3PM






Have more questions? Submit a request