Teaching With Picture In Picture

Teaching Content Using A Picture-In-Picture Layout

When you are laying out your course content and getting ready to record you will inevitably think about the right video layout for the bulk of your course content.

Depending on what you teach, this can include thinking about if you should:

  • Demonstrate your sewing machine process with close-ups
  • Provide a screencast of your photo editing
  • Talk straight into the camera to help motivate a fashion designer
  • Use slides to explain every step of 3D printing
  • Mix screen with your talking head

Video Overview

Teaching Content Plus Your Teacher Camera

When you show one large main piece of content and you also show a smaller extra piece of content that is called using a Picture In Picture (PIP).

It’s super easy and not overly complex like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Inkscape.

For example, you may be showing a big picture of your hands on a Guitar, but have a small square of your head on the top right explaining what you are doing with your hands.

Second Video Position

The secondary PIP window can be placed anywhere on the screen.

Common places are top right, bottom left, and bottom right.

The most important thing is to not block any essential main window content.

Also, remember that English-speaking people read from top left to bottom right. So you probably want to avoid the top left.

You also want to think about not blocking any closed captions or subtitles if you are teaching students that may require translation or accessibility options.

Size Of Picture In Picture

You will want to think about how big of a secondary window you want to have.

If you make it too small, then your head will appear like a small avatar image and students will not get the benefits of your facial expressions. Do you even need a PIP? Maybe you should just use audio as you teach your craft?

Think about how important it is for your students to see your hands in the small window? If you are making important hand movements, then you may want to consider a medium to larger window.

However, if you make the PIP too large, then you will use up valuable screen real estate that could block the primary content or limit your content like only being able to use half the screen for your bulleted list slide content.

Teacher Video Backgrounds

Even though your teacher head and hands are in a smaller window, you still need to think about an appropriate background for your PIP window.

Should you use?

  • Natural home/work office background
  • Staged background set
  • Pull down single color or scene backdrop
  • Solid color or image using green screen
  • Blurred camera background

Shape Of Teacher Screen

Most video editing apps like Final Cut, Premiere, Camtasia, OBS, and Loom let you specify the shape of your PIP window.

Some common shapes include:

  • Circle
  • Rectangle
  • Rounded Rectangle

Some recording or editing programs let you also configure simple borders to differentiate (contrast) your window from the main content. But you may want to selectively use or avoid large illustrated or animated borders around your head.

Production Can Start Getting More Complicated

When you use PIP your video studio can get slightly or a lot more complicated. You may need more lights, cameras, wires, stands, microphones, and backdrops.

This also includes having a potentially more complicated video editing process. This may add more time or costs to your creative course creation process.

For example, you may end up with two conflicting audio streams from two cameras or you may have to move your secondary PIP window around because you are blocking important content throughout different parts of your lessons.

Wrap Up

Using a PIP window to show you explaining your content can be a powerful teaching tool.

But like any tool, it could be misused or overused, so be smart and work it into your toolbox.

Using a secondary teacher camera view occasionally and in different configurations is a good way to keep video lessons interesting and students engaged.

For more creative teacher tips to create, grow, and operate your online courses – check out our ArtsyCourseExperts blog.

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