In a time when a virus is keeping us apart, we find our own ways to stay connected. Zoom has become the go-to platform for businesses communicating through video conference. It’s a platform I use when recording instructional videos. In this time of social distancing, it is quickly becoming a way for individuals to communicate with loved ones, for church groups to gather despite being apart, and for people to meet new friends half a world away.

Get Started with Zoom

You’ll find many tutorials on YouTube demonstrating how to set up a free account. This one is particularly good. With a free account, you can talk with one person and have no time limitation. With that same free account, you can host a meeting of up to 40-minutes with as many as 100 people.

The other people in the meeting don’t have to have a Zoom account. They merely click a link you send. When they join the meeting, a prompt has them click and download the Zoom software. That process takes only a few seconds.

The first time you join a meeting with a few other people, it will remind you of the beginning of a “Brady Bunch” episode. All participants appear in their own little squares.

Recording Video Using Zoom

What if you want to record a lesson on video? You know you would need a webcam and microphone. But what software would you use to record? Where would you house the video? How would others be able to get to it?

I use Zoom. The process of recording an instructional video is the same as hosting a meeting… with one exception. After you start the meeting, you hit the “Record” button.

Here is how I create video using Zoom:

Editing Your Video

As you record video, you’ll make mistakes. But you don’t have to start over every time you miss a word. Keep going. Pause, back up a sentence or two, and jump back in.

The second step is to edit the video. I use a free editor called “Shotcut.” It’s available for Windows and Mac. For Mac users, iMovie is always a good choice. Here is a video where you see me take a sample Zoom recording and edit out the “bloopers.”

As you watch, pay special attention to how I export my video. After exporting, the video is saved to your computer. You could share it with others by putting it in Dropbox and sharing a link. You could send it to a site such as “We Transfer,” a free service that I talked about in this blog post.

Upload to YouTube

If you want others to see your work, the easiest way is to upload to YouTube. Here’s a good video on how you could create an account right now. You always have the option to make a video public, unlisted, or private.

Public videos show up in a search. Unlisted videos can only be viewed by the people who have the link. For example, a teacher who makes a video specifically for the students in a class would make the video “Unlisted” and give the link to the class. “Private” videos can be seen only by the creator and email addresses of the creator’s choosing.

If you’re not familiar with Zoom, go ahead and create a free account. If you have something you want to share with the world, get started. Record with Zoom, edit with Shotcut, and upload to YouTube. It’s all free and a great way to connect virtually during a time when we can’t connect physically.