How to Make your very own Instructional DVD

VideoDo you want to be considered an expert in your field? Do you have knowledge to share with the universe? Do you want to have a personalized video you can send to your mom so that she can brag about you the next holiday season?

Well, a personal DVD may be the way to go. That being said, many entertainers are spending way too much money on making their DVDs and then others don’t realize just how much money, time, and planning goes into putting one together.

The following is my personal checklist for making DVDs. I’ve compiled and edited this list after making 9 different DVDs and considered what worked and hasn’t worked for me.


  • Know your audience. By knowing who the DVD is for, you’ll know how to organize everything else. Children want something fun and interesting (so do adults), but adults may be able to sit through a more technical video.
  • Know what you want on your DVD. Make an outline. I can’t stress this enough. Outline EVERY word you will say on the DVD as well as action clues so that you know what you are doing, when you are doing it, and how you are going to do it.
  • Do not try and pack every bit of knowledge in the universe onto one DVD. It won’t fit. If you have too much information, break it into smaller chunks and make other DVDs. Or, at the very least, make outlines for the other DVDs so that you can produce them at a later date.
  • Be ready to pay for each service you are going to use. Videographers, editors, and graphic artists can all charge between $25 to $150 an hour and there may be an additional rental fee for their equipment.


  • A nice camera
  • Lots and Lots of Lights. You cannot have too many lights pointing at you. If you’re not sweating, then you probably don’t have enough. (Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but lights are important.)
  • Proper wardrobe. Know what you need to dress like to portray your image. Make it clean and neat and ALWAYS remember to iron your shirt before you start to film.
  • A decent backdrop (preferably with your name or logo on it) Make sure you consider what you are wearing and what you’re doing. There must be a decent contrast.
  • A videographer who knows how to work the camera and take proper editing notes
  • Your outline for everything that will be in the DVD. (Tip: Make two copies and let the videographer have one so that he can write down all the editing notes directly on your outline. This also lets him know what you want on the DVD and what he can cut.)


  • Record your DVD as close to how you want it as you can. If you have A, B, C, and D that you need to film, try to film it in that order. If you must film B, C, and D first, then try to do so in order.
  • When recording segments begin and end each with a 2 second silent smile. This allows space for the editor to cut and fade the final copy later on. Speak with your editor ahead of time to see if there are any other specific requirements as well.
  • If you mess up, make a physically large gesture and say so verbally so that the editor will know to cut out the section. Also have the videographer make a note on his outline.
  • Know what length you are shooting for before you start. Some people take twice as long to say what they want as others can get it done twice as fast because they are nervous. Find your happy medium.
  • Smile, Relax, and have a good time.
  • Remember to speak slow enough and clear enough so that anyone watching the tape over will be able to understand you.


  • The editing process can be long and hard, so make sure you have an editor that knows what they are doing.
  • The easier you make it on the editor (for example, filming in order), the less time it will take and the cheaper it will be for you in the long run.
  • Be sure to remember the credits, contact information, a title page, and your copy write information if you wish to include that as well.
  • Prepare your graphics and art for the DVD cover and the packaging. Remember to use high resolution photos as printers must have a minimum 300 dpi to print anything decent.

The finished product

  • DVDs can be uploaded, duplicated, packaged and shipped for as low as $1.50 by some companies. Do your homework.
  • Make sure you contact as many distributors as you can. Most will buy your product at 50% the retail value. Some buy them ahead of time and some pay you after they’ve sold them. Ask questions. Get it in writing. Keep it simple.
  • Setting price can be difficult. Take into account all the time spent in making the DVD as well as the duplication costs. After you determine the base price, look at other DVDs of similar content and quality to determine your price. If you don’t see one, estimate the value of your DVD based on similar ones.

Now what?

Sit back, relax, and realize that you are now considered an expert in your field. Next time someone asks you about whether or not you know how to twist balloons, let them know you make the DVD on it. Let them know you are so good at what you do, that people all over the world use your DVDs to learn the art of balloon engineering.

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