A common question we receive from students is about the ‘transparent hand’ in our videos.  When you see someone drawing or coding on the screen but their hand is not obscuring the drawing or text, you are witnessing our patent-pending recording and editing process.
This process was developed to solve a few problems faced when we first started recording courses.

Our first course, Intro to Artificial Intelligence, was handwritten on a piece of paper. While we liked the personal feel the handwritten videos created, there were a few drawbacks to recording videos in this way for the post-production process. One major issue we ran into was that the writing was often obscured unknowingly by the instructors hand, making the visuals difficult to follow for students.

When we began developing our second course, Intro to Computer Science with a left-handed instructor Dave Evans who couldn’t help but cover all of his writing while writing, we began looking for a solution.

Our solution is to record on a tablet rather than paper. By doing this the video team has much more control over the visuals because everything is captured in two ways. First, we record with an overhead camera which is optimized to capture the hand interacting with the tablet.

Only Showing Camera Video

Next, we record with a screencapture of the tablet, which is then overlayed on top of the cameras recording. This allows us to have better control of lighting, graphics, and making sure the students can see everything the instructors write.

Only Showing Tablet Video

Once the instructor completes recording our editing team takes the two video files and overlays them. We take the screen capture video of the tablet, make the background transparent, then overlay it on top of the camera video. This gives the illusion that the hand is transparent when in actuality we are simply overlaying the tablet screen recording over the instructors’ hand.

Final Product
Final Product

Now that you have a better understanding of what happens behind the scene of tablet recording, check out one of our classes and see it in action!