Terms of Use
The Video Journal of Medicine and Surgery
MD Chalk Talk
Guests: 3215
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make a video?
What are your standards?
There are many ways to make an effective educational video bound only by your imagination. However, in our experience in building and developing this site, several general methods keep recurring and are presented below. If you have a good method not listed below that you would like to share, please let us know in the comments section and send us a link for your video to include on our site.

Method 1: An example of this method can be found here: method 1 video. All of the videos produced by mdchalktalk are in this format. We find this method to be quite slick and effective but it is the most involved to learn and somewhat expensive (estimated investment $450). The process is delineated below.

-- You will need to download the Camtasia software ($299): Camtasia Link. This software allows you to record your computer screen in real time and it also records your voice as you speak through a headset/microphone which you will need to purchase as well (we recommend purchasing a middle of the line microphone/headset as opposed to a low end one because of voice quality/background noise issues with low end devices).

-- The next step is to download a drawing software. There are many free drawing software applications out there; the one we use is: Smoothdraw.

-- At this point, you can start making a chalktalk video. Create a black background in Smoothdraw, connect you microphone/headset, and start recording the screen with Camtasia as you draw with your mouse on the screen and talk. The only problem with the above method, however, is that the mouse is not an ideal tool for drawing and does not simulate a chalk/pencil very well. Therefore, you will need one final tool/investment: Bamboo Connect ($79). The Bamboo tablet and pen allows you to substitute the mouse for an electronic pen and tablet which you can use to draw in the Smoothdraw software.

-- Once you've created the video, submit it to Youtube and send us the link. If it meets our standards we will place it on the site.

Method 2: an alternative to Method 1, is using Powerpoint instead of Smoothdraw. Under this method, you create the Powerpoint slides and give your lecture through your microphone/headset while Camtasia records the entire thing. The disadvantage here is that you cannot interact with your audience by drawing, writing, or underlining.

Method 3: the simplest method of creating a chalktalk video, which in the right hands can be as or even more effective than Methods 1 and 2, is simply videotaping yourself giving a chalktalk. The chalktalk itself can take on various formats as seen in the following examples of this method: example 1 example 2. Once your video is complete, submit it to Youtube and send us the link. If it meets our standards we will place it on the site.
Our goal is to create a collection of content that is useful and relevant. To this end, we have established several criteria which content on this site should meet:

Technical: from an audio perspective, the speaker should be comfortably heard and understood. Visually, writing and diagrams should be completely legible and in focus.

Content: we do not expect all videos to conform to the following perfectly, but we do have some general guidelines regarding content on this site.

    -- Clinically Relevant: subject matter should be directed towards the practical and bedside management of patients. For example, while an educational video about the pure anatomical structures of the brainstem is helpful, we are more interested in how these structures translate into function and how their dysfunction translate into clinical syndromes. As another example, discussions of biochemical pathways should be placed in the context of how they clinically affect the patient and how their dysfunction causes disease.

    -- High Yield: while we strive to be comprehensive in our content, our goal is not to compress all of medical knowledge into videos. We are looking for content that educates our community about the general and fundamental concepts in medicine. Detailed discussions about Creutzfeldt-jakob disease or polycystic kidney disease are helpful, but presentations about the general approach to dementia and renal failure which includes these topics is even more useful.

    -- Efficient: we are looking for concise, well-organized, goal-directed and efficient presentation of material. We aim to save you time, not waste it.

    -- Novel: today's student has access to almost infinite medical data from textbooks to study aids to journals to the internet. The goal of the educational video should not be to regurgitate or read these sources. The educator should add something new, like explaining a difficult concept in an effective or unique way.

    -- Engaging: let's be frank, a lot of this stuff can be dull or difficult to understand. We have seen many videos where the presenter has a constricted affect and a monotonic voice which doesn't make the situation any better. Although this is often dependent on personality, we seek educators who project and are engaging. Additionally, the use of written diagrams or pictures during the discussion elucidates and livens the discussion.