Rapid Authoring of Video Work Instructions

Problem Statement

You have turnover in your hourly workforce, but you must maintain production rates … and quality. The repetitive work is simple, but there are nuances and best practices that you would like everyone to know. If you write up an SOP, some will read it carefully and most won’t. If you hold classes for every new worker, you lose production. If you invest in a conventional training video, the job will change and it will be obsolete before you recapture the cost.


There is a permanent camera installation that is always watching the line. It isn’t specifically focused on the task in question, but that task is clearly visible in the frame. The video feeds from the past few weeks are available on the server.


Just watch the video and write a text SOP with step-by-step instructions that are based on your observations of the worker’s actions in the video. It’s a normal SOP, but you’ve double-checked your instructions against the real production activity. You don’t need to bother the worker or try to remember what should happen next.

Full Solution

Run the production process as normal. Search the recent video record for a section where a skilled worker is performing the task well. Export the video clip and open it in a decent video editor (e.g., Adobe Premiere). Find a segment with 10 to 20 cycles of the operation and mark the sections where the tasks is a) well done or b) the worker is responding correctly to an issue.

Write short scripts to say something about each task cycle. If a cycle takes 30 seconds, write the scripts to take 30 seconds to speak. Comment on more cycles until the task is fully described. Record a voice narrative for each script and attach it to the video in the appropriate location. Add notes, arrows, marker lines and similar visual guides. Export the edited video as finished instruction. The entire process is predictable and takes less time than one might think. Optionally, take the script segments and ask a good voice to record the narration. Just make sure that they say each script in less time than the length of the corresponding cycle.

Take the scripts and rewrite them as bullet notes. Create a Word document and link or embed the finished video.

Video Explanation for Repetitive Task

PDF SOPs with Video

PDF with Notes and Embedded Video
(download and view in Acrobat Player)

PDF with Notes and Link to Dartfish Video
(click to open in browser)

You have a comprehensive and fully validated explanation of the task. No one had to rehearse or stage the demonstration and you don’t have to interrupt production.  Your training material is produced quickly, at low cost, with minimal effort, and, above all, it is totally relevant to your operation.

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