What does it take to create a Thai Massage online course?
A behind-the-scenes look at Thai Healing Massage Academy
Here at Thai Healing Massage Academy we have been producing Thai Massage video training courses for many years. Our first studio was a very simple setup since there was no money for fancy equipment and facilities.
We were working in conditions which any professional video studio would call “primitive”. Still we managed to produce many excellent courses. Later many of those early courses were improved through the magic of video editing software.
Humble beginnings of our Thai Massage video production
Here in Thailand cameras and video equipment costs considerably more than in the US, and importing it is very expensive due to shipping and import duties. So we had to find ways to make due with what we could rig up.
Despite those early technological challenges our quality of teaching and the presentation of the material was always excellent, and nobody ever complained that the videos were not up to the standard of the Avatar movie.
Over time my skills improved and our equipment and facilities as well. However I want to show you what it takes to produce these massage videos, and how we did it in our first studio.
A trip down memory lane
This original studio was really just a spare bedroom, turned into an office, and then we used half of it as a recording studio. Let me take you back in time and give you a behind-the-scenes tour of our early Thai Massage video production.
Most of our massage videos are about 30 minutes long which is a good size to digest for one practice session. However, in order for you to get that half hour massage training video delivered in its final form, it takes me up to 8 hours of work to produce it.
Wow – why so long? Well, first we have to shoot it. That wasn’t so easy, and I’ll tell you why.
Challenging circumstances for our studio
Our first studio was very close to the airport here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Then Chiang Mai was discovered and became a very popular tourist destination, which means that the number of flights multiplied.
It also meant that our video recording sessions got interrupted by airplane noise countless times.
So whenever a plane took off we had to stop the recording and redo it. It could be quite frustrating. So why didn’t we move, you might ask – well, eventually we did.
Thailand has two types of weather – hot and very hot
Then there was the air conditioning unit. Here in Thailand it is sticky and hot most of the time, so you really need the air conditioning.
The problem was that the studio setup was such that the camera caught the noise of the A/C unit.
That meant we had to turn it off whenever we recorded. Of course then the room quickly turned into a sauna.
So we recorded one section, and when it got too hot, we had to stop and let the air con cool down the room, so that we could start recording again with the air con turned off.
Let me tell you, it was a sweaty affair. And sweat stains on my shirt don’t look very appealing in the finished Thai Massage video. But this was not the only challenge which we were facing during the recording.
Looks can be deceiving. Here is YOUR VIEW
when you see one of our Thai Massage training videos:
And this was MY VIEW in the same room:
Besides the problem that we had to turn off the air conditioning during recording, I had three big lights shining into my face. Of course they heated up the room even more.
Today we use LED lights which don’t heat up the room, but in those early days they were not available yet.
In between the recording clips we had to cool the room down to an icebox temperature so that it didn’t heat up too fast during the recording when we couldn’t use the air con.
Our studio crew
There were three people in the room. Myself, the camera operator, and my model.
The camera operator was standing next to the camera right in the path of the cold air of the A/C unit, wearing a jacket and a scarf. She was always happy when we turned it off.
My model was lying on the mat feeling chilly since cold air sinks down to the floor first. She was also happy when we turned the a/c off.
I was doing all the work with the lights in my face, having to say the right things, move in such a way that the camera could catch it at the right angle and coordinate the entire set.
And I was sweating like crazy with the double jeopardy of no air con and the big studio lights on me. It was quite challenging.
Producing hundreds of Thai Massage training videos
takes quite some computer processing power
Recording the Thai Massage videos is only the first step. Then they have to be edited to make them look presentable.
Video work requires serious computer equipment
These are some of the steps:
- Put in close ups
- Smooth the transitions between video sections
- Add explanatory text
- Edit out pauses
- Correct mistakes
- Add music
- Adjust brightness
- And many others
We had three areas in the same little studio. One section was what you see (the pretty massage setup).
The second section was the lighting equipment which I saw during recording.
And the third section in another corner of the room was the technology that makes it all work.
Yes, I was doing all the computer work myself, and still am today. Here is the process:
- The videos have to be rendered, in other words the computer has to turn the edited video into the final product.
- The second step is to compress the videos into a smaller size so that they can be downloaded easily.
- Next the final edited and compressed video is uploaded to a site from where you can download it.
- I have to come up with 100s of test questions for the Continuing Education certification and put them into a software which automates the testing.
- The emails have to be written which contain the video download links. All those links have to be tested if they are working correctly.
- A sales page and/or a sales video has to be created, which explains the course in detail. This page includes the “BUY” button. This has to be set up first with our payment processor.
- When someone buys a course, they receive a couple of messages to explain how it all works. Those pages have to be written as well.
- Then all the links to the course and the descriptions in various places on the Thai Healing Massage Academy website have to be created.
And there is more…
Producing good Thai Massage videos is very time consuming
So what does all of this mean?
It means that it can easily take me 8 hours to create one 30 minute video which you get to see when it is all complete.
If a course has about 20 video modules (like some of our courses), it will take me easily 160 hours to do all this work.
That’s about one month of solid work – if I don’t do anything else. Since that’s not possible with running Thai Healing Massage Academy at the same time, it realistically takes me about 3 months to produce a complete course.
Now I took you along on a trip to memory lane, and you have a pretty good idea what it takes for us to produce our Thai Massage online training courses.
It’s a lot of work, but it is a labor of love for me, and I am truly happy when I get feedback from students who appreciate that my courses helped them to improve their massage skills.
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 18 years, and he is the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.