Advice on making videos for students and academics
Short, snappy videos are a great way of delivering content quickly and effectively to your audience. Have you considered making videos to promote your library services? In this post the Talis Marketing Team breakdown how you can create a video of your own, with advice we’ve learnt along the way.
Understand the objectives
Identify who the video is aimed at and decide on one clear message that you want people to walk away with. Creating marketing content is time-consuming and sometimes an expensive asset to create, so it’s important you have a clear goal in mind. Consider audience, the service you are promoting, and the one key message you want people to take away. This will ensure you can achieve what you set out to do, and help you make the most of your video.
How will you promote the video?
This will define the style and length of video. For social media, shorter snappier 60 second clips work better. If you will be sending a file to people directly, or placing it on a website, you could extend this to about 3-4 minutes. It is not recommended to use videos of a longer length, it should be concise and easy to digest. If you have lots of content and different messages to share, you could consider a series of shorter videos.
Who will feature in your video?
It’s useful to get a variety of people in your videos, who can provide different viewpoints and experiences.
Could you speak to an academic who was an advocate of the service you are marketing from the start, and juxtapose this with an academic who needed some convincing before they came around?
Can you speak to a first year student and a final year student to show how library services are used throughout the student journey?
Planning your video
- Book a room for an entire day. If possible, pick somewhere with lots of natural light and a pleasant background.
- Obtain written permission from the people who feature in the video and from the university space where you film so the videos can be shared without issue. There are lots of examples of release forms online, or your university may have a template.
- Plan your questions in advance to make sure you will get the desired outcome from the video. Share these questions with your speaker so they have some time to prepare.
- If using your own equipment, organise a practice run to familiarise yourself with the technology. Replay this to ensure colour and audio are correct.
Filming your videos
Depending on your budget, there are a few options.
- Hire in a film crew for a day. They can bring their own equipment and edit the videos.
- Find a student or a student group who can help with recording, editing, or both.
- Use your skills in house! Are any of your librarians camera savvy, or dabble in video editing?
If making videos in house, you’ll need a camera, a tripod and a microphone for a basic kit. Using a smartphone with a high quality camera is also an option. Try the ‘MAVIS’ app for video capture.
Top tips for filming:
- Use natural light where possible, but make sure to keep lighting levels consistent in the video too. This might mean using a combination of indoor lighting, with light coming in from windows.
- It is not recommended to film segments where there will be talking outside, due to wind and other background noise.
- Do a test recording, make sure your microphones are switched on! Ask a few introduction questions to help familiarise the team and the speaker.
- In Talis videos, we opt for an interview style where the question portion is edited out; when doing this, make sure you get your interviewee to repeat the question within their answer.
- Ask open ended questions and remain flexible, listening to the speaker so you can pick up on interesting topics or experiences they share. Remember, you can repeat these as many times as you like during the filming process and anything you don’t need can be edited out later.
Get additional shots of buildings on campus, your interviewee working in the library, and using the product / service you are marketing. These can be edited over audio of the speaker to keep things interesting. This provides more information and context and allows you to be creative with editing and avoid gaps between different sections. For more on this, look up using ‘B roll footage’ online.
Editing your video
If working with an external company, it’s important to review the video before signing off on it. Ensure that you agree to a round of amends in your initial contract, so that you have the opportunity to make changes.
If you are doing your own editing, there are a number of basic free editing programmes. iMovie on Apple machines is popular and easy to use, as well as Windows Movie Maker.
Should you plan to make a series of videos in house and want more advanced editing, DaVinci Resolve is a free programme that offers a pro-level toolset. Adobe Premiere Pro can be purchased with a yearly subscription.
There are small touches you can add to videos to make them look more professional, such as logos and banners with your speaker’s name.
If selecting music for your video, make sure this is royalty free so that you can share it freely.
Youtube offer a stock music archive where you can download tracks for free: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music. Soundcloud is also a good source for music, although you may be required to get permission from the creator before using.
Sharing your video
It’s courteous to share the final video with people featured in the video before publicly sharing to ensure they are happy for it to be published.
Select a video platform that works best for how you plan to share it. If you’d like to share on social media or a website, Youtube is ideal. It optimises the video for sharing on social media, and embed codes are easy to find and use. Other options are Vimeo, or for more granular analytics, look into paid tools such as Wistia. If you are only sharing your video on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, then you can upload the file directly.
Once you have uploaded the video, put as much information as possible in the title, so that it’s easy to find. Use keywords such as ‘reading list’ as well as the name of your institution. If there is space to add a caption or fill in a description box, use this to add even more detail and include more keywords. This makes your video more discoverable.
Consider how you can ensure the video is accessible as possible. Many video platforms offer a subtitle service, where you can request that closed captions are added to the video, usually for a small price.
You can view some of Talis’s videos here:
- How Laura Ritchie, National Teaching Fellow uses Talis Aspire Reading Lists in her courses
- Subject Librarian at the University of Chichester, Gail Graffam discusses the impact of reading lists
- Ella Hawkins, student at the University of Birmingham on how reading lists have transformed her learning