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PRODUCING YOUR OWN VIDEO CONTENT AT UCLGetting started(Equipment
Understand what you want
Camera, audio & lights
Editing to achieve from a video
Exporting & uploading
Planning your shoot
1) Getting started
i. Before you start producing video, ask yourself a few basic questions:
Who is your target audience?
Is video the best format, or is your message better suited to an audio podcast or a written article? Will enough people watch this to justify the resources required?
What is the output for your video streamed, embedded or downloaded?
Evaluation how will you measure the success of your video? Target audiences
Many departments nowadays feel they should have some sort of multimedia to spice up their webpages. The problem is, not all of these departments have thought through how to engage their target audiencese.g. prospective students, prospective researchers or the general public through multimedia. UCLs Scandinavian Studies Department provide a good example of how to use a unique, quirky video to appeal to prospective students.Formats
Not all messages you may want to get across are suitable for video. Messages that are more corporate, hard sell or for internal UCL audiences are usually better suited for audio podcasts or text pieces on a website. Producing video requires much greater resources than text. You must ask yourself whether video is worth the effort required.
UCL has different official channels for various types of video.
YouTube: UCLTV is UCLs official channel, though several departments have their own channels. From YouTube, you can embed the videos onto blogs and your department websites
YouTube audience: mixed ages and demographics, often international, and those looking for short and snappy videos; the ideal length for videos on YouTube is about 3-5 minutes iTunesU: for longer videos, mainly lectures, to be downloaded
iTunesU audience: often internal and those who want full-length lectures
Streaming (housed on Multimedias streaming server): you can enter the video ID into your webpage and it will be embedded as a streaming video
Streaming audience: this is the best format to embed videos for a specialised audience or for more institutional message-heavy videos, like About UCL, where you need a more professional, slick look than YouTube
eNewsletters: increasingly departments are using eNewsletters with links from multimedia embedded in them; see UCL Alumni Network for an exampleEvaluationThere are various ways to measure the success of your video. Videos on YouTube can give you viewer statistics, including demographics and where your video is being viewed, as well as attract comments and Like rankings. If embedded on a UCL page, you can measure page clicks and time viewers spend on the page via Google analytics. You can also assemble a focus group of your sample target audience to give you feedback and ensure that your video achieves its aims.ii. What to film:
Research abroad we are Londons Global University, after all. UCL Communications have HD-quality CreativeVado cameras (like FlipCams) that we can lend you. These are small, compact cameras that can take still photos or video. Take a look at how they have been used by UCL students travelling to China.
Students doing fun & imaginative projects, either course-related or extracurricular
Examples: Biology fieldtrip to Spain; project from Bartlett School; Sikh Society festival Stories that a significant amount of your target audience would be interested in
Example: Remembering UCL after the War, used for alumni audience
Example: Peter Tatchell lecture, filmed with iPhone on tripod
iii. Planning a shoot
Scripting and shot lists
Even for very short talking-head videos, it is helpful for everyone involved if the producer or project manager to puts together a brief on the project and then a script for the shoot with questions for the interviewee and a list of shots to film.
This is a script for a short video. There were two crew (director and assistant producer) and one interviewee. The script was useful for establishing date/time of shoot, contact info and an equipment checklist before setting off. Once we were there, we had lists of interview questions and shots we wanted to use as cut-away material.
For your shoot, you can download a template of the above form here.
Consent and release forms
Ensure all contributors have given their consent to be filmed. If you are filming with school children or anyone else who is not a student or staff member at UCL, UCL Communications can provide you with Release Forms. If youre filming in a public space, a filming notice is also useful.
iv. Training and internal resources
If you want tips on shooting simple talking heads, take a look at the mini-tutorials below in section 3. You can also always contact Rob Eagle in UCL Communications for further advice. If you or your department want to start shooting more elaborate videos, then think of training courses. There are film-making courses at UCL, run by InSight and Social Anthropology course instructor Michael Yorke.
If you think that filming something yourself sounds like too much to take on, consider UCLs internal resources:
If you think your project or story would be suitable for UCL News, contact UCL Communications to discuss the possibilities of film, audio-slideshows or a written text piece.
Media Services UCLs in-house AV production team can film or webcast lectures, panel discussions, talking heads or events and produce a promo video for your department; can also assist will all technical issues, including digital media conversion and creating DVDs; check their website for rates
Student Film Soc the UCLU Film Soc, like UCLU Photo Soc, can film your event for a fairly affordable rate
If you have any questions about what kind of equipment is appropriate for your video, contact Rob Eagle in UCL Communications. Heres a brief overview of your options for kit and where to go to purchase or hire it.
i. Camera types
Flipcam or mobile phone these can be great for talking heads, vox pops, video diary-style videos or even lectures. UCL Communications and Media Relations have been using very simple Creative Vado cameras for talking-head video on blogs and YouTube. example> UCLs Cheltenham Science Festival blog; Peter Tatchell lecture Small HD video cameras (under 1000) ideal for talking heads and simple videos
Lightweight professional cameras (2000 and up) for more professional and documentary-style videos
ii. Sound equipment
Not matter the kind of camera you use, make sure you that you can record clear sound. Nine times out of ten, you will need to use a lapel mic for an interviewee or a directional mic to record a specific person in a crowded, noisy room. And always use headphones to monitor sound.
What you will need:
Lapel mic (recommended) either affordable lapel mic or higher-spec radio mic Directional mic (optional) like a Rode mic Headphones (highly recommended) any brand, just to be sure that your sound is decent
Unless youre going for a shaky, handheld aesthetic, use a tripod. Any will do, although one with a spirit level bubble is best.
Big studio lights are expensive, so improvise with whatever lighting you have. Open all blinds (those that will not harshly backlight your interviewee) and turn on any desk lamps available. Alternatively, consider using a top light on or beside the camera. See mini-tutorial in Section 3 below for how to light.
v. Where to loan, hire or purchase equipment
UCLs Audiovisual Centre have some equipment that you can borrow. They have camcorders, microphones, laptops and DVD players, amongst other equipment.
For certain projects that fall within a UCL Communications / UCL News remit, we can also lend equipment for short periods of time. Contact us if you have any questions about this.
Your first port of call for purchasing equipment should be UCLs AV official suppliers via Procurement. If these vendors do not have what all you need, then there is also ASK Electronics on Tottenham Court Road and PEC for more professional level equipment. If you would rather hire, consider these places: PEC, DV Camera Hire, Calumet
3) Mini-tutorials for filmingi. Step-by-step guide to filming vox pops, talking head interviews and vodcasts
Online mini-tutorial: A guide to filming vox pops, talking heads and video podcasts1. Prepare and print off Shooting script and Out on a shoot checklist The key with any shoot is to prepare for it. To make life easier for yourself, fill out the shooting script template with contact information, key interview questions and a list of other cut-away shots to film. Then print off the Out on a shoot checklist to make sure you dont forget steps along the way.2. Set up camera If you want a more formal feeling, mount the camera on a tripod. If you are going for an off-the-cuff talking head, then hold the camera steadily as possible. Next, bring your interviewee away from any walls, as this gives the image a bit more depth. You should also take your interviewee away from a bright window, so s/he is not backlit. Most academics offices can be quite cramped and dull, so try to set up something interesting but not too distracting in the background.3. Framing Usually you dont want your interviewee to be too low