Now that your story is on paper, it is time to continue to the filming phase.
Your script is now just a script. It is time to define what scene belongs to what part of the text. To do so, cut your script up in pieces of single phrases and write down the scene at each phrase. Make sure that you are visible in most of the scenes. Intermediate shots, cartoons or photos are good to add variety or to clarify.
A possible way to do this is by writing out your text phrase by phrase on post-its. Write on a different colour post-it the possible locations where you want to shoot the video. Place the location-post-it next to the phrase where it fits best. Shift until it feels right. Define which photos, cartoons or intermediate shots you want to add and where to place these. Keep in mind that if you use photos in between, these should not be in view longer then ~2 seconds.
Being in front of the camera might not come natural to you. Before you start shooting your video, practice a bit with the camera. Let the person filming ask you a question and answer it by repeating the question. For example: “What does your research show?” “My research shows that…”.
Keep in mind that the viewer wants to connect with you. Beware of the “presentation-mode”, for which you probably have a special lecturer voice: this makes you lose the connection with the audience. Keep talking with the receiver of your message. It might help to actually talk to the person filming you.
There are many tutorials online. This one was the most helpful in our opinion (a bit of a type, but with good tips!)
- Clear sound: Clear sound is crucial for your video. There are a number of tips to record your sound clearly:
- With a microphone
- By standing close to the camera
- Or simply choose a room without a lot of background noise. Rather a location that is less relevant to your research than a top location in noise where you do not hear the presentation.
- Test: Do a sound test: film a piece and watch it back on your computer. Record at maximum volume; if you record too softly and later have to boost your volume, you will get noise.
- Filter sound: There is the possibility to cut some noise from your video later, also with free tools. For example with the equalizer function in IMovie or Final cut X. Movie maker does not have this function. Free programs are available on the internet with which this should also be possible.
- Look straight into the camera: Looking away makes you distant, while you want to stimulate an audience and speak directly to them.
- Camera: Use the same camera throughout your movie. Cameras differ a lot in quality and sound. That is not a problem, but it is disturbing if the quality always changes. Your camera can be anything: from smartphone to professional camera. If you use your smartphone, use the front camera.
- Visibility and light: Immediately check whether you are clearly visible. If you film outside, do not film in strong sunlight. This creates ugly hard shadows. In addition, ensure a stable image that does not zoom in and out too much. If you are filming with your phone, make sure it is stable on something.
- Recording: Let the camera rotate a few seconds before and after the clip. That gives you leeway during editing and you know that your action has been completely recorded.
- Pause: Create a fraction of rest between different scenes and actions. The video does not always have to be spoken. Give the viewer some time to recover after every chapter. Talk quietly. Use punctuation. That is nice for the listener and convenient for you when you want to cut the text during editing.
- Different angles: If you record your text multiple times from different angles and zoomed in or out, you can alternate nicely in your editing. This is also possible afterwards, if you have a good quality video. Then you can make a digital zoom (instead of optical zoom).
- Interfering objects: Make sure that there is nothing disruptive in the background or in the foreground (a finger in front of the lens!). If this is the case use a different camera angle or if you do not have one you can make a digital zoom so that the disturbing object is out of view. Be critical, the audience sees it! If there is no alternative, it is better to use your presentation text as a voice over and to place another image over it.
- Type of music: Work with suitable music without vocals.
- Volume: Turn the music off to almost zero as soon as you speak. The difference between the music in the part that is not spoken and in the part that is spoken should not be too large. That can also be disturbing for the listener.
- Copyright: Most music has a copyright. Make sure you look for music that you can edit under your video and give credit to the maker of the music that you use if this is allowed.
- Programs: Imovie or Windows movie maker if they are already on your PC. Otherwise Hitfilm Express is a good free option. Other tips: Adobe Premiere (trial version), Final Cut X.
- Cartoons: explanation cartoons can help make your message clearer. There are a number of ways you can easily create an explanation cartoon. For example Powerpoint or for the more advanced users: Motion (Apple)
- Overflow: Use “hard cuts” to move from scene to scene. Do not use (pre-programmed) overflows, which are more disturbing than helpful.
- Voice-over: Make sure your voice-over has a good and same quality as the rest of your film. You can also record the voice-over with the same camera / smartphone. In that case, save your video file as an mp3 file, so that you can mount it as spoken text.
- Editing tip: if there are errors in your presentation text, that’s fine. On the contrary, it is nice to record the text in one go so that you are in a certain flow, but it can happen that you make some mistakes. In the editing phase you can eliminate those errors. This leads to a cut in your image. You can then paste a general image of this cut.
See our webpage with recommendations: https://scientistwanted.nl/home/science-communication-tips/
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