Tips for video

Audiences have different learning preferences, and a mix of audio, visual, written and hands-on material will help engage a broad family, child and adult audience.

  • Make it short (under 59 seconds for Instagram, under ~3 minutes for YouTube) with good sound, with each video covering a separate idea or demonstration – bite-sized, well-made content will encourage someone to click ‘play next’.
  • Be authentic and natural, introduce yourself and your event / demonstration and the big idea / concept. Focus on WHY rather than HOW you do your work and highlight what can audiences expect from your event / demonstration and how can people get involved?
  • Think about your background and what you are wearing – we encourage the yellow IF Oxford T-shirt (the Petri dish design for 2018 and 2019) and we can post you a T-shirt if you need one.

More tips to make a good video

Use plenty of light

  • Chose a spot where we can see your face clearly, but the light is not too harsh.
  • The ideal lighting angle is from the side, at about 45 degrees – if necessary, consider using additional lamps to make sure your subject is well lit.
  • Soft light is best and can be easy to achieve with natural light. If you want to film outdoors, aim to do it early in the morning, in the late afternoon or on a cloudy day when the light is softer.

Raise the camera so that it is at, or just above, eye level

  • If available, raise your camera by using a tripod or laptop stand, otherwise try placing large books under your laptop.
  • Please try to look directly at your webcam and not at the laptop screen, as this will help to engage the audience. You may find that it helps to cover the screen with a piece of paper or book if you find the image distracting.
  • If recording on your phone, it’s best to shoot horizontally and compose your shots so that all the action can be clearly seen. If there are details that need to be covered, please shoot these in close up as well.
  • Make sure you are not too close or too far away from the camera. Position the camera so that we are able to see your head and shoulders, with a small space above your head at the top of the frame.

Think about your backdrop

  • Messy or cluttered environments are very distracting, but equally, a completely blank wall can look a bit dull.
  • If possible, try to pick an attractive background, for example, tidy bookshelves (with the books far enough away that the spines aren’t legible), houseplants or tasteful artwork make good backdrops but try not to have too much going on in the frame.
  • Avoid using pop up banners where possible.

Prioritise crisp, clear audio

  • If possible, use an external microphone rather than relying on the microphone built into your laptop or phone. If using your laptop or phone microphone, make sure you are close enough to the mic.
  • Try to eliminate ambient noise, for example by shutting the windows and turn off your email notifications or any other programmes that make a noise if you plan to record from your laptop.

Avoid moving around too much or fidgeting

  • If you prefer to sit, the best option is a dining chair or something else static rather than an office chair as this will help to reduce unnecessary, distracting movements. Armchairs or sofas often cause people to recline or slouch, so please make sure to sit up straight – planting both feet firmly on the ground can help create good posture.
  • If you prefer to stand, you should also ensure the camera is at, or just above, eye level and frames your head, shoulders and upper body. Remember to stay in shot and try not to move around too much, sway from foot to foot or fidget.

Practise makes perfect!

  • Speak slightly slower than you would normally and remember to clearly enunciate words.
  • Although it can be unpleasant to do, recording your practice and watching the footage back can really help you to improve.
  • We suggest that you say a few words to warm up your voiced then stay silent for few seconds to allow editing for a good eventual starting point. It would help us to edit the end of the video if you can also leave a few seconds of silence after you have finished speaking.