3 Types of DIY Videos that Scientists can Make
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3 Types of DIY Videos that Scientists can Make

When I think about do-it-yourself videos
that scientists can make I like to break them into three main categories, that indicate how difficult they are to make, and how much time it will take. And to keep it simple, I’ll call them the 1 take, the 2 take, and the 3 take
video. And I’m gonna walk you through the main characteristics of each of these to help you figure out which type you might want to make, and what to expect. Now keep in mind that the more difficult types might require more than two or three
takes or recordings to get them to where you’re satisfied, so don’t take those numbers two and three literally. Okay, the first type involves giving a presentation at a conference, and having your voice recorded along with the computer screen that shows your slides. This is a pretty standard option at a lot of science conferences these days. But then what you’re gonna do is you’ll take that recorded presentation file, you’ll upload it to YouTube, and you’ll add one thing, accurate closed captions, so that your video will be accessible to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Accurate closed captions can be created in a video editor like Camtasia or in YouTube’s Video Editor based on the automatic captions that YouTube creates. But YouTube’s automatic closed captions are often not accurate so make sure that you edit these before
the video goes public. So that’s the 1 take video. For a 10-minute conference presentation it’ll probably take you about one to two hours to add the closed captions and then put it on to YouTube. It’s pretty simple. Okay, so this second type of video is a great way to start learning how to use a video editor without getting too complicated. And you can do this just sitting in front of
your computer in your messy office. Now basically this involves adding
photographs or still images on to different tracks on the timeline of a
video editor. You might also have some short video clips that demonstrate something about your research that you could add. And then what you can do is you can add some basic animations, like zooming into a photograph, or adding labels or arrows to highlight different things. And then you’ll also do a voice-over narration to describe the visuals. Now the narrative could come from a script that you read or it could just be something that you
improvise without a script. The first video that I made back in 2000 was this type and I remember how much fun it was learning how to use the video editor, and the great response that I got when I showed it during my final presentation as I finished my PhD. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it was a really good starting point that got me hooked on the power of video and eventually led me to make the more complicated ones like this last type. So this one is essentially the same as the previous one except that you’re also
going to be on screen during parts of the narration like what I’m doing right here. Now this makes the video a little bit more complicated, because if you want it to look good and sound good you need to make sure that you’re in focus, you’ve got good lighting, you’ve got a microphone setup that works well, and you have to be comfortable in front of the camera. One of the biggest benefits to
this type of video is that it can make your video more visually interesting and more personal, as you switch between being on screen and then using other visuals to help to communicate your message. Most of my videos are this type, and I’ve gradually gotten more and more comfortable with this format, and hopefully better and more efficient at using it. Now, I usually use a script that I read from a homemade teleprompter and that helps me to sound more articulate than if I was just improvising. I usually record my narrative with a green screen behind me, and I can later remove that during the editing process and then add some other background that helps to complement what I’m saying. So the big question is “Where do you start?” Well, I’d say start with the most difficult type. [LAUGH] [LAUGH] I’m just joking. What I suggest you do is start with the simplest type, and then slowly move towards the more difficult ones if you want and as your skills improve. But keep in mind that all three types of videos that I’ve talked about can work really well to help you to share your science and increase its impact. So don’t be afraid to have fun experimenting with these, and give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and then improve as you learn. I hope this helps you get started. [MUSIC]

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