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Video

Video is a powerful way to share information, tell stories and connect with your audience. There are multiple options to create a video, working with your school or unit communications team:

  • Work with Stanford Video, a full-service video production team;
  • Produce a video in house;
  • Contract with an outside firm.

Work with Stanford professionals

Stanford Video

The Stanford Video team has broadcast studio facilities on campus and creates more than a thousand videos a year for the Stanford community. You can hire and work with this team to create high-quality professional videos for your Stanford organization. View examples of their work here:

To learn more about working with Stanford Video, contact the team at: stanfordvideo@stanford.edu

University Communications in-house video

The University Communications in-house video team focuses on creating video for our Stanford News Service in collaboration with groups across campus.

If you have questions about the best practices guidelines in this section or about how to produce a video yourself, please contact Kurt Hickman, associate director for Visual Media, at: hickmank@stanford.edu


Produce a video on behalf of Stanford

This guide below is designed to provide Stanford communicators with guidance on basic aspects of video production, including:

Before you begin producing your video, see best practices and tips to learn some of the terminology and a list of things to consider.

Recommended minimum equipment

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Lavaliere microphone
  • Headphones
  • Light kit (optional)

1. Pre-production planning

  • Location scouting. Make sure the interview and/or b-roll is visually interesting.
  • Due diligence. Secure permission to film at the location. Ensure compliance with Stanford’s health and safety guidelines in the setting.
  • Devise an interview plan. Think about what you would like your subject to say. Sometimes it helps to write out the kind of answers you want and reverse engineer your questions.
  • Gather assets. If there is limited b-roll, what other documents are available? What Creative Commons resources are relevant?
  • Define a successful video. What metrics will you use to measure the outcome?

2. The shoot

Interview

  • Pay close attention to the subject’s diction, and coach for clarity of speech. This could involve slowing down, using less jargon, etc.
  • Keep camera at eye level.
  • Be prepared. Don’t ask yes or no questions.
  • People like to talk about themselves. Ask them to say their name and title as a way to get started and check audio. If you plan to use it, ask them again to say their name and title when you’ve finished the interview.
  • Have the interview subject repeat your question. Another way to do this is to ask two tiered questions: “Tell me where your study is publishing and briefly what it is about.”
  • Try to make them feel comfortable. The interviewers body language completely influences your interviews. Be present and mindful to lead them where you want the interview to go.
  • Keep the background in mind. Don’t be backlit.
  • Don’t talk over the interview subject.
  • Ask if anything was missed. Any final comments?

B-roll

  • Plan the shoot. What will illustrate your message?
  • Get multiple angles—wide, medium, tight.
  • Think in sequences. A sequence is a series of shots that show an action unfolding. Can be any number of shots that create a seamless progression. The way we actually see the world is in cuts (not pans). We blink and look somewhere else to piece together large images. Rely on cuts to show a sequence.
  • Use establishing shots. Most often wide. Give an exterior shot to establish a sense of place, if possible.
  • Shoot more than you need. Too much b-roll is better than not enough.

Audio

  • Don’t neglect audio. Bad audio can often ruin good video.
  • When conducting interviews, avoid ambient noise like wind or HVAC systems if possible.
  • Use headphones during interview to ensure quality sound.
  • Capture natural sound when shooting b-roll.

3. Post-production

  • Work with professional editing software such as Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X, or DaVinci Resolve Studio.
  • Grab the viewer’s attention with an interesting shot or quote at the start. The first 5-10 seconds are critical to audience retention.
  • Use b-roll to cover a-roll edits.
  • Beware of jump cuts—an abrupt transition from one scene to another.
  • When possible, cut when the subject is in motion.
  • Cut out misstatements and uhhs and umms.
  • Capture at least 30 seconds of room-tone. (What this particular room or place sounds like. It helps when editing audio later.)
  • Music should carry an intention or motivation.
  • Always provide closed-captioning.

Intellectual property rights

  • Use of third-party copyrighted or trademarked material (e.g. music and photos) or use of a person’s likeness without permission may be illegal and may expose Stanford to significant financial liability and reputational risk.
  • If content is distributed for nonprofit/educational purposes, it does not automatically mean it is fair use.
  • Units are responsible for obtaining the necessary clearance for its use of intellectual property rights and a person’s likeness in connection with their communications activities.
  • Units are responsible for bearing costs associated with such rights clearances, including any costs that may arise if it fails to obtain the necessary clearance.
  • Avoid commercial logos and branding. If not possible, use software to remove in post-production.

Bumpers and watermarks:
branding and identity on Stanford videos

Stanford branding on videos helps to identify and protect Stanford content. Here is some guidance around branding Stanford videos.

Video branding can be presented in any or all of these ways:

  • Bumpers, or brief identifiers before and/or after the video
    • It is recommended that the opening bumper be very brief, roughly 3 seconds, and therefore simple. 
    • Another option is a cold open. Add the logo or identifier after 10-20 seconds of video. The goal is to grab the viewer’s attention with a good quote or interesting video from the start. 
    • Closing bumpers allow for more time and are a good option if there are multiple units to be credited.
  • Watermarks can contain a unit or the university name on the video itself.
    • The recommended watermark at Stanford is a unit or university wordmark, rather than the Block S or seal.
    • Watermarks can show up at the start of a video. They may repeat periodically if desired. 
    • Unit logos with small text should be avoided in a watermark

Titles: Please identify the people who are speaking on the video. Students may be identified with their name, school or department affiliation, graduate or undergraduate status, and/or year (first year, sophomore, etc.). For faculty titles, please check the accuracy of the faculty member’s title.

For a comprehensive directory of endowed positions at Stanford, click here.

Affiliation: In general, video content should be identified by the specific unit or school producing the content. Stanford University’s wordmark generally conveys university-wide, cross-unit, or degree-granting content. It is recommended that videos of courses that offer certificates or other non-degree credentials to use the wordmark of its associated unit, such as Stanford Online or Stanford Executive Education.

Musicbed

Music can add a whole new dimension to your videos. It is important to secure rights to music you use. University Communications manages a cost-effective shared subscription from MusicBed.

If you or your office are interested in participating, please learn more by contacting Bjorn Carey, senior director for Digital Strategy, University Communications, at: bccarey@stanford.edu.

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