Need help creating a video?
- Consider writing expert video help into one of your grants. The cost will depend on several factors. Use a video production cost calculator to create a rough estimate.
- Contact your expert early so that your video will be completed within the grant period. Videos, especially good ones, take more time to create than most people think.
General best practices
Start with a script
When you start making a video, create a script FIRST. Use your created script to do the video's voice over or acting on camera. This method has several advantages.
- No ums, ahhs or awkward pauses
- No rambling or meandering thoughts
- Concise, well-structured speaking/instruction
- Ability to change and correct before recording
- Accessibility fast-track:
- Audio descriptions: Everything important to the understanding of the video must be said out loud (not just depicted on screen). Writing out a script helps ensure video actors say out loud everything that's important to the understanding of the video.
- Captions: After the video is recorded, you can upload its script to YouTube and let YouTube do the timing. Then, you'll just have some quick adjustments to do and voilà, captions.
Keep colleagues in mind
Using the experts available to you within our College, Experiment Station and Extension as you create your video will result in a higher-quality product. It will cross promote our programs and add value to the information we are sharing. Here are a few examples of ways you could collaborate on your next video project.
- A nutrition professional creating a recipe video on baking with zucchini can collaborate with a horticulture professional who can speak to growing or harvesting zucchini.
- Collaboration on easy mode looks like the nutrition professional encouraging viewers to read a factsheet by the horticulture professional or to contact a Master Gardener to learn more.
- A more in-depth collaboration looks like both professionals working together on one video or like each professional creating separate videos that include a call to view the other.
- A 4-H Youth Development professional creating a STEAM video can collaborate with a professor in a degree program related to the video's content.
- Collaboration on easy mode looks like the 4-H professional saying, "If you enjoyed this experiment, you might be a future [insert career here]. Consider attending our University and majoring in [degree program].
- A more in-depth collaboration looks like the professor and/or the professor's students helping to create the video and/or appearing in it.
Fill in the blanks
- Enhance the description of your video by including a link to your program page. Here’s an example:
- "To learn more about our 4-H Youth Development Program, visit extension.unr.edu/4H." (Notice the URL is not to Extension's old site, unce.unr.edu.)
- As we are a research-based institution, please be sure to also include in your video's description your references and/or your footnotes and provide appropriate credit.
Follow the rules
Follow all University policies and procedures as you create your video. This includes those related to COVID-19, such as those on mask wearing and physical distancing.
- If the actors in your videos are wearing masks on camera, the masks must be worn correctly at all times and must not be worn around necks or arms, pulled down below mouths and/or noses, etc.
- Refer to the University's COVID-19 training to learn more about proper mask wearing.
- Make sure the actors in your videos are modeling on camera the behavior that health experts and the University expect us to follow during the pandemic, including maintaining physical distancing of 6 feet.
Best practices for accessibility
- Describe/say out loud everything going on on the screen (text, clipart, diagrams, photos, videos, etc.) that is important to the understanding of the video.
- Make sure any on-screen text is case-sensitive and not all caps or all lowercase.
- Make sure any on-screen text, graphics, circles, highlighting, etc. has enough color contrast. There are many color checkers out there, including this online checker by WebAIM and this checker for Windows/macOS by Paciello Group.
- Add texture or a symbol any time color is used to convey meaning so that it's never the only indicator.
- Avoid flickering and flashing. Anything that flashes/blinks must do so slower than 3 times per second. Here is a free checker by the University of Marilyn.
- Add captions and edit them for accuracy.
- This is easiest if your video creation process always starts with a script.
- When using YouTube to create/edit captions, frequently save a copy of the text to your computer as you work, just in case.
- Make sure video credits don't go by too fast for people to read them. Either read the credits out loud and caption them, or put them in the video's description box.
How to get free caption files for social media
- Upload your video to YouTube, setting it as unlisted.
- Wait while the captions generate. This step can take awhile, depending on the length of your video.
- Then, come back and review/edit the automatically generated captions for accuracy, grammar, spelling, punctuation, University style, AP style, etc.
- Once you've edited the captions, download the captions' .srt file from YouTube. You can upload that .srt file as-is to Twitter Media Studio. To use the .srt file on Facebook, make a copy of it. Then rename the end of it with .en_US.srt.
Best practices for branding
- Adhere to the College's writer's guide for all spoken or written video content.
- Use our brand's official fonts, Myriad Pro and Minion Pro, for all written video content.
- Clearly and exclusively feature University, College, Experiment Station and/or Extension branding:
- Use branded opening and closing slides in the video. (See our College's brand toolkit.)
- Include our logo continuously in a corner of the video between the opening and closing slide.
- Ensure our logo has clear space all around it equal to half of the height of the Block N.
- Have employees, volunteers and program participants who appear in the video wear and/or use branded items in the video, as appropriate. (See our College's brand toolkit.) Examples include:
- Nametags, lanyards, ID cards
- Sunglasses, hats, vests, shirts, jackets
- Lab coats, safety googles, safety glasses
- Pens, pencils, clipboards, supplies, tools
- PowerPoint templates, table runners, tablecloths, backdrops
- Only use approved program logos. This is to strengthen our brand and to be in line with the University Administrative Manual. In general, approved program logos were created after 2019 by our College's communications team. If you're unsure if your program logo is considered an approved logo, contact the communications team.
- Seek guidance from the College's communications team on how to best recognize program partners and/or incorporate partner logos.
Best practices for copyright
- Ensure you have the license to use everything in the video that wasn't created from scratch by you, including music, clipart, photos, diagrams, graphics, footage, characters, books read aloud, art shown, etc. This means that for every piece in the video, you did one of the following:
- You created it from scratch by yourself and are the sole license-holder for it.
- You purchased from the license holder a license and you followed the license's terms.
- You used items under a Creative Commons license and you followed the license's terms.
- You used items in the public domain.
- Your use falls under Fair Use.
- Ensure you have signed releases on file (that are signed by parents in the case of minors) for all non-employees who are in the video (even if it's just their voice).
Best practices for diversity, equity & inclusion
- Include at every step and in all roles of the video creation process people of diverse ages; abilities; appearances; genders, gender identities and gender expressions; military statuses; races, colors and ethnicities; religious affiliations; sexual orientations; sizes and socioeconomic statuses.
- Ensure your videos are accessible. (See the section on accessibility above and our College's brand toolkit.)
- Use inclusive language and watch for implicit biases in your videos. Here are some resources to help:
- A Guide to Bias-Free Communications
- APA Style Guidelines on Bias-Free Language
- Avoiding Bias
- Best practices for avoiding ableist terminology
- Bias-free communication
- Bias-Free Language
- Diversity Style Guides for Journalists
- Guidelines for Achieving Bias-Free Communication
- GLAAD Media Reference Guide
- People-first language: A strengths based strategy for addressing diversity
- Sexist & Biased Language
- The Diversity Style Guide
- Toward Communication Free of Gender Bias
- Regularly rewatch your past content to determine if it is respectful, representative and accessible. Immediately remove videos that are found not to be respectful, representative or accessible from public view and work to update them.
Best practices for smartphone videography
- Position yourself
- 6-8 feet away from any objects behind you (walls, trees, etc.)
- So that you're facing into a sunny window (if filming indoors)
- Position your phone
- Vertically (for Instagram stories)
- Horizontally (for YouTube)
- 6-8 feet in front of you
- On something that's not moving
- With the camera's lens at eye level or higher
- Film on your phone's highest quality settings.
- Make sure you are in focus and not your background by having someone touch the screen over your face.
- Speak a little louder than you would in a room full of crowded people.
- Don’t get the video off of your phone via email. (Many phones downgrade file size to conserve data plans.)