Video Tip Sheet/Checklist: Preparation and Presentation

The UMaine Extension Communications and Marketing Team has seen some great video ideas and questions coming through our inboxes during the COVID-19 crisis, so it seems to be a good time to share a video tip sheet with some things to consider when shooting a video to be shared, either internally or with the public.

This brief collection does not focus on different tools for recording videos; instead, it primarily lists prompts and serves as a checklist for the preparation and presentation of video content.

We hope you find these tips useful. Please continue to ask questions and suggest additional tips for this resource as we continue to learn through this time.

Reach us at extension.communications@maine.edu. We’re here to help!



Location

When setting up the space/location you want to use to record your video, ensure adequate lighting, minimize noise interference, and remove unwanted distractions as much as possible.

Story/Activity

Think about the story you want to tell and/or activity you want to demonstrate. With that in mind, create a list of what and who you want to include and highlight.

Props

Make sure you have any props or accessories you want to use or feature.

Do not use or refer to name-branded products on camera. For instance, instead of showing boxes of recipe ingredients or other supplies used during an activity, put the ingredients in small bowls; or place supplies like tin foil or crayons ready to use, out of their boxes. Or cover the brand name on an item with a piece of opaque tape (for example, masking or duct tape).

Similarly, rather than identifying items by brand names such as ‘Kleenex’ or ‘Reynolds Wrap’ while discussing instructions, use generic terms like ‘tissues’ or ‘tin foil’.

Outline or Notes

If there are speaking parts, draft an outline of talking points or, if the video is longer and involves multiple people, a script everyone agrees on. Don’t worry about memorizing word-for-word though; it’s more important to feel comfortable with your subject. That will translate to a more natural tone and feel on camera.

Please remember to have completed UMaine photo release forms on file for any people appearing in the video who are not employees. Avoid filming youth in identifiable locations and, if name tags are being used, do not show youth names.

If recording a webinar, let partcipants know beforehand they’ll need to complete a release form or they can choose to hide their image and/or name while on camera.

Clothing

Wear Extension apparel if at all possible. If that’s not possible, wear dark or light blue colors. Avoid other branded clothing — logos or recognizable names or images — to ensure copyright infringements are minimized.

  • Also avoid all white, all black or shiny fabrics.
  • Be conscious of large or dangling accessories that could interfere with the video, audio or any auto-closed captioning.

Music

It can be fun to include music in your video, particularly if speaking parts are non-existent or limited. Any music files used must be royalty-free. There are many sources for royalty-free music, though some charge by the file or on a subscription basis. Some of the better free sources are:

A good explanation/article of copyright-free vs. royalty-free files: Copyright Free VS Royalty Free (DL Sounds original audio website).

(If you are producing video clips using the app Adobe Spark, the music collection included with that app is available to use within the app, free.)

Branding and Style

For proper branding:

  • Use the full-color Extension logo either on the opening frame or in the closing frame with other credits. For identifying presenters and other participants, use the UMaine shield as the left-hand leader in the lower third followed by the name (and title if applicable).
  • Visit the article: 5 Tips For Adding Lower Third On Videos (Medium.com website) for a brief overview of the topic of “lower thirds.” Examples can be found on the Cooperative Extension YouTube channel.
  • The use of our name follows the same style as found in written materials:
    • FULL name, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, on the first mention;
    • UMaine Extension on the second mention;
    • Extension thereafter in the same piece.

Editing Your Video

We do not have a video editor on the Communications and Marketing Team. You are welcome to use iMovie or other editing tools on your own or you can hire a professional to edit your video.

QuickTime Player provides the following limited editing features:

  • Trim: Allows you to trim off frames at the start and end of your video.
  • Add Clip to End: Allows you to add a short video clip at the end.

Downsizing the Video Clip File (.mov or .mp4) for Upload to a Shared Drive or YouTube

screenshot of the pull-down menu in Quicktime, to export an optimized photo
How to optimize a .mov or .mp4 file in Quicktime, to optimize and easily download/upload a video clip.

Opening the video file in Quicktime (every computer should have this), there is a way to downsize the video (either a .mov or .mp4 file) before sending that won’t affect the quality:

  • When the movie opens in Quicktime, go to File/Export as (photo to the right).
  • If the original size of your previous video is ‘1080’ or higher, choose ‘export as ‘720’ and it will reduce, drastically, the size of your video clip without affecting quality.
  • Be sure to also add the number ‘720’ to the name of your clip so you know you’re sending the smaller sized file.

How to Upload Your Video to the Extension YouTube Channel

This is easy: share your mp4 files with the communications team at extension.communications@maine.edu!

Captioning

All videos must be closed captioned for ADA compliance. YouTube provides auto-captioning. To get the best results, speakers should speak one at a time and talk slowly and clearly when being recorded. Eliminate as much background noise as possible for better captioning.

B-Roll

For longer videos, think about b-roll footage needs, i.e., any footage that might be used underneath a soundtrack or voice-over to set the scene or to be used as cutaways from the main focus of the shoot.