Creating videos

Quality video is a powerful tool for marketing courses and University services.

Introduction

Quality video is a powerful medium for marketing courses and University services.

Creating video requires complex skills and we recommend that you use a professional video service.

Video can be used on your website, social media, video display screens and at open events.

When creating video content, the mantra ‘create once, use many times’ can save you lots of time, budget and effort.

Planning

Have a clear purpose and message

  • What is the goal of the video?
  • Who are the audience?
  • What are the messages and who is best to convey these on screen?
  • Be realistic, what can you reasonably achieve in your time frame and budget? You’re not filming ‘Gone with the Wind’!

Create a production schedule

Planning in advance makes shooting easier.

  • Who needs to be invited to appear on screen? Do they need incentives?
  • Where are you going to film? Will it be quiet? Will you have easy access on the day to locations?
  • Remember to factor in equipment set-up time, do not book someone to appear at the filming location at 9am and expect to be filming at 9am; factor in 30 mins for set-up time at each location.

What will speakers say on camera?

Some will be very confident on screen, many will not.

  • Send questions in advance to participants so they think about and practise their answers.
  • Make sure you have a strong sense of what you want to be said on screen. After the camera has gone it’s too late; make sure you get it said - you can always edit it later.
  • Alternatively, prepare a script in advance that participants can read if they are not confident. This will aid you when timing the video and planning the day.

Other shots

  • Plan what else needs to be filmed to go into the video: do you want shots of facilities, buildings, campus, other locations etc to break up the voices/talking heads on screen.

Length

Suggested length is around 2.5 mins

Remember your purpose and audiences - some will have longer/shorter attention spans.

The video should find a natural length for the message you want to get across – don’t be repetitive and stay focussed on the points you want to make.

A showcase video

A showcase video is a top level marketing video aimed at showing off the best your school has to offer, it should include things like:

  • Shots of facilities
  • Shots of the wider campus
  • Shots of students studying
  • Talking heads of students
  • Talking heads of academic staff

Length for the web should be no longer than three minutes, for social media no longer than one minute.

Videos should be fast paced, use a backing soundtrack and aim to convey life in your school as engaging and vibrant.

You can find a list of example questions for the talking heads for UG, PG and Academic staff here (list below)

Example showcase video

Student


Interviews (talking heads)

We recommend using ‘medium close-up’ shots of a subject (covers the head and shoulders). This is not too close or too far away.

  • Close-up shots can create an emotional atmosphere.
  • Zoomed-out shots create a distance with the subject.
  • Make sure the viewer can see the subject's eyes, even if the interviewer is off-screen.

‘The rule of thirds’ can help create dynamic compositions:

  • divide your screen into thirds
  • place the subject in the opposite third to where the interviewer is and where they will be looking.

Make sure the subject’s eye-line is level with the interviewers.

Considering the background

Use a background relevant to the subject matter,
such as an academic’s office or communal student area.

Think about any logos or stands that could help reinforce your branding.

The background should not be too busy or loud. You want the viewer to focus on what the subject is saying, not what’s going on behind them.


Illustrating the rule of thirds and a medium-close up shot
A medium close-up shot framing the subject's face using the 'rule of thirds'

Vocals

Quality sound is the sign of a professional video:

  • Use external mics - the build-in mic that comes with some cameras will not provide high enough quality.
  • Keep background sound as quiet as possible.
  • Note down the subject’s full name and job title (if relevant) so you can add captions later on.

Interviewing tips

Plan open-ended questions to encourage your subject to talk freely, such as ‘Can you tell me about…’ ‘Can you describe?’

Here are some example interview questions (DOCX 18KB) to have you prepare.

You should also encourage the subject to include the question in the first part of their answer, so it makes sense when heard on its own.

Example

Q: ‘Can you tell me why you applied to the University of Kent?’
A: ‘I applied to the University of Kent because...’
Q: ‘What did you like about X module?’
A: ‘What I liked about the X module was…’
This helps to focus the answer on your specific question.

  • Start with broader questions and then become more focussed. Ask for more detail as the interview progresses.
  • Capture the subject’s experience, not just facts and opinions.
  • Don’t interrupt the subject once they are talking, wait until a natural pause, or they finish speaking.
  • Only ask one question at a time.
  • Avoid closed ‘yes or no’ questions.

Branding

All Kent videos should adhere to our brand guidelines.

Kent logo and correct fonts being used for name and title
Correct fonts being used for name and title with Kent logo at top left

Promotion

Target your audience:

  • If you are engaging a third party video supplier; make sure they will provide you with all the footage once the video has been completed. You may be able to use it for future video projects.
  • Make sure that you own the intellectual property of the footage and it won’t be used without your permission.
  • If using a third party video provider you need to obtain a permit from the Press Office – pressoffice@kent.ac.uk to film on campus. A copy of this permit is be passed on to Campus Security. If any Kent staff is accompanying the crew, they should ensure they are carrying their staff ID card.
  • Participants in your video should sign a release form (PDF 81KB).

CMA guidelines

Is it essential to understand these when producing a video about a course and featuring course information.

University web content, including video, falls under the guidance of the Competition and Markets Authority and consumer legislation, particularly in relation to content aimed at prospective students.

  • Do not mention academics by name. If they leave the video will become dated and give a prospective student a false impression of the academic expertise in your school.

  • Do not mention modules by name. Modules can change title or be discontinued; if the video is not updated, it will give a false impression of the course content.

    Speak in general terms about the choice of areas that can be studied without being specific.

  • Contact hours and assessment types can change and give the wrong impression, avoid mentioning specific amounts of contact hours and assessment types.

    Speak generally about the mixture of teaching methods.

  • Find out more about consumer legislation in regards to course information (PDF 208KB).

  • If you are unsure, please contact the EMS web team: emsweb@kent.ac.uk

Accessibility

You must must provide closed-captions (subtitles) and/or a transcript file for your videos.

Learn more in our guidelines on video accessibility.

Examples

Good example

A portrait of a student

  • Interview shots nicely framed
  • Excellent sound quality and interesting backgrounds
  • Varied points of view
  • Detailed answers
  • Correctly branded

Bad example

Student

  • Lots of background noise
  • Shaky camera work and zooming
  • You can hear the interviewer
  • No editing
  • Answers all ‘off the cuff’


Commissioning videos

Below is a list of providers we have worked with. We have found that they offer good value and work within our guidelines.

Please contact us if you'd like to get advice and discuss your options.