camera taking an image

Video guidelines

These video guidelines are here to help you create content that reflects the University of Strathclyde. Throughout you’ll find some rules, regulations and suggestions that will give you a hand when creating a video in the style we’re aiming for.

Contents

1. Constructing a story

2. Audience

3. Tone

4. Style

5. Length

6. Music

7. What not to do

8. Branding

9. Font

10. Graphics

11. Technical overview

12. Briefs

13. Interviews

14. Clothing

15. Legalities

16. Getting your video online

17. Archiving

18. Accessibility

19. Commissioning video content

20. Additional information

Constructing a story

Video is a great way of connecting with your user. It’s about telling your story in an interesting way that your users can understand and relate to.

It must be focused and have a beginning, a middle and an end.

You must also assume that your user knows nothing about the subject of your video.

Getting started

Telling your story requires planning and research. Think about what you want your video to say and create a brief to document your process.

Think about why you’re creating this video. It’s important that you have a strong reason – this will give your video focus. Perhaps you want to document an event, or perhaps there’s some really exciting research the University is working on that you want to share with your users – whatever the reason you’re creating it, that’s your focus, and your only focus.

Find out as much as you can about the subject too. Ask what it is, who created it, what does it do, what’s the point of it – anything that formulates the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Make sure you understand and know the subject inside out - if you do, your users will too.

Who’s telling the story?

Once you know what your video is going to be about, you need to find someone to tell the story. It should be someone, or people, relevant to the story and who can discuss it comprehensively.

As soon as you’ve identified your narrator(s), arrange to meet them for an informal chat so you can better understand the focus of your video. This step in the process is crucial – it’s how you formulate your on-camera interview.

Work up a few questions ahead of your chat to ask your narrator. If it’s a product, ask:

  • What is it?
  • What does it do?
  • Why was it created?
  • How was it created?
  • How will it benefit people? 

If it’s a person, find out:

  • Why are they being interviewed?
  • What have they done/created?
  • What’s interesting about them?
  • What’s special about this person or what they’ve done?

This is how you find your story. 

Even if you know this information at this point, it’s crucial that you ask your narrator anyway and listen to how they answer your questions. Are they explaining it for someone with no prior knowledge to understand? Did they tell you something you didn’t know before? Did they say something in a really nice way? Bear all these things in mind and construct and refine your on-camera interview questions following this chat.

Questions

Ask open-ended but focused questions:

  • Tell me about…
  • What is it?
  • How did you…?

Get your narrator(s) to give their answers in as concise a manner and in as simple terms as possible. If they use jargon, ask them to say it again without the jargon or explain what they mean by the term.

If your narrator says something that makes you think of a follow up question that you hadn’t thought of asking, ask it.

The beginning, the middle and the end

You must construct your story in a way that takes the user, with no prior knowledge, through the whole story in an engaging way.

Hook them from the beginning – tell them what the video is about straight away. If it’s about a product, tell them what the product is. If it’s about a person, tell them what it is about this person that’s so interesting. If it’s research, tell them what the research is. The most important information should be at the beginning – that’s your intro.

Then go on to explain the subject in depth – what does it do? Who is it for? Why are we talking about it? What’s great about it? What do people need to know about it? 

Finally, round it off with a strong ending. Get your narrator(s) to say what they like about your subject, a fun fact about it…anything that works as a nice ending.

Putting it all together

Now you need to pull your interview clips together to create your story as a video. 

Remember your beginning, middle, and end. Also, your user won’t know what you’ve cut out so be brutal when cutting clips down - aim for two minutes or less.

Finally, have your edit checked over by someone who isn’t very close to your project. Ask them if it makes sense, if there’s anything missing, if it’s too long or too short in places – anything that’ll help you refine your video.

Audience

As a University, we have a very wide range of audiences, which is why it’s crucial that you identify who it is you’re creating your video for before beginning your project.

Prospective students

They may be looking at coming to study at the University for the first time, perhaps internationally. Prospective students will be looking for information on why they should choose Strathclyde, what it’s like here, what courses are on offer etc.

Current students

Current students will probably be after information on current events, things to do with their studies, exams etc.

Alumni

Alumni would perhaps be looking for information on how they can work with the University and make business connections to further their career/business. They may also be looking to catch up on what’s happening within the University at the moment or would like to come back to do a top-up degree for example.

Industry partners

Industry partners will be interested in the work we’re doing within industry. They’ll be looking to find out what research we’re working on, how it’s progressing, any breakthroughs etc.

Tone

Our videos should be conversational, positive and empowering with a strong focus on the subject’s story.

Where videos include interviews with contributors, the interviews themselves should be carried out naturally. You should prepare questions to ask which will form the structure of your video but your contributor should never see these questions before the interview. You can give them a rough idea of what you’ll be asking but never allow them to prepare answers. This will help you strike the right tone of voice: conversational and friendly yet informative.

Style

Show, don't tell. Your video should give the user an insight into the subject you’re covering rather than just hearing about it from your contributor. Get lots of exciting, interesting cutaways in there to bring your piece to life.

Your cutaways should be strong and relevant to the story you’re telling. Try interesting angles and get a good mix - framing shots, close-ups, zooms, adjustments to aperture, and adjustments to focus – everything and anything you can. You must film cutaways for every video you create. Stock footage is fine now and again but your video must contain lots of organic footage relevant to your subject.

Graphics

Never open your video with a graphic - instead open with a series of cutaways. Three cutaways at a time is a good rule of thumb to start with.

Have a look at these videos for some ideas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

During interviews, make sure your contributor keeps eye contact with you and ignores the camera too. Use interesting locations - no plain backdrops, pop-up banners or logos.

Introducing your contributor

Frame your contributor so they have enough looking room and not too much headspace. 

an image of a female student being interviewed on camera

Length

Videos should generally be no more than one and a half to two minutes in length. You must now capture your audience within the first three seconds. If your video is going to be longer there must be a strong editorial reason. Remember – users don’t know what you’ve cut out, so be brutal and edit down to the absolute minimum you need to make sense of the story. 

Music

Music should be used where appropriate and must always match the tone of the video. Use royalty free music tracks, which can be purchased and downloaded from various stock music sites like Media Music NowIStock or Soundstripe. Just remember to check the license when you do.

What not to do

  • don’t put your contributor against a plain backdrop
  • don’t let your contributor speak directly to the camera, unless they’re specifically doing a piece-to-camera as part of a news story, for example.
  • don’t film if the lighting isn’t right.
  • don’t give them too much headroom
  • don’t be afraid to direct your contributor or ask them to do something to get a particular shot
  • also, don’t let them stand still with their hands plastered to their sides – get them to talk with their hands; it humanises them and makes them more relatable
  • don’t be scared to push the boat out and try new things; put your contributor in a completely different location to what you’d normally do, try a completely different shot or angle, ask them to wear something specific – everything and anything that might make your video interesting, exciting and empowering.
  • always avoid shots of things that aren’t appropriate to a place of learning, ie alcohol

Branding

To help maintain consistency throughout Strathclyde videos, there are a number of elements that must remain consistent. Use the spare-looking room to introduce your contributor with lower thirds.

Lower thirds

Logo

The Strathclyde logo should enter the screen on your video at 1 second and leave at 4 seconds. 

 

 

Download the logo

Download the logo 'in and out' file to lay over your 1920x1080p video.

Font

Our digital font is Alegreya Sans and should be used on all public facing media. You can download this font directly from Google.

For names, use Alegreya Sans Bold.

For everything else, use Alegreya Sans Regular.

Your heading text (ie contributor name) should be approximately double the size of your explanatory text (who your contributor is in relation to the video). It should be:

  • colour: RGB 40/40/40, #282828
  • name size: 50 - 70px
  • description size: 30 - 40px

Download your lower thirds

Download lower thirds to lay over your 1920x1080p video. 

Text alignment

If your lower thirds are aligned to the right, your text should align to the right. If your lower thirds are aligned to the left, your text should align to the left.

Examples:

architecture lecturer Ombretta looks off camera

 Architecture student Alissar smiles off camera

End graphics

We have a range of end graphics for Departments, Research Centres and more. Please get in touch with webcontent@strath.ac.uk to access to the most relevant graphic for your video.

Style

Avoid italics - they're inaccessible.

Subtitles & text on-screen

Website

You must provide subtitles as a .srt file for any video on the University website. This is uploaded separately to the Video Host and YouTube and results in optional captions via the video player. 

Marketing

If you're creating video content for marketing purposes to be used on social media, in email, on-screen etc (anywhere there's a chance a user cannot access the audio), you need to make sure your captions/text is burned into your video for both users with hearing difficulties and those who don't switch audio on when watching video online.

These should match the lower thirds as follows:

Filming settings

Frame size Minimum 1920x1080p
Aspect ratio 16:9
Frames per second Minimum 25fps, ideal 50fps

Production settings

Export format H264
Export preset Custom
Video width & height 1920x1080p
Frame rate 25fps
TV standard PAL
Bitrate encoding VBR 2 pass
Target bitrate 4
Maximum bitrate 5
Audio format AAC
Audio sample rate 44100 Hz
Audio channel Mono
Audio bitrate 128
Render quality Use maximum render quality

Audio recording

We currently have a license for the following frequencies when using radio microphones to capture audio:

  • 606.500 MHz – 613.500 MHz

This license is registered to Lucy Robb, Web & Digital Manager, and permits any University of Strathclyde staff to use radio mics for audio recording anywhere within the United Kingdom.

Briefs

There are two briefs available for video work:

Interviews

If your video includes interviews, it’s likely they’ll form the story of your video. It’s therefore crucial that you think about, and do, the following:

  • know exactly what you need your contributor to say – it helps to storyboard this out
  • conduct an interview before you film. This can be a casual chat in person or over the phone but it’s important that you speak to your contributor before filming your interview with them to ensure they’re right for the video. You don’t want to arrive to film them and find out that they have nothing to say about your subject. It’ll also make your contributor more comfortable with you.
  • identify and ask open-ended questions (questions that won’t result in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers)
  • always (where possible) conduct the interview more than once; this will give you more to work with in post production
  • treat the interview like an informal chat 
  • try and keep eye contact with them as naturally as you would if you were just chatting and ask your contributor not to look at the camera
  • where necessary, request that answers are given in full sentences
  • pause between questions and remain silent throughout to ensure a clean interview
  • place and position your contributor in an interesting location with a good backdrop - no white/black/blank walls.

If you’re going for vox pops in your production then it’s an editorial decision as to whether they’re looking into the camera or not. They should be short and concise and again must have an interesting backdrop and angle.

Clothing

Make sure your contributor wears bright colours and stays away from the following:

  • black clothing
  • white clothing
  • striped clothing
  • dotted clothing
  • spotted clothing
  • checkered clothing

Also, if your contributor wears glasses and there’s bad reflection, simply adjust their position or politely ask them to remove them for the duration of your interview.

Legalities

Risk assessments

A risk assessment, where appropriate, should be carried out and submitted to your line manager prior to any filming.

Formal permission

Release forms must be signed by all people featured in a video along with an institutional release form for filming in buildings/locations where you’ll need permission.

When filming of people with visual impairments, the recording of consent on screen is permissible.

Care should also be taken when filming the registration plates of private cars - this should be avoided where possible or blurred or removed in the edit.

Download our media consent form, scan it and store it securely alongside all your video files. You must provide these - signed by your contributors - to the Web Team when requesting a video be uploaded to the University of Strathclyde website

Minors

When filming with under 16s, you must obtain permission from their legal guardian.

Footage of a minor must not include surnames, nor should the name of their schools or organisations be published unless deemed necessary by a manager or editor.

Opt-out permission

There are times when it is impractical to carry out individual consent forms when filming things like crowd shots, filming in a workplace or at an event etc. In these situations, filming notices must be placed around the area of filming so people are aware and can request to be kept off camera. See appendix 4.

Public filming

When filming in public places, for example on the streets, in parks etc., you’re only likely to need consent of those making a significant contribution (ie your contributor). You don’t need consent of anyone who randomly walks past the camera unless they’re to be shown in a negative or pejorative context, which would mean consent or concealing of identities by pixilation.

However, you may come across circumstances where people in public places have a legitimate expectation of privacy. This could be if they’re in distress or receiving medical attention for example. In this case, in the absence of any public interest, you’ll need to obtain consent or obscure their identity.

If a person’s or organisation’s privacy is being infringed by filming and they ask that recording be stopped, we should comply unless it’s warranted to continue, for example if it’s in the public interest.

When filming on private property such as a shop, bar or shopping mall, you should obtain permission from the legal owner or manager before filming and get a signed release form from them. If the owner or manager requests that filming be stopped, you should stop filming.

Data protection

Care should be taken when handling production documents containing personal data. Don’t leave these documents unattended at a filming location. They should be stored in a designated folder in a locked cupboard or drawer and should only be kept for as long as necessary.

In the case of video, the consent forms should be destroyed if and when the related content is permanently removed from the website.

Getting your video online

All video content on the University of Strathclyde website should be sent to Lucy Robb, our Web & Digital Manager, for sign off and upload. Where Lucy is unavailable, please email webcontent@strath.ac.uk.

Closed captions

You must provide closed captions for your video in a .srt format.

Download  .

Archiving

All files from a project should be labeled correctly and contained within one project folder.

These files should be as follows:

  • RAW footage
  • Project files (Premiere Pro/ Avid/ Final Cut/ After Effects/ Adobe Audition)
  • Music
  • Final edit(s)
  • Release form(s)
  • Brief(s)
  • Risk assessment
  • Transcription/ subtitles

If any files you’ve used are stored separately from your project folder, please indicate where they are.

Accessibility

We’re bound by law to ensure that our content is accessible to all, including those who can’t hear audio or see video.

Making video accessible

Captions

Required.

Captions are essentially your transcript synchronised to your video. They’re important when people need to see what’s happening in your video and get the audio information at the same time.

Download .srt subtitle format example

You must provide these to the Web Team when requesting a video be uploaded to the University of Strathclyde website.

YouTube captions

YouTube generates captions automatically however, as a rule, we do not use these as they are not always accurate and reliable.

Audio description

Required only where relevant visuals aren’t being covered by what’s being said.

We need to ensure content we’re making that doesn’t tell the story through audio, has audio descriptions to go along with it.

Sign language

Not required.

Sign language isn’t necessary for accessibility.

Commissioning video content

When commissioning video content from an external company, the following must be clarified prior to production:

  • the production company must be asked to use University of Strathclyde consent forms and return the forms to us before the content is put online
  • the production company must be asked to supply captions in .srt format
  • if you're looking to use your video on social media, you should also discuss having a separate social media file created as per the example in the 'Marketing' section of these guidelines
  • the University of Strathclyde retains the rights to use the content as deemed necessary, including those of related agencies: this must be made clear prior to commissioning video content
  • music used must have evidence of an appropriate licence
  • we should retain the RAW footage
  • Strathclyde branding must be given to the production company, along with brand guidelines

Additional information

The Web & Digital Manager is responsible for ensuring that all multimedia content published on the Strathclyde website meets the relevant standards and guidelines specified.

The Web Content Manager also reserves the right to refuse publication of any content, which fails to meet the required standards.

Every individual, including University employees, who is featured and central to any video and audio produced for or by University employees, will be required to sign and submit a release form, granting consent to the conditions of inclusion, before the content is produced.

All users are permitted to embed our content from YouTube or future hosting systems, however, unless there’s a relevant marketing reason, we don’t provide hard copies of our video content.

We must adhere to a strict code of good taste and decency in language and behaviour, contain no allegations to the character of any individual, contain no reference to active proceedings and demonstrate no political, religious or other allegiances.