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Filming Process and Prep

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Filming Process Overview

When you show up to film your video interview, you’ll be working with two people: our videographer and an interviewer (usually the Associate Director or one of the PWR Course Coordinators).  The videographer will settle you in, help you put on a microphone, and check the lighting. Then, once you’re ready, the interviewer will ask you a series of questions about your course.  The session is slated to last a half hour, but most times the interviews finish up in 10-15 minutes.  At the time of the filming, you’ll provide additional materials for your “b-roll,” and go on your way.  The videographer then will edit your interview into a pithy and concise two-minute course description that we'll post online to accompany your written description.

To Prepare for Your Video Shoot


Wear clothes in which you feel comfortable; keep in mind that you’ll have to attach a microphone near your neckline/lapel, so think about how that will work with the clothing you choose.

Solid colors work best. Avoid apparel that is very light in color (such as white), very dark (such as black), or too bright (such as red or orange). Also avoid checked patterns, plaids, extreme stripes or dramatic herringbone patterns – they have a tendency to moiré on screen (appear to vibrate).  Also try to avoid fabrics that might make noise when they move (rain jackets or silk shirts) as that rustling can be picked up by the microphone.

B-roll Materials:

To avoid long "talking head" sections in your video (which can make the video feel flat and unengaging), we integrate b-roll images and footage into the final cut of your video description. In advance of your filming appointment, you should decide upon what sorts of images you'd like to include as part of your b-roll.  You might decide to feature any of the following:

  • Objects: You might use objects that help dramatize concerns of your course (e.g. books, garments, bicycle parts, guitars, bobble-head dolls, fossils).  You can create a digital image yourself of these objects and provide them to the videographer, or you can bring them with you to the filming appointment where we can either take images ourselves or incorporate them into the interview.  (See how Jennifer Stonaker integrated blood type molecules into her video for PWR 91NSC, "Introduction to Science Communication" at timecode 0.36)
  • Images: If you'd like to include digital images, please make sure the images are of high resolution and size and to choose images with copyright restrictions in mind.  We should not use copyrighted images in our course descriptions; read through our tips and guidelines for finding public domain images to help you with your search.  You can send these images to the videographer separately, or bring them with you to your filming appointment on a flash drive.
    • Please note formatting restrictions for images: do not send images embedded in .doc, .docx, or text files -- use only .pngs (preferred), .jpegs, .tiffs, or single-page pdfs.

Mental Preparation:

While you certainly don’t want to script your video, you do want to spend some time in advance thinking through the answers to the interview questions.   Keep your diverse audience in mind, and whenever possible, think of ways to use the second person (“you”) to address them in the video – they are your audience, after all.  In addition, whenever possible, think of specific examples to bring into your interview.  Try to include elements/examples in your video that you didn’t mention in your written course description: you don’t just want your video to be a verbal transcription of that text. 

Although you certainly can re-shoot your video in future quarters, our hope is that you'll produce a video that you'd like to use for several quarters before refreshing it.  For that reason, avoid mentioning specifics that would associate the video with a specific quarter (i.e, saying things like, "In this new course ..."; "This fall we'll ...").  If you want to mention guest speakers or activities that you're not sure if you'll be able to do every quarter, use conditional language ("Some class activities may include ...").

Remember to relax.  You don’t need to string together dozens of perfectly spoken paragraphs.  Think about presenting your material in much shorter bursts:  these short bursts are much easier to edit anyway.  The videographer and your interviewer will also help coach you through the process and help you present your material in a clear and engaging way.

See Also

Interview Questions for the Video 

Tips for Finding Public Domain B-Roll Images 

Video Alternatives