CIHR and Social Media – YouTube
Your moving picture ... Worth a thousand words
Put yourself on YouTube and share the excitement of health research
This is the video generation, the social media generation, the online generation. So how do you reach them? By going to where they are!
We know Canadians want to know more about health research – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) already has more than 600,000 followers on its Facebook page. Now, we are building a health research channel on YouTube, and we want you to be part of it. Simply post your video – three minutes or less – and we'll do the rest. We'll promote your video through our other social media channels so that people across Canada can view it in their classrooms, offices and homes.
So what goes in a health-research video?
Well, it's really up to you. You may want to explain a concept, show a cell in motion under the microscope, or demonstrate how your research is being applied in the "real world." Here are a few tips to help you:
- Keep it simple – really simple. You only have a limited time, so limit the scope of your video. Here's one suggestion: a simple two-part approach. Begin by setting a context – explain or demonstrate one thing you do know. Then complete your video by explaining something you don't know – and why you're trying to find it out.
- Your work is a story. So when you're talking to the camera, think of telling a story. What drove you to your field of research? Who will it benefit? Don't be afraid of making your video personal or showing emotion – it's much more engaging that way for viewers.
- No jargon please! You're talking to the general public, including students and their teachers. So keep the language at their level.
- Keep the focus on your work. We know that you will want to make mention of your host institution; at the same time, this shouldn't be a promotional video for your organization. Your video is for a health-research channel, so keep the focus on the research.
Making a video doesn't have to be an expensive proposition, and we're not looking for polished, professional productions. But according to the CIHR Grants and Awards Guide, you can use some of your grant funding to offset the costs of developing web-based information.
This YouTube project is part of a wider CIHR effort to communicate the value of health research through social media. As well as the CIHR YouTube channel, it includes a CIHR Facebook page and a CIHR Twitter account.
You can find the "nuts and bolts" of how to make a video below. If you still have questions, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to see what health research videos look like? Go to the CIHR YouTube channel and see what's already there.
How to make and post a health research video
There are all sorts of inexpensive and easy-to-use video cameras out there. Chances are you or someone in your workplace already has one. If you can't get hold of one of these, try your university communications department – it can help you get equipment and learn to use it.
Talking to the camera
Chances are good this video will feature you talking. Just remember that it's no fun watching someone looking down at his or her notes. Here are a few things you can do to make a better impression:
- Prepare in advance. Take some time to think about what you want to say. Try not to make notes or cue cards – remember, on the Web, spontaneous is good!
- Take your time. We'd like videos to be a maximum of three minutes. It doesn't sound like much, but it's more than you think. So don't feel like you have to rush through what you want to say.
- Use a partner. Having a hard time figuring out what to say? Try using another person to ask some questions. You can take out the questioner when you're editing your video. Even better, it's up to you what the questions are – make them real "softballs" and you can knock them out of the park with your dazzling answers!
- Take a walk. Videos are called "moving pictures" for a reason. When you're done talking about your research, take the camera for a walk. Film other members of your group, show us where you work. At the editing stage, you can add this footage to the video where you're explaining your work. You can also add good still photos to the video.
Here are a few quick tips on how to shoot the best possible video:
- Use a tripod to keep the camera steady, and make sure the camera isn't too far away from you, or whatever you're filming – remember, you want to fill the screen!
- Depending on the camera you use, avoid using the zoom function unless you absolutely can't avoid it – we've found that picture quality really deteriorates when you overuse the zoom.
- A little bit of extra lighting goes a long way to improving the quality of videos. If possible, shoot near a window to take advantage of the natural light (but don't point the camera at the window). To avoid shadows, make sure the light isn't coming from behind you or directly above. If natural lighting isn't available, you can get good results by using two table lamps, one on either side of you, but out of the frame of the camera.
- Choose your environment carefully. Whenever possible, avoid open-space office settings, as the camera microphone can pick up sounds such as people laughing, phones ringing, etc. Try to be away from any heating or cooling sources, such as overhead vents, as the hiss of air from the vents will be audible in the recording. Finally, try not to record directly in front of a window (because of reflections), a computer screen (because of flickering), or any other visually distracting location.
Editing your video
Filming your video is the first step. Once you've finished that, you'll want to edit your video for length and clarity. Remember also that, in general, using the highest quality settings will ensure the clearest possible picture. Different kinds of computers have different editing tools. We've had good results using iMovie on Apple computers. On Windows-based machines, popular programs are Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Premiere Elements.
When you're editing, make sure you include your name and affiliation. Check with your communications department – it probably has a video banner with the name of your institution that you can use at the beginning or end (or both) of your video.
Posting your video
Congratulations – your video is done! All that remains is for it to be posted on the CIHR YouTube channel.
When you are ready, attach your video to an email and send it to email@example.com. In the email, don't forget to include "tags" for your video, which are basically like keywords, including your name, affiliation and research area or topic. Once the video has been uploaded, you will receive an invitation to view it on the CIHR YouTube channel.
The CIHR YouTube Channel
For more information on CIHR's social media presence or other Communications and Public Outreach initiatives, please visit the CIHR Media Room.
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