#SciFund Challenge Class

Video storytelling made easy for scientists

Part 2: Thinking for Video

A video tells a linear visual story, one video clip shown after another. When video professionals plan a video, they often begin to visualize what they want the story to look like in their heads first. It’s like arranging a jumbled set of images onto a timeline in their brains. This is something that comes easily to professionals because they have made videos before, but it’s not necessarily intuitive.

Here's an initial exercise to help you begin to visualize videos in this way and also to give you an initial exposure to the editing software. In this exercise, we are giving you a bunch of video clips. Your job is to create a short video with them using the editing software. Don't worry, we'll walk you through how the software works. By experiencing how clips are arranged on a timeline on your computer (turning a jumbled group of moving images into a linear story) you will also be able to start visualizing your story in your head as you plan your own video. This exercise will likely take you roughly three hours.

Here’s what to do:

Phase One: Create Your Video

  1. If you haven't done so already, install your editing software.
  2. Download our video clips using one of the two following methods: 1. here are the clips stored on Google Photos and 2: here are the clips as a direct download (zipped file).
  3. Import the clips into your editing program (watch these videos below to learn how importing works).
  4. Learn how basic editing works (again, videos below).
  5. Based on what you have seen in the tutorials, use the clips to make a sequence that tells a visual story. Remember: there isn't just one potential story here. You can go which ever way your imagination takes you.



Phase Two: Finished Examples (please go through this section only after you have completed phase one)

The clips we provided for you enabled you to build a basic visual story, but in truth, there is very rarely time to allow for slow paced sequences of people going to the beach and looking for birds in online videos. The goal for the rest of this guide is to enable you to build effective videos that drive home simple and important messages about your science - it is unlikely that an online audience will have the patience to sit through luxurious sequences like the bird watching sequence. With that in mind, we’ve made a couple more tutorials (one in iMovie, one in HitFilm), where we present 3 variations of the same sequence, each time reducing the length of the sequence by removing unnecessary material and presenting the main subject of the video, snowy plovers, earlier. Then finally we demonstrate how to add text to your videos so that you can fully utilize that visual channel of communication available to us when making videos. These tutorials should give you a little more technical insight into how these video sequences were put together.