What makes a good Knowledge Translation video?

Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

Videos are becoming an important tool for of Knowledge Translation.  But what makes a video a good KT tool?  Here are the top 5 things that make a good KT video:

1)  The video links to the research.  Whether it is references to research papers presented on-screen, the researcher talking about what they did and what they learned from their research in plain language, these are important linkages that must be made in order to consider a video a KT tool.  Ideally, relevant references to the original research paper(s) will appear on-screen while the researcher is talking so the audience can look up these papers if they want more detailed information.  Here is an example:

2)  The video is not a training/demonstration video.  Videos that are created for the purpose of training individuals on how to perform certain tasks as part of the methodology of the research study are not KT.  In contrast, videos that are about explaining how the research was conducted (after the fact), the research findings, and how these findings might be useful for changing behaviours, policy, and/or practice can be considered end-of-grant KT.

3)  The video is between 1-2.5 minutes in length.  I have seen (and produced) videos that are longer than this, but I usually aim to make videos that are no longer than 2 or 2.5 minutes in length.  If you make a longer video, you should have your peers view it and provide feedback – watch to see if they get bored before the end of the video.  If they are captivated throughout, the length is ok.  Otherwise, you should think about shortening it.  For some researchers, I have recommended creating a short 2.5 minute video and post the full length 7-8 minute recording as a podcast – with the link to the podcast on-screen in the video.  Here is an example: 

4)  The video has good audio. Good audio is actually more important than video – viewers are more likely to continue watching a video that has substandard video than one with poor audio quality and/or levels.  It is worth it to rent good quality microphones if you don’t own any, and test them beforehand to make sure they work as you expect.  If you don’t know what to get, go to a place that rents cameras and microphones and tell them what you are going to record and they should be able to point you in the right direction.  I tested my camera-mounted Sennheiser mic before doing interviews in order to get a sense for how far away my interviewee could be before the quality began to fade.  The result was great quality audio.  If you use music to accompany voiceover in your videos, make sure the levels are just right – not too high that it is drowning out the speaker, not too low that you can hardly hear it.  This comes with practice.

5)  The video has good lighting.  The light should not be so ‘hot’ that you can’t see detail in your subject, but it shouldn’t be too dark either.  This also comes with practice, and requires some good lighting equipment.  This can also be rented and the rental place can point you to the right equipment and give you some pointers on how to set it up.  If you get back to your computer and realize after the fact that your lighting was a bit ‘off’, you can still fix it if you have the right computer software.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro, and there are several video effects that you can use to lighten/darken brightness/contrast, as well as adjust colouration.  There are some really good videos on youtube that can teach you how to set up lighting for videos, and how to make adjustments using different software packages.

Of course, there are more considerations for creating videos that people will want to watch and share (to maximize dissemination of your research findings).  These include: framing of the subject during video recording, good editing technique, and use of appropriate related footage to ‘cut in’ while the researcher is talking about their findings.  These and other pointers will be included in the guide for KT videos which is one of the tools to be produced by NeuroDevNet’s KT Core as a tool for NeuroDevNet researchers.

If you are a NeuroDevNet member and wish to receive support for creating videos for KT, contact Anneliese Poetz, KT Core Manager.

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