grandisleclass_klmckeeThis website is designed to encourage and inform students, teachers, scientists, and other science professionals who are interested in using video to convey information about themselves, their work, or a topic of interest. Here you will find video tutorials, tips, reviews, and other information that will help you plan, shoot, edit, and publish effective and professional-looking videos.

Videography skills will become increasingly important for the scientist of the future to keep pace with the rapid changes in communications technology and electronic publishing. As demand for more accessible and engaging science information increases and as competition for science jobs, research funding, and space in journals becomes more intense, those scientists with multimedia skills such as videography will be at a distinct advantage. 21st century consumers of scientific information, both technical and non-technical, will expect media-rich content, and science educators and researchers must be prepared to provide it.

Learn How to Create a Video

screenshot_iphoneWatch tutorials to learn, step-by-step, how to design and make a video to demonstrate a new method, produce an online lesson, record a screen presentation, and create other communication products. Tap the image to the left to see a tutorial showing how to shoot and edit a video with a smartphone. For more tutorials, see this list by category (or select Tutorials in the Navigation bar).

Now Available: The Scientist Videographer eBookThe Scientist Videographer Book

This ebook is a detailed how-to for scientists, science educators, and students who wish to make their own videos. This electronic guidebook was created with a new authoring platform to combine text, video, and other interactive content to facilitate learning. This ebook shows how to plan, shoot, edit, and publish an effective and professional-looking science video to demonstrate a new method, record an online lesson or lecture, create supplemental online material for a journal article, produce a virtual tour of a laboratory or experimental facility, to raise online visibility—and many other uses.

Tap here to see the media trailer. Read more about the book on this page (or select eBook in the top navigation bar).

Who Is The Scientist Videographer?

cameraoperator_cartoon_klmckeeI am a research scientist who has discovered the value of having videography skills in my communication toolbox—which in the future will be just as important as writing and oral presentation skills are now for a successful science career. I’ve found that video has not only expanded my abilities to explain and share my science with others, it has benefited my career in ways I never dreamed possible. To learn more about what led me to acquire videography skills and why I think it will be a critical communication skill for the scientist of the 21st century, check out my About page. See the links in Other Science Contributions for more information about me and my research.

My Science Videos

Mississippi River Flood of 2011

Public domain image (U.S. Geological Survey)

In addition to science videography tutorials, I have produced and published several peer-reviewed science videos as well as a number of other videos on various science and science-career topics. I provide links to those videos on My Science Videos page to show how someone with no formal training in videography, media, or science communication can produce effective videos to convey a science message. I made my first science video in 2008 and have since published about 80 videos (including tutorials).

If I can do it, so can you.

The Scientist Videographer Blog

For more information, tips, video reviews and general musings about science communication, go to my blog. Here you will find additional material and links to video tutorials and other instructional information. See recent posts below or select Blog in the Navigation bar.

mangroves_K.L. McKee

Recent Posts

Add Captions to Your Videos to Increase Your Audience Reach

I’ve given many presentations at international conferences as well as seminars at foreign research institutions and departments. One thing I learned from these experiences was that non-native English speakers appreciated it when I made an effort to aid their comprehension of my language. In addition to speaking slowly, I would add a single sentence on each slide that summarized what I was describing on that slide. This approach helps because people often can read English better than they understand the spoken language–especially if the speaker has a strong accent. I know that adding extra text to slides is often discouraged by presentation gurus, because the audience’s attention is split between reading the slide text and listening to what the speaker is saying. However, the advice not to add extra text to slides falls down when your audience is struggling to understand your spoken words. You have to balance the design of your slides with your audience’s needs.

That experience in giving presentations to international audiences made me acutely aware of how captions can increase an audience’s comprehension of my material. In this blog post, I’d like to talk a bit about why and how you should add captions to your videos.

When people first start making videos, they often focus on the audiovisual aspects of the project and don’t think much (if at all) about providing closed captioning text. It’s an extra step that many video makers avoid because it takes time and because they haven’t thought about the makeup of their potential audience. People typically think about closed captioning as mainly helping viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, there are probably many more people who simply can’t understand the language being spoken in the video but whose comprehension would be improved enormously by captions.

If you post your videos on a media-sharing site such as YouTube, your potential audience is the entire globe, where many people may not speak your language. For example, about half of the viewers of my videos on The Scientist Videographer YouTube channel reside in countries in which English is not the primary language. YouTube uses speech recognition technology to produce an automatic transcript for each uploaded video. It’s not perfect, but is pretty good; the few mistakes can be easily corrected. You can alternatively upload a text transcript, and YouTube will synchronize the text with the audio. Then, all a viewer needs do is click the “CC” button to turn on closed captioning.

Captions help viewers who struggle to understand your spoken language but can read it. Another reason to include captions is because YouTube provides the option to translate the captions into more than 60 languages; however, this works only if the video creator provides captions. This means that those viewers who don’t speak or read your language can also watch and understand your video. A final reason is that a text transcript contributes to Search Engine Optimization by providing information to Google and YouTube that allows more efficient indexing of your videos. By ensuring your videos are discoverable by search engines, you will reach a much larger audience.

Adding captions to your videos thus increases your global audience as well as the discoverability of your science videos.

So part of my workflow in making a video includes preparing a word-for-word transcript of everything audible in the video. Because I often develop a script prior to filming, I usually can use that text file and only have to revise it a bit to reflect minor changes in the final film. That transcript file is uploaded, along with the video, to my channel, and YouTube then automatically aligns the text with the audio. When the video plays and the viewer enables the closed captioning (cc button), the text then appears on screen and is timed to match the audio.

Creating and adding closed captions to a video is relatively easy and painless–if you know how. In the following video tutorial, I walk through the steps needed to add closed captions to a video:

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