Contents

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Videography skills will becThe Scientist Videographer Bookome increasingly important for the scientist of the future to keep pace with the rapid changes in communications technology and electronic publishing. As public 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 scientists must be prepared to provide it.

The Scientist Videographer is a detailed how-to for scientists, science educators, and students who wish to make their own videos. The author has combined text, video, and other interactive content to create an electronic guidebook to science videography. This ebook shows how to plan, shoot, edit, and publish an effective and professional-looking science video to:

  • Produce multimedia content for Websites or science blogs
  • Demonstrate a technique or experimental protocolbookquote_bird
  • Show “broader impacts” of research in grant proposals
  • Create supplemental online material for journal articles
  • Create a video abstract to submit with a journal article
  • Produce online lessons or courses
  • Film lectures, class field trips, or other activities
  • Prepare outreach materials
  • Explain current events or discoveries
  • Show off experimental facilities or scientific equipment
  • Illustrate technical, teaching, and/or communication skills
  • Prepare job interview/promotion materials
  • Raise visibility in the scientific/education community
  • Promote a positive public image of science and scientists

This ebook is a must-have for the current generation of science students as well as established scientists who wish to add video to their communication toolbox. By following the instructions and tutorials included in this ebook, anyone can quickly acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to create their own science videos. This ebook is chock-full of tutorials, tips, examples, and exercises designed to get you started in science videography. It is written especially for those scientists and students who want to use video in their teaching or research but cannot afford or don’t have access to a media specialist. The use of inexpensive hardware, software, and accessories is emphasized to allow video creation without breaking the bank.

The information in this book is not just for scientists, either. If you are an educator, consultant, resource manager or entrepreneur and need to learn how to create a video, you will find that the instructions in this ebook are readily transferable to other fields and different objectives.

The Scientist Videographer, which is available in the iTunes Store for $14.99, can be read on an iPad, iPhone, or Mac (running OSX10.9 and with iBooks 1.0 or later). To download to your device, you first need to get the iBooks app (available in the App Store) and then search for the title, The Scientist Videographer. Once downloaded, you will have access to all the included interactive content as well as hyperlinks to additional online material. If you prefer, you can first download a free sample, which includes the book’s media trailer and first Chapter. Then if you decide to purchase, it’s easy to update to the full version.

A text-only version of The Scientist Videographer is now available at Amazon for Kindle. If you prefer to read on your computer, you can download a Kindle reader to your PC here.

A text-only version is also available at other major retailers via Smashwords.

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But I’m Not Artistic!

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, public domain

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent Van Gogh

That quote by Van Gogh is about our internal censor—the voice that erodes our confidence and prevents us from trying something new or challenging. Whenever I talk to a group of students or colleagues about making videos about their scientific research, someone invariably responds by saying that they aren’t very artistic and thus cannot be very good at videography. So, why even try?

I understand why they might think this way. Many people are reluctant to engage in any activity that presupposes creativity or artistic ability. Musicians and artists are believed to be somehow different—that they possess inherent talents the average person lacks.

However, as children, we all happily and unselfconsciously draw vivid pictures and make up imaginative stories. Then something happens. A teacher or parent says something discouraging, or our peers make fun of us. Or, as we grow older, other activities draw our attention, and that artistic spark fails to evolve.

I was lucky in that I continued to draw and sketch through childhood. I was an aspiring scientist and spent a lot of time drawing plants, insects, and protozoa that I could see with my microscope. I knew that such detailed drawings were important records for a biologist or ecologist to create. Even after digital devices came on the scene, I continued to sketch in my field notebooks and in the personal journals I kept. My ability to capture an image using only pencil and paper matured. Each drawing was better than the last one. I even became good enough to work as a free-lance scientific illustrator for a while.

My point is that any skill, whether artistic or not, improves over time with practice. With videography, your first attempts will likely not be great, perhaps even terrible. But it doesn’t matter because you will improve with each succeeding video you make. This point  is especially relevant for scientists and other professionals who want to use video as a communication tool. We’ll likely never be as good as a trained filmmaker, but we can still produce effective videos.

In fact, the scientist videographer’s goal is not to be a professional filmmaker but is instead to be a more effective science communicator. Scientists must still learn to communicate using traditional means such as writing articles for publication in journals and speaking at conferences. But we must also be able to use other media to communicate, such as video, which is now a popular way for people to get their information.

And by the way, there is no right way or wrong way to make a video. Worrying about making a technical error or being judged from a filmmaking standpoint is paralyzing. I always advise students who suffer from writer’s block to, “Just write and get your ideas down first; go back later and polish.” Most find that once they are freed from the fear of making a technical error or of not writing the perfect sentence, the words begin to flow.

That approach also works for videography. If you find yourself paralyzed with doubts, just start filming—yourself or others conducting field research or working in the laboratory. Film with the thought that you’ll not necessarily use all of the footage in your video. That view will likely free you to capture a variety of footage and give you some much-needed confidence about filming. I think you’ll find that once you’ve got some footage in hand, the creative juices will begin to flow.

So, if you are disappointed in your first attempts at videography (or are hesitant to even try), remember that even the best videographers were once novices. The difference is that they ignored their internal censor, which was gradually silenced as they made each succeeding video.

For more about this topic see: The Stages of Learning Videography (and Other Skills)

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