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Why video?

Video is one of the fastest growing media for communicating with diverse audiences, and it attracts more engagement on social media platforms than other posts. You can create a range of different types of videos, requiring varying degrees of technical know-how and budget.

While hiring a production company is the best way to produce a professional-looking video, this is beyond the means or requirements of most researchers. But that doesn't mean you can't learn from the experts and produce something effective yourself, using free or inexpensive services online or available in UCD. With little more than a camera phone, a laptop and some free software you can create:

  • Video abstracts (a quick online search will bring plenty of advice on how to make them, like (opens in a new window)these tips from Cell)
  • Talking head videos
  • Explainer videos
  • Promotional videos for stakeholders

The type of video you decide to make will depend on your audience and the message you want to get across. You should also think about where you're going to display your video. It can be uploaded to a relevant website, hosted on your own YouTube channel, or shared on websites like (opens in a new window)We Share Science.

Making your own

Check out the Library's (opens in a new window)smartphone video production tips to get started on your own. You can use these free and paid video-editing tools to create more polished clips:

You can also use online, drag-and-drop tools like (opens in a new window)Animoto to easily make your own videos.

Professional video and animations

If you have the need, and the budget, to commission a professional video or animation, carefully consider and clearly map out the messages you need it to convey. And think about the shots or imagery it might use to get those messages across. 

For live-action video, think about what "b-roll" or "cutaway" footage would be useful for the video's talking points. You might need to source stock video or shoot additional location footage, which could add to your filming schedule or budget. That said, you can also get hold of free stock footage online, from websites like (opens in a new window)Pexels and (opens in a new window)Pixabay.

For animation, draft a script or narrative that clearly communicates the message of the video from beginning to end, whether or not you intend to include a voice-over.

See our resources for research projects for a list of suppliers, and UCD's (opens in a new window)research impact playlist on YouTube for examples of research storytelling in video.  

Screen-capture video

This kind of video is free to make and great for explaining how to explore data on a website, dashboard or other productivity sharing platform, or simply to give a presentation of your research findings to share online. There are (opens in a new window)many free tools you can use, including:

Mac users can avail of the built-in screen-recording software (opens in a new window)Screenshot, which is accessible via the QuickTime video app. 

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