How to make engaging videos in a short amount of time


picture of DNA strand - "Case study. Make synthetic biology look fun. You have two days and 2 minutes"


Challenge: Record a massive Synthetic Biology competition during a 2-day conference and create a 2 minute recap video to play on the last day.

PLUS: Adapt shooting to display on a giant, double-wide, projected image.

AND: The presentation rooms will be really dark because teams will be projecting from laptops.

The IGEM conference features students from around the world coming to present their synthetic biology research. Each team has 20 minutes to share highly technical information through PowerPoint slides and posters set up throughout a convention center. My job for the past three years has been to run around video recording what happens throughout the day and quickly edit together a wrap-up video shown on the final day. Fortunately for me I love science and learning about what’s happening in the labs and research facilities around the world. The challenge is to visually convey the excitement to others who couldn’t be there.

As always, the first thing to understand with any project is the audience. Fortunately, this audience is made up of, you guessed it, scientists. The job becomes easier since I don’t have to explain what Synthetic Biology is but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the video must include an educational component to support the message. Because I edit what I shoot, I make mental notes of what might go where as I’m shooting. Often times using separate people for each job can slow down the process and you have to be sure the final piece has continuity.

Click here to view the final video. The client’s final web version will include a call to action to encourage students to get involved and participate next year.

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