February 2020: Effectively Using Video for Outreach and Dissemination

Video has become a key tool for communication, outreach and dissemination, both within the researcher community, and with the general public. This month, four panelists share their strategies for creating and then disseminating their short videos featured in the STEM for All Video Showcase in 2019. These four videos are very different from each other in how they were produced, the level of production quality, the theme that it addresses, and the primary audience that the presenters hope to reach. What they all have in common is that they were very successful in reaching a very large audience who viewed and discussed their work. As we are in the midst of registration to present for the 2020 STEM for All Video Showcase, it is a great time to learn what these presenters did behind the scenes to make their presentations so effective for outreach and dissemination.View Synthesis Brief

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Expert Panel

Effectively Using Video for Outreach and Dissemination

FEB 5, 2020 at 03:00PM (Eastern Time)

As we are in the midst of registration to present for the 2020 STEM for All Video showcase, it is a great time to learn what these presenters did behind the scenes to make their presentations so effective for outreach and dissemination. In this panel, we will probe what they did to make their presentation in the STEM for All Video Showcase so successful.

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The Discussion related to Effectively Using Video for Outreach and Dissemination is now live! Introduce yourself and your interest in this exploring this theme. The discussion will continue the entire month.
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    January 31, 2020 | 01:57 p.m.

    Welcome to the discussion on Effectively Using Video For Outreach and Dissemination. Please join the interactive panel and hear of  four presenters from four different projects. They will talk about their process of creating a video (each one quite different from the other) and how they maximized dissemination and outreach. Save the time and date Feb. 5th 3:00 Eastern Time. Register to attend (left side of this page).

  • Icon for: Kate Meredith

    Kate Meredith

    February 7, 2020 | 01:07 p.m.

    I am looking forward to continuing the discussion as people make the leap into creating a video of their own.  If you need a convincing shove, I am here for you.  If you want to talk about the IDATA project and accessibility, I am happy to do that too.  Head on over to the IDATA video for another look.  I will keep an eye on both spots this month.

    Mark this discussion post as helpful

    Kimberly Descoteaux
  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    February 7, 2020 | 05:38 p.m.

    I posted this under the iSWOOP page a couple of days ago but decided to move it here since the topic came up in the live-event and there might be additional interest in the background. 

    There has been an interesting discussion in the background about the place of professional gear and that pro-look-and-feel for these short film production and how discouraging such expectations might be for new projects and teams. Good story and visual narrative need not rely on these, even if occasionally they can be helpful. In our short film, we used the camera gimbal at 01:17-01:25 because we couldn’t find a better way to hold and pass the camera from one person to the next, safely and without shaking, but we used a student’s smartphone to capture the defining shot about transitioning form front of the camera to the back at 00:30-00:40. Also note at 02:32 the inverted GoPro on a branch(!) to capture the fascinating footage of the alewives at the spawning ladder in Maine. Filmmakers are inevitably DIY-ers, which is how scientists and designers happen to be as well. Design-Art-Science anyone? See if you can capture any other blooper moments in the film and I and the rest of the ever growing iSWOOP Team are happy to discuss further. 

  • Icon for: Kate Meredith

    Kate Meredith

    February 11, 2020 | 06:17 p.m.

    Thanks for these details, they are very helpful.  I have used an iPhone to great effect.  I do recommend investing in a little tabletop tripod for your phone and a decent microphone.  A wireless mic is worth the expense.  We invest about $60 with good results.

  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    February 11, 2020 | 07:32 p.m.

    Indeed iphoneography (including all smartphones) is an established field with an increasing number of smartphone-filmed short (and long) film festivals around the world. Their organizers tout a level playing filed where ideas and story take precedence over gear and production budgets. For reference check out Mobile Motion Film Festival or MoMo (momofilmfest.com) and Cinephone International Short Film Festival (www.cinephone.es).  Plenty of inspiration there...

    Additionally, I wanted to underscore an important point that Kate made - the easiest way, from a technical perspective, to elevate the perceived quality of your short films is to pay attention to the sound. Even if you don’t invest in additional gear (yet again, most smartphones already have very solid sound-recording capabilities), avoiding echo-y spaces like small rooms and large, flat surfaces like walls, tables, desks and computer screens helps with the quality of sound. If recording with a smartphone pointing the bottom of the phones towards the speaking individual will help too. Certainly, inexpensive, dedicated microphones make things easier and often sound better. From there, shotgun microphones make wonders for background noise control and frequency response - that NPR, crispiness in sound quality.

  • Icon for: Danielle Espino

    Danielle Espino

    February 11, 2020 | 12:54 p.m.

    To echo Nick's comment above, don’t be discouraged by not having professional gear.  Our video is usually more DIY with mainly footage and photos from mobile devices, but we focus on including diverse clips and voices, which we then leverage when inviting people to view the finished product.  If you’re on the fence about whether or not to participate in the Showcase, don’t get too caught up on the visual quality.  At the panel, we mentioned that one of the values in doing the showcase is developing the 3-minute elevator pitch. Going through that process of determining the key points to convey about the project/research with your team can be a rewarding experience in itself. 

    Curious what other advice any returning Showcase presenters have for others, or for those thinking about participating for the first time, questions or concerns on their mind? 

     If anyone has any ideas, questions or commentary—we’d love to keep the conversation going!

  • Icon for: Betsy Stefany

    Betsy Stefany

    February 11, 2020 | 05:13 p.m.


      I have tried various strategies to build a better conference video.   I was truly pleased to hear all of your approaches.  I scramble between helping the teachers learn to document with technology, modeling that effort in a casual manner and submitting something OTHERS not involved with the project can fathom.  Very helpful too to hear that all of you go through the creative balancing, no matter what professional gear you can pull in to assist!

    Being reminded that the video needs to build a narrative rather than solely document progress was important to come from cohorts.    

    Also, thanks for offering the extended posting discussion time.  Most of the webinars seem to be offered during time in the field with limited options to reflect much less post.

    Betsy Stefany 

  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    February 11, 2020 | 07:53 p.m.

    Hi Betsy, browsing the immense archive of the Showcase (via the Multiplex engine or individual annual events) is a great way to get ideas that then allow you to adapt your project to these styles so that you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” every time or on your first submission. Starting with the “Recognized” submissions will make it manageable, although there are certainly great submission beyond that list. Each year we asked members of our team to review as many submissions from the previous event as possible and present 5 short films that impressed them. Different individuals pay attention to different aspects of the films which makes for a dynamic discussion and fresh, new ideas.

  • Alicia Kiremire

    February 11, 2020 | 01:26 p.m.

    Thank you all for your insights!  I attended the panel discussion and have already sent the link to three people to get a team on board for the future.  I will also keep this in mind in upcoming proposals.  Video really is a powerful way to share our stories!

    Mark this discussion post as helpful

    Kate Meredith

Related Resources

Author(s): TERC
Publication: Video

Hear from past presenters about their experience participating in the STEM for All Video Showcase.

Author(s): CADRE
Publication: cadrek12.org

Use this toolkit created by CADRE as a guide to disseminating your project's work. This collection of resources can be used for planning your communication & dissemination strategies or for learning more about different dissemination methods and approaches.

Author(s): Jim Galdos
Publication: DRK-12 PI Meeting Presentation

Advice from videographer Jim Galdos who has produced several NSF DRK–12 videos.