video producer filming scientist in lab

UC Davis Video

Using video to express ideas is one of the most powerful ways to reach large audiences. These guidelines and standards are here to help you, the producer, make the most of your video and achieve your communication goals.

At the outset of creating a video, here are a few thoughts to consider:

Videos are an emotional medium

  • Work to find a human angle to your story.
  • Try not to jam too much information into one video.

Consider your audience first

  • Less is more — audiences typically engage with shorter videos.
  • Think about who you’re making the video for — give them what they want.
  • Have a clear message that is tailored to your audience. Be intentional and strategic about why you’re creating the video for that audience.


  • At UC Davis, it’s our goal to create stories that are accessible to everyone. For those of us producing videos, this means creating captions for every video we publish. You can find details about creating captions on the video accessibility page.
  • There are additional captioning resources for faculty and staff available on the campus accessibility website.

How to tell strong stories using video

As a medium, video works best in helping an audience form an emotional reaction to someone or something. Use the video to capture your audience’s imagination, leaving them wanting more.

Focus on one message

A common mistake is trying to tell multiple messages in one video. This encourages audiences to drop off and move on. Keep things short, simple and moving. Focus on one message and save the details for accompanying websites or written copy.

Make good choices with music, B-roll and interviews

  • There are many sites that offer subscription services for royalty-free music. Strategic Communications uses APM Music.
  • Be subtle — don’t tell your audience how to feel.
  • Look for music that is upbeat, driving in terms of pace.
  • Be intentional when you’re selecting music. Avoid music that could be culturally insensitive or stereotypical.
  • Use music that is copyright cleared. It should be cleared of all permissions in advance of filming.
  • Use Strategic Communications B-roll if possible, located in the UC Davis Photoshelter collection.
  • Use motivated shots — avoid lingering.
  • Look for sequences: wide, medium and tight.
  • Be thoughtful about the imagery you choose and how you use it. Avoid tokenism and reusing the same B-roll shot or image to represent a group of people. Our practice is to take photos and videos out of circulation in our general campus B-roll archive after four years. This helps address the overuse of images as well as remove images of people who may no longer be involved with the university.

Uphold authenticity  

Strong video stories are inclusive and uphold authenticity. We believe authenticity is critical when visually representing the diverse populations on campus. Here are some questions to ask yourself before and during filming as well as in the post-production process.

  • Who is missing?
  • Would I want to be portrayed this way?    
  • Do the visuals reinforce a stereotype?
  • Is anyone being tokenized in the story? 

Put it all together: high production value

Your story is only as good as your video’s production value. Make sure your video is properly exposed and thoughtfully framed. Capture clean audio. Keep your graphics simple.