When I started making my Frostbyte, I kept a few things in mind. I wanted it to be fairly simple (easy to make, easy to follow). I wanted it to be fun (both for myself and for viewers). And I wanted it to have some sort of a storyline (in this case, I followed the arc of my poster). As for tools, I had the figures already created for my poster, I took timelapse video of myself writing on a whiteboard using my iPhone and the Hyperlapse app, I got some free/rights-free music via Vimeo, and I put it all together using iMovie.
Fun & Simple: It is crucial for a video format that your video be fun and simple! Unless it is engaging, people can and will easily skip through a video or just not watch it. Also, if I’m going to spend time making a video (it took most of an afternoon to put together 2 minutes of Frostbyte!), I definitely want to be having fun doing it. Look around for other science communication videos that you like for ideas. Think about what makes your project unique. It is hard to make narration over figures interesting (and really hard to be heard in a poster hall – so don’t rely on audio!), so think outside the box.
Storyline: Almost all good communication (science or not) relies on a storyline. Some sort of arc hooks in your viewer, gives them information, and leaves them with a message. The narrative actually helps them remember details. The storyline you choose (and, to be fair, mostly everything about your video) will depend on your audience. So think about how to hook in and lead your colleagues through your research. How would you do it in person? What can you do uniquely with video on top of that?
Putting it all together: When you have an effective storyline backed up by a fun and simple aesthetic, you should be good to go! If you have text, make sure to leave it on screen for longer than you think you’ll need it. Ensure that you have visually pleasing visuals and transitions. Most importantly, get feedback from colleagues and friends to help you edit and improve your concept!
Above all, Frostbytes are efforts to share your science and improve your science communication skills. Tell a story, have fun doing it, and you’ll be successful!
By: Allen Pope (winner of the International Glaciological Society (IGS) Frostbyte competition at the IGS Cambridge sympoisum on Contemporary Ice Sheet Dynamics and recipient of a free publication in an IGS journal)