Last week, DigiKnow looked at visual content and best practice. This week, we continue with moving image. Moving image, can be defined as motion picture, video, news footage, out-takes, home movies, slideshows, screen tests, broadcast and/or multimedia.
Why are moving images of such interest? They can be used to teach, to demo, to entertain.
In this blog, we look at who watches moving image and why. Thinking about the audience and considerations of their needs (accessibility), practices to avoid and best practices to implement. Lastly, we touch on planning a video.
Who watches moving images?
Everyone watches moving images, from Emmerdale and Eastenders to University Challenge and Sky at Night. We watch for entertainment purposes, to challenge ourselves and to broaden our knowledge on things we’re interested in.
Here at Queen’s University, many students watch videos or presentations with animation within teaching materials. With this in mind, when creating videos, build accessibility in to the materials from the beginning.
Accessibility should not be an afterthought. Think about accessibility. How can you make the video usable to the widest audience possible, i.e., usable by able bodied and by disabled persons.
Where the video ends up is a consideration before creating the video. This might dictate the format and dimensions of the video, the video player used and how the captions look on screen. Different video players display captions differently and have varying degrees of configuration by users.
If you are making a video, why are you making it? Is it to teach or to be used on social media? This is an important question as social media videos are short and snappy, whilst teaching videos can be upward of 10 minutes long and need to be structured to cover the learning outcomes.
Define why the video is being created. What message do you want to communicate? This will help with scripting and story-boarding content.
Define the audience. This will determine the level and type of communication to be used.
How will the audience engage with the video? Is this via a virtual learning environment, a web site, social media, YouTube, etc.?
Look at the make up of your target audience. How well do you know the audience? How many are living with disability and what types of disability?
Disabilities may include physical/mobility difficulties, visual/hearing impairment, medical conditions, learning difficulties and mental health difficulties.
Even if you don’t know specific audience requirements, how can you widen audience reach?
Practices to Avoid
Videos that automatically play can disorientate screen reader users (visual or cognitive impairment). Whilst the video is playing, the screen reader is also reading text aloud. One solution is to not auto-play videos and let the user start them when they are ready.
There are arguments for and against videos playing automatically. Imagine having multiple tabs open with the same video playing in each tab. How might you feel? On the flip side, when viewing video compilations, it can save time when the next video just starts automatically.
Flashing imagery and lights should be avoided for those living with epilepsy and autism.
Unexpected loud noises can also over-stimulate people living with autism and may be detrimental to people living with certain medical conditions.
Avoid poor quality content and layout, both in terms of visual and audio content.
For people with deteriorating sight, screen text should be considered in terms of colour, size, font and how long it appears. Blind users can hear the audio, they can’t see the visuals. Screen readers can read audio descriptions of the video context but this needs built in to the planning process.
For people with deafness, captions/subtitles should be added. Captions benefit the wider audience as well. For example, students may watch videos on the bus which can be difficult to hear (without earphones), captions allow students to view the material in context.
For people who have difficulty with words, sentences and paragraphs. These should be kept short. The audience should be considered in terms of the language used when recording.
Items being demonstrated need to be highlighted on screen, it is good to highlight items with a border or an arrow to aid viewers rather than just saying “the item on the left”. It’s also good practice not to clutter the screen with too much information which can be both distracting and/or overwhelming.
People living with autism experience heightened sensory states. Loud noises, bright colours, flashing items, etc., can trigger behaviours leading to profound effects. It is good to inform the audience the video may contain loud noises and flashing imagery.
For accessibility purposes, if subtitles can’t be within the video, providing a transcript in an additional format is a good idea. This benefits more people than you might think.
Planning the Video
Videos should have a beginning, middle and end. It helps to story-board the video to help with the content and sequence. The example will be an educational video.
The beginning is setting the scene, context or expectation of what will be covered. Here, this would be learning outcomes.
The middle is the information and learning (or storytelling). This will be speech, moving imagery, animation, etc., and will complement narration. Visuals will reduce the amount or narration required and studies show text (speech) and imagery are more effective than text (speech) alone.
The end of the video is a summary of what was covered and the takeaways / additional resources, etc.
Don’t forget about Copyright. Copyright is yours when you create the content, however, you may include graphs / visuals from other places, etc., and copyright on those items belongs to someone else. Copyright in Education needs to be considered, along with Creative Commons.
There are many audience considerations and it’s hard to produce a ‘one size fits all’ product and it’s not about making videos that are perfect for everyone. By building in accessibility and providing subtitles, captions, audio descriptions, etc., your material can reach a wider audience and be more inclusive. This is a good thing.
Over the next while, DigiKnow will continue blogs for visual content and looking at photography compositions, tips, technical know-how and enhancements. This will include online and App reviews for editing, best practices and where visual content can be used. Stay tuned!