3a. Making a Video

These directions provide guidance if you are choosing to create a video of yourself in front of your board, or a large screen, to present your project.

The goal is to make your project clear and understandable, and we don’t want a poorly created video to get in the way of presenting your hard work to the judges. Please follow the following guidelines and procedures below:

Production Requirements:

  1. Camera

    1. The minimally acceptable camera for this would be a MacBook’s selfie-cam. Many newer phones have far better cameras. Consider 1080p resolution to be the goal. Yorktown Science teachers have cameras for you to use, if you cannot easily acquire one. We also have space to create the video, and large projector screens.

  2. Lighting

    1. Room must be well lit, a science classroom is minimally sufficient

    2. No windows or other light sources should be BEHIND the subject (no back lighting)

    3. Additional lighting would be very helpful, especially to illuminate visuals.

  3. Audio

    1. It is critical that you are clear, loud and understandable

    2. A McBooks microphone is minimally acceptable. Much better would be to use a directional microphone, or possibly even the microphone from an earpiece. Some microphones are designed to only pick up sounds nearby, so test what you are using, in the way you plan to use it.

    3. Pay attention to background noises. There should be no music or other noises that can be heard on the video.

    4. Do a sample run. Check the quality. Remember, you will be using obscure words and your video may be watched by people who don’t hear as well as you. Make it easy for them.

  4. Positioning.

    1. Camera must be in a fixed position, preferably a tripod. NOT hand held. Too many judges would get nauseous watching videos where the camera moves too much

    2. Camera should be mounted in a position approximately at the head-level of the presenter, and should show a view similar to what a TV news anchor shows.

    3. Presenter can be standing, or sitting professionally.

    4. Visuals should be easy to see/read by an older viewer watching on a laptop screen. See below for more suggestions on visuals.

  5. Staging

    1. The room you choose should have minimal distractions. This includes noise, activity, decorations. We want the judge to be able to focus on you, and for you to focus on the presentation.

    2. You should dress professionally. A nice shirt, not a t-shirt, is sufficient. Convey a sense of professionalism in how you present yourself.

  6. Production value

    1. You are NOT being judged on producing a video worthy of being on the Dailies. You should not worry editing, though it is acceptable to cut-out, or stitch together at most three pieces to help convey your message with fewer distractions or problems.  Focus on producing something that will allow the judge to watch and judge you in a way that is as close as possible to “face to face”, with as few distractions/problems as possible.

  7. Practice and present

    1. You should practice your talk multiple times before the video. You should use note cards or other prompts to help ensure you cover all important points.

    2. Do not read your presentation to the camera.

    3. Your presentation does not need to be perfect, but you want to avoid unprofessional things, such as “um”, “like”, cracking up laughing during the presentation, picking your nose, etc.

    4. Make eye contact with the camera. If this is difficult, have someone very close to the camera that you can make eye contact with, so it appears you are looking at the camera.

    5. This video format eliminates the ability of the judges to ask questions during or after your presentation. For this reason, it is very important that you refine what you will be saying. Don’t assume too many things of the judge, organize your presentation well, and try to anticipate questions (maybe ask your science teacher for help with this).

  8. Visuals

    1. You can choose to present standing next to a science project board, just like a normal fair. That is exactly what we expect for most students.

    2. You can alternately choose to present next to a large monitor / TV with your visuals as slides that can be much larger and easier to see on the video. Yorktown will have classroom projectors or large TVs set up with AppleTV interfaces to assist with this method if you want. A modern home television or monitor will suffice, but the small screen on a MacBook is insufficient.

    3. If using a printed visual, you will need to ensure that the visual is on the screen, not moving, and in focus, for a substantial period of time. It is suggested you get help with this, and maybe count to 10 Mississippi’s for each visual (each graph, paragraph, etc). You can choose whether to talk during this time of displaying the visual, or pause. The viewer can pause the video to spend more time with the visual as needed. It is often useful to annotate the visual, including axis labels, legend information, etc. to assist the viewer if things are not clear.

  9. Sending it off

    1. Watch the video, listen to it. Make sure you are clear and present yourself in a way you believe is professional and will help convey your project effectively. This includes volume, eye contact, pacing, and more. Once you are satisfied with your presentation, upload the video according to the guidelines given. The video should be as close to full HD quality as possible to ensure judges can read your visuals. Check with guidelines for file formats. Be sure to use a widely compatible format.