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Computer science conferences these days often ask authors to make short videos based on their papers. The short ones might be 30 secs in length. The longer ones might be about 5 min long.

These videos, if made well, can attract people to your talk during the conference, and also serve as a great introduction to your paper for future readers after the conference.

I'd appreciate some tips and advice on how to make these videos good. If you have a favorite example of such videos, I'd love to see it too!

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SciFund ran a class last summer on making academic videos.

Some tips from that course that I found helpful:

  • Start with a "hook" to grab viewers' attention, use dramatic tension to keep it. See e.g. this video. (From Week 2 of the course.)
  • In your script, emulate the way people speak, not write - it will sound much more natural. (See Week 3 of the course.)
  • When you record your voice-over, use good equipment (you can get a cheap lav mike that works with a smartphone and has pretty decent quality), record in a quiet place, keep your tone level. (From Week 3 of the course.)

All of the class materials are available online:

As for examples of good science videos, Vox has some nice examples of videos that are both appealing and informative. See e.g. this one, or this one. Although theirs are for a general audience, not a specialist audience, a lot of the principles are the same, and I personally find it useful to note things that I think they do well (production-wise) that I can emulate.

  • Thank you so much this course is absolutely helpful! I learned a lot by reading the content and viewing the examples! – Zening Qu Jul 25 '17 at 3:22

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