Category Archives: video

Creating iPad & Tablet Videos


I recently made the switch and am conducting my filming and video production exclusively on my iPad. Part of my motivation for this shift was out of necessity; I am currently working on a pro bono education development project for an NGO in India and didn’t bring my laptop along with me, which has forced me to maximize the functionality of my tablet. I am currently working on several video projects for the NGO, and throughout this process I have uncovered several key elements I wanted to share.

There are a few reasons that now make tablet-exclusive video production possible:

Frame Rate Improvements
With recent tablet releases, such as the iPad Air, the film frame rate is comparable to many point-and-shoot video camera devices. Several years ago shooting on tablets and phones meant significantly reduced video quality. The differences are now negligible, especially if your goal is to upload the video for online streaming (where you want to strike a balance between good quality with a file size that isn’t too large).

Video App Capabilities
In the last few years a number of companies have produced video editing & production apps with enough features that allow you to edit clips
and create videos directly on the tablet.

Several Video Editing & Production Apps I recommend are:
iMovie for iPad
Reel Director

Benefits of producing videos exclusively on the tablet include:

Eliminates Video File Transfer
When shooting directly on the iPad you avoid the video file transfer process, saving a significant amount of time. The video files are already on the tablet and can be imported straight into the video editing app.

Video Playback & Review
During video filming sessions, using the iPad allows you to be able to instantly replay your video on a larger screen (to check shot layout, sound quality, etc), rather than having to review the footage on a very small camera LCD screen and tiny speaker.

One and Done
No one can argue with the drawbacks of carting around a laptop, camera, phone and a tablet. For me, traveling in a developing country with all of these expensive devices is a liability. I now need just my iPad and I can create a video project start to finish. One (device) and done.

Apps = User-Friendly
Oftentimes the full computer version of video editing software is overkill. There are way more features available than one needs to create a good video, so it can be overwhelming to wade through all the elements to learn and use the program effectively. By nature, tablet apps have limited functionality, featuring the most essential components, which is usually all you need to edit and produce a video.


There are obviously a few drawbacks moving exclusively to producing video content on the iPad or tablet, so in some cases I still recommend filming clips on a camera.
Several drawbacks include:

Limited Editing Functionality
The video production apps for tablets have limited functionality, so detailed editing is still best on the computer with a full video editing program. Yet my recommendations in the past have been to gear towards keeping your filming sections short (~30 seconds each) and “edit as you film” so that you don’t have much editing to do once you transfer the video clips into the computer video editing software program.

Finite Storage Space
Most tablets have 16/32/64 GB memory, which isn’t very much space when you start working with video. Both the video clips themselves and the video app project files can become large quite quickly.
As soon as you’re finished with a project I recommend loading the video to the video streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) for external viewing, and also loading a copy to iCloud or Dropbox as a back-up for your records. Then promptly delete the files from your device to create more free space. *Remember to save and then delete both the video project file from the video editing app as well as the final video file you most likely saved in your camera/video roll.

An important note: In all of my presentations on video creation I stress the importance of using a tripod. We have all tried watching too many shaky handheld videos that force us to abort due to motion sickness.
Shooting video on a tablet is no exception.
I always travel with my tripod, and have a mount built for tablets and phones that connect right into the existing tripod unit. This is an essential $4 item that is key for successful (and steady) video projects.
It is still a speciality item so I have found it difficult to purchase off the shelf in-store, but there are a variety of options available through online retailers. You can search for “iPad/tablet tripod mount.”
This is the mount I use and recommend:


I’ll be sharing some of the video projects I create in the coming months and I welcome your comments and feedback on how this process goes for you.


2012 Annual Conference Presentation


I will be presenting on Developing In-House Video Content for Successful Recruitment at the Unique Uses of Technology and Social Media in IE Fair

When: Friday, Jun 1 | 9:00 am-10:30 am
Where: Room 320 ABC

Generating Content with Video Contests | Theme

This is the fourth post of a short series on elements that create a good video campaign.

It is recommended to present a contest theme around which participants can build their video story. This theme can be a word, concept, or phrase that directsparticipants content development. Before determining a theme two important questions to consider are:
1. What aspects of your institution do you want to feature?
2. What kind of videos do you want to showcase in your video library? (As in the tone, content, and feel that is portrayed within the video content).

Answers to the first question could include: academic merit, campus community, activities, faculty, facilities, work opportunities, internships, career resources, local surrounding community, off-campus resources, and location.
For the second question you may want to consider content and tone that portrays an academically-driven environment, or one of a vibrant, diverse campus community, or one that shows the inspirational influence the institutions’ student population has in their field after graduation.

Consider that different themes will result in vastly different video content and tone. If your theme centers around your institutions’ academic reputation your contest video submissions could likely result in a more serious tone than if your theme centers around campus activities & events. Determining answers to these questions will help drive the development of successful video contest theme ideas.

Some specific ideas for features and themes are:

  1. If you want to feature specific academic degree programs your theme could be related to students featuring their favorite aspect about their major/department of study (professors, courses, study resources, extra-curricular clubs related to degree program, etc).
  2. If you would like to showcase your study abroad students integration into the local culture in popular study destinations your theme could be focused on how they served as an ambassador for your institution during their time abroad.
  3. If you want to feature the breadth of your on/off campus job opportunities for international students your theme could be related to how work experience enhances students’ academic goals.

Next post: Time Limit

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Generating Content with Video Contests | Video Contest Participants

This is the third post of a short series on elements that create a good video campaign. 

Who are your video contest participants?
Most likely they are current students who are actively engaged with their institution community and involved in campus events and activities. Usually students who are experiencing a positive campus life are eager to share with their peers about how much fun they are having. What better way than to have them show people how much fun they’re having through a video? And most likely, they are already creating video content on their own (we are just going to guide them through an inspirational theme—more to come on video themes in a future post).

If your target audience is current students you need to consider what motivates them to want to participate?
Prizes, yes. But also fame and notoriety. Perhaps along with a monetary-based price (Amazon and iTunes gift cards are always a hit) the winner(s) are promoted across campus and amongst the local community for being “ambassadors,” promoting their campus globally. You could collaborate with a national or international online news source to feature the student winner’s blogs online. For further ideas on how to motivate your participants ask current students what they would like to win as a prize for entering a video contest.

Most students have personal devices or access to the technology needed to create a video (video camera and a computer with basic video editing software) but it is always helpful if the institution can provide technology resources to encourage contest participation. There are schools which have provided their students with Flip/portable video cameras during an academic program to encourage film documentation from the student perspective.

Another way to encourage entries and motivate participants is create several on-campus events to promote the contest by offering the use of video recording equipment or designated lab time for students to come together in the same place to edit their videos. Allowing this video creation process to happen in a collaborative space will further generate creativity and encourage students to interact with their peers, and friends, around a common goal: promoting their institution.

Next post: Video Contest Theme

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Generating Content with Video Contests | Intended End-User Audience

This is the second post of a short series on elements that create a good video campaign.

The benefit of running a video contest is that upon completion your institution can use the student-generated videos as promotional material for your institution. You will have a library of creative, diverse video content created by your students sharing with the world how much they like your institution. That’s better than any paid marketing campaign and it’s genuine, from the voice of your students.

It’s important to think about what kind of videos your prospective student market will want to see. What you want to feature about your institution and current students to your prospective student audience will drive your video contest theme. For example, do you want your students’ videos to focus on their student life experience, their campus life, academics, activities, their opinion on the best feature of the institution? These topics will all produce quite a different result in terms of video content and student testimonials.

For a more academic-themed video stream you may want to consider a video contest topic around “How XXX university is Preparing Me for My Career” or “Success Beyond XXX University” For more of a student life focus something along the lines of “Get Outside (The Classroom).” If you want to showcase the diversity of the international student body you could center a theme around something like “Bringing My Culture to XXX University.”

It’s always a good idea to run your theme by a few students beforehand to hear their take on it and what kind of video they would produce. This will help you get a sense if your theme is in alignment with what you want the end result content to showcase.

Next post: Video Contest Participants

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Generating Content with Video Contests-Overview

This is the overview post of a short series on elements that create an effective video campaign.


One of the biggest challenges with creating new student video content is finding the time to actually create it. Instead, offload this time-intensive task to your students. Not only does it take the project of your long list of To Dos, it is more real having the content come from the students directly, as that’s who prospective students want to hear from.

One of the best ways to generate a breadth of organic video content in a relatively short amount of time is to run a video contest. Before blasting out to students that you’re giving away prizes for their “homemade movies” there are a number of elements to consider, including:

  • Intended End-User Audience
  • Video Contest Participants
  • Theme
  • Time limit
  • Contest Rules
  • Contest Promotion
  • Judging & Winner Selection Process
  • Prizes & Showcasing the Winners
  • Sharing Video Content

Over the next few weeks I will feature blog posts that highlight each of these elements and discuss them in detail, as well as provide recommendations on best practices.

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Tips for Video Production


I frequently talk about the ability we have to create in-house, organic video content for our institutions, using technology & resources we already have available (yes, the one person office with limited budget, included).

We just completed a series of campus video tours in multiple languages using all existing resources and student volunteers.
Here is an article from Hubspot that provides some useful and important video project tips
12 Tips to Instantly Enhance Your Video Production

The tips are divided into 3 categories: Pre-Production, Production, & Post-Production.

As a list, they are as follows:

Top Pre-Production Tips

1. Be original. The idea/concept for your video project should be original and creative. Don’t take the easy route and copy someone else’s idea.

2. Plan it out. Be organized and plan everything out in great detail during the pre-production phase. Write a script, draw out a storyboard, and create a shot list.

3. Be selective when choosing video subjects. Set high standards when casting actors and actresses for your projects. The lines being delivered should not be forced. Pick someone who can deliver dialogue naturally.

4. Carefully consider the set. Don’t try to fool your audience by “set dressing” your office to simulate another location. Your audience is paying close attention to every detail of your video. Shoot your video projects in locations other than your office if the setting of your video isn’t an office.

Top Production Tips

5. Be cognizant of sound quality. Don’t come off as an amateur with poor sound recording quality. Use lapel/lavaliere mics when shooting sit-down interviews.

6. Set up lights. You don’t want your footage to be under or over exposed, so set up lights and eliminate any unwanted shadows.

7. Use a tripod. Make sure the tripod is level.

8. Focus. Make sure the camera is in focus and white balanced.

9. Obey the ‘rule of thirds.’ Always obey the rule of thirds when framing your shots. Your subject’s eye-line should be on the top horizontal line leaving an empty space on the screen in the direction where the subject’s eyes are aiming (in this case, to the left of the screen). The subject’s mouth should be on the bottom horizontal line. Try not to position your subject in the middle of the screen. There should be a small amount of room between the top of the screen and the top of the subject’s head.

Top Post-Production Tips

10. Align the flow of the video with the emotional response you want to evoke in viewers. The tone, structure, and pacing of your video has a major influence on its effectiveness and the emotional impact on your audience.

11. Leverage b-roll. Cover up your cuts with b-roll footage that complements the narration.

12. Optimize video text. Keep the style of your text and titles simple, classy, and sharp.

Read the full article here

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