The Benefits of a Research Film
The utilization and application of video and animation has many benefits for scientists, researchers and academics. Its relative mobility and ease of use means it can be a powerful tool in demonstrating and disseminating research and ideas to a wider audience. Alongside the ability to record up-to-date and ‘on the spot’ findings as they happen, research films can also be used as a valuable marketing tool – allowing your research to stand-out in journals and compliment funding-applications.
Nowadays, it’s possible for virtually everyone to film and share video, photography and audio content across the many online channels and platforms, and there are many different and useful applications for video and animation within a research and academic context. For example, video and animation is a particularly useful tool during seminars and presentations as it allows the presenter to show their findings and illustrate and emphasise detail in the data from an extended (or edited) time-period, in a manner that might not be possible through a simpler slides-based format.
It presents the opportunity to utilise a more creative approach, both to the dissemination of the research findings but also to ask questions and identify potential ‘what-if’ scenarios and speculate on future findings. For example, here’s a research film we produced for the Centre of Interdisciplinary Methodologies on the subject of Big Data.
It also has a very practical application in showing processes and allows the opportunity (through presenter led walk-throughs or step-by-step guides) to include detail that print and publications can sometimes miss or leave out. Primarily though, it’s a great tool for the engagement of an audience, particularly if you need to explain the complexities of your findings to viewers who might not have a scientific or academic background.
Videos make your research accessible
For a variety of reasons, research findings can be somewhat inaccessible to the wider public, but there are many reasons why online video content can be the solution to the problem of how to raise awareness and disseminate your research.
Social media channels have a worldwide reach, and this means that research can be promoted to a significantly larger audience. Alongside the merits of this greater span, online media channels can obviously perpetuate discussion and collaboration, and what better way to do that then through a research film that can capture and engage an audience and illustrate key findings and results.
Video allows the researcher to present a more personable front or recognisable face to their work, which might seem irrelevant but can actually be very useful with funding or grant applications as it allows the researcher to ‘bookend’ or clarify their ideas or thought processes.
So, how do you create an effective research film?
- Before you even start filming, know what your objectives are. What do you want the video to do? What do you want the audience to do after they have watched it?
- Where will you publish the video? Think about posting to social media and your institutes owned media pages etc. This might inform how you structure your video.
- Keep it short. A longer duration has to work significantly harder to maintain engagement and viewer interest, so content that has a focus and relevancy is the best way to keep an audience interested.
- Consider how you’d like to present your video. Is it lecture or seminar based? Or something more voice-over driven with accompanying slides. Or do you want to go the whole hog and bring in outside resources?
- Consider how you’ll structure the video. A script is obviously ideal, but bullet points can often work just as well and allow for a little flexibility in approach.
- Think about the tone of voice and language. You need to keep the viewer engaged throughout so the content has to be accessible to your audience.
For now, these are just some basic tips to consider before you get started. In our next series of articles, we’ll go into detail on the steps you can take to building your own research film from scratch, covering equipment you might need through to structuring your script, framing a shot, editing, and publishing.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you produce your research film, get in touch today.
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