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The University of Southampton
Digital Learning

Working with us

We always recommend getting in touch with us as soon as possible so that we have plenty of time to find the perfect solution for your potential project.

Please allow at least 5-6 weeks between initial consult/project request and final deadline.

If you have any questions or would like to work with us, please email us at digital-learning@soton.ac.uk or book your 30 minute slot here.

Initial Meeting

The first step to working with us is to book a meeting to talk through your requirements. 

There are two types of meetings we can have:

Initial consultation: You can book a consultation if you are not sure what can be done, we can explore all possible options with you based on our available expertise.

Project request meeting: If you have a clear idea of what the final deliverables are:

  • Type of resource (Videos only/Interactive content/Animation/Graphics/Photographs)
  • Number of resources to be produced
  • Predicted rough length of resource(s)
  • Number of people to be filmed (video)
  • Are the interviewees/presenters going to be filmed all on the same day? (video)
  • Filming location(s) (video)
  • Objective/Purpose of the resource(s)
  • Core message(s)
  • Target audience
  • Where will the final resource(s) to be hosted? (i.e., web page, Blackboard, screens on campus)
  • Deadline for completion.

These questions will help us make sure we fully understand your needs and expectations and confirm that we are the right team to take on the work.

Requirements Review

The next step is for us to review all the information discussed in the meeting. We will then identify if there is capacity for us to take on the project within the deadline you provided.

If the project consists of creating a teaching resource, we will work with a Learning Designer to ensure that the pedagogic needs are met.

Project scoping

Once we establish that we understand your needs and that we have the capacity to take on the project, we start drafting a Project Scoping Document. This document holds all the key information agreed upon, including timescales and deliverables.

One of the Media Developers will work with you to fill this in. Once all parties sign off the document, we will send it to the Digital Learning Manager and respective Deputy Head of School; this will result in the project request being formally booked in. 

As the project gets under way, we will keep track of the timescales and agreed tasks and provide you with regular contact and email updates.

The following steps (below) are tailored for video production but if producing other media elements such as Storyline interactive content/animation, the process is much the same. 

Pre production

The pre-production process starts by taking the key content of the video and turn it into a script with visual cues. The style of the video, according to your preference and examples you provided, is also considered at this stage.

Normally the script consists of two columns; one side will outline what you see and happens on screen and the other one outlines what you hear at any specific time.   

An example script storyboard

If we are planning an interview, the script is more of a guideline to have an idea of the content that needs to be covered (unless it needs to be specific due to the subject matter). We therefore recommend having bullet points that you or any other interviewees can review on the lead up to the filming.  
This stage of production is crucial as, in our experience, the more we plan each project the better the final result so take your time in thinking about what you want the outcome to be. 

The final version of the script is a team effort - if you have an idea, get in touch and we can help with editing it. You don’t need to have a perfect final version before coming to us - we can help!

The best scripts tend to: 

  • Be natural, engaging and interesting - edit the wording and make the script/notes your own
  • Be to the point, short and easy to understand
  • Sound good when read aloud
  • Convey your core message without too many details

At this stage it is always good to start thinking about any images or cutaways*  that you'd like us to use.

* Cutaways are additional videos that support the topic/subject matter i.e. if a person is talking about a rare species of plant, you may want to cut to a close up of that plant.

Production

Unless the project we are working is an animation, the production stage normally entails filming. It doesn't matter how long the script is, preparing for filming and having a clear idea of what you need to say is an essential step.

Sometimes, the fact that you are confident delivering a talk in front of a room full of people doesn’t mean that you will find it easy to be in front of the camera.  

That said, as a team we always do our best to make our interviewees comfortable and help work out the best way of explaining difficult concepts in video format. 

We often remind people that they can do the same section multiple times and we tend to re-film the first couple of questions again at the end as by that that point the interviewees are more relaxed and will perform better. 

Here is some of the information that we will need to prepare with you for filming:

  • Filming location
  • Filming schedule
  • Shot list
  • Interview questions
  • Consent forms
  • Risk assessment(s)
  • Filming permission on campus and/or off-site location agreement to be signed  
  • Contingency plans if anything goes wrong

DO's and DON'Ts of filming  

  • Don't wear jingly jewellery
  • Don't wear really bright colours or patterns
  • Don't wear or say anything that dates the video (i.e. saying "last week" etc.)
  • Do ask us questions
  • Do relax and smile!  

Post production

During post-production we put together all the elements and this is when your video comes to life. 

Here are the different stages of interview editing: 

  • Assembly - all the relevant interview footage is topped and tailed. This means getting rid of the questions the interviewer might be asking/mistakes so that all that is left is the useable footage; 
  • Rough edit - this is where the storytelling starts taking shape. Please note that at this stage it is important to just listen to the content as the visuals will contain jump cuts etc. It’ll all be polished in the next editing steps; 
  • Fine edit - we add relevant shots to the talking head (bespoke or stock) - this is both for keeping the viewer interested and to cover up jump cuts; 
  • Final cut - we then polish the fine edit by colour grading the footage, adding music, logos and any graphics until we have the final product. 

Watch our video to gain a visual understanding of the steps described above.

 

Review and feedback

We would normally send our key contact a version of the video after each step is completed. The most effective way for us to get feedback from you, is to have a comprehensive list of all the changes that need to be made with time codes attached to each change.

In order to do this, you will need to collate all the feedback from all the people involved in the project and then send it to us. The reason behind this is that if there are multiple lists of changes that come at different times for the same version of the video, then the production time (and potentially costs) will increase. 

To let us know of any changes that need to be carried out, please mention the time codes and words mentioned at the start and end of the section we need to edit/remove/add/move. (i.e. from 0.55 “Lorem ipsum…” to 1.33 “...id est laborum.”) 

The best videos:  

  • Contain all the core message of the brief and script but are as short as possible
  • Are easy to understand and follow, no matter what subject they are about
  • Are visually interesting and use cutaway material to keep the viewer hooked
  • Motivate people to find out more, rather than give too much information all at once

Depending on the type of project we have agreed on, we can then add:  

  • Graphics  
  • Special effects  
  • Music and sound effects  
  • Logos

Completion and delivery

When you’re satisfied with the project, everything is signed off.

We will provide you with the video or published file for you to upload on to your YouTube account, website or Blackboard course.

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