Videos are a creative and quick way to share information on a number of platforms, including, websites, social media posts, and within presentations. Videos may be educational, informational, used as a marketing tool, utilized for video infographics, or employed for a video abstract.

General Rules

  • Focus your content and video style to the intended audience.
  • Regardless of video length, have a strong introduction that catches attention.
  • Keep it short. Educational videos or video abstracts should run between 3 and 4 minutes. Videos for Twitter/Facebook/Instagram should be less than 90 seconds.

Recommendations for Format

  • Title: Do not use the title of the paper/project, and instead simplify and grab attention.
  • Hit the most important information first, and repeat it at the end of the video.


  • Do not use jargon. Keep the language plain.
  • When explaining research or a complex topic, give examples or provide comparisons.
  • A good narrator is key.
  • Use engaging speech, and do not speak too fast or too slow. Practice ahead of time.

Graphic Design and Layout

  • Use narration with attention grabbing images instead of talking heads.
  • Ensure good lighting and sound quality.

Video Abstracts

A video abstract is a brief description of a scientific paper during which the author(s) explains his/her work, demonstrates methods, uses animation/simulation to demonstrate complex concepts, and discusses implication of the findings. Guidelines specific to video abstracts include identifying the key points that need to be part of the video and having a solid plan/outline.

  • Know that you cannot explain the entire project/paper.
  • Make sure narration is clear and that any text is easy to read and language is free of jargon.

Social Media Videos

  • Ideate/brainstorm before filming, study other similar videos, be creative, and have fun.
  • Don't shoot vertical video. Use horizontal framing.
  • Don't use digital zoom. Walk toward the subject.
  • Use an engaging and attention-getting description, quote, or comment.
  • It can be helpful to have subtitles/on-screen text for those who watch but do not listen.
  • The video length depends on the platform. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram videos are generally 90 seconds or less, while YouTube videos tend to be longer.