Video Standards Guide

1. Introduction

1.1 Online video is extremely popular. It's persuasive, globally available in multiple platforms and It can convey the Lamar University experience — the people and the places — in a way that few other communication vehicles can.

1.2 Video production — planning, filming, editing — can be surprisingly time-consuming, even when the video is short. Before embarking on a video project, determine whether video is the most efficient and effective way to send a message or solve a problem. Will photography work just as well? Can written information get the message across faster? Do you have the time, the staff, the equipment and the software you need to film, edit and produce a video?

1.3 Lamar University’s mission is to “empower students with the skills and knowledge to thrive in their personal lives and chosen fields of endeavor.” Students and employees are encouraged to embrace and utilize video for encouraging and enriching engagement and communication.

1.4 These guidelines must be read and adhered to in conjunction with all other policies provided by Lamar University. 1.5. If video is the best medium for your purposes, review these guidelines to create the best project possible.

2. Legal

2.1 The use of video must follow all applicable state, federal, and university laws, faculty and staff handbooks, regulations, and policies, such as FERPA, HIPAA, and NCAA regulations. Any video content created by university personnel that violates these ordinances, or contains/leads to the release of a student’s private personal information, is strictly prohibited and will be removed.

2.2 FERPA: "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education." (read more…)

2.3 Employees and contractors of Lamar University may not engage in any conversations or post any information regarding student records. Examples of student records include, but are not limited to, names, admission status, GPA, Social Security number, Student ID number, and any/all other information that would be covered by FERPA. All such communication with students or prospective students must be conducted using secure discussion platforms. Direct message applications through social media sites are not considered secure discussion platforms and must not be used as such.

2.4 Protect confidential medical records, as specified by HIPAA: “The Privacy Rule protects all "individually identifiable health information" held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.” Examples of protected information include, but are not limited to: “…the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to the individual, or, the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual, and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe can be used to identify the individual.” (read more...)

2.5 As a video provider of any type, Lamar University employees and students are required to obey the terms of use of all video platforms, and comply with applicable university policies, and applicable laws.

3. Reasons to use video

3.1 There are many reasons to use video to convey your message such as:

  • Document an event
  • Provide a visual demonstration or tutorial
  • Show your program in action
  • Connect with your viewers in an emotional way, using a mix of music, still photography, narration and video communication

4. What you need

4.1 Camera: You can easily spend thousands of dollars on a video camera, but less expensive high-definition (HD) flip cams or DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras are sufficient. In some cases, smart phones are capable of recording HD video.

4.2 Tripod: A tripod is essential for steady shots. One with a “fluid head” is required for panning the camera across a scene.

4.3 Microphone: Sound quality will improve drastically when using an external microphone instead of the camera’s on-board microphone. See the Audio Standards Guide for more information.

4.4 Lights: Shooting indoors will require adequate video lighting equipment.

5. Permissions

5.1 Always obtain a photo / video release form from any individual identifiable in the videos you share. This can be done via written note or email.

5.2 If your video includes photographs, film clips or music, you must comply with all applicable copyright laws. Learn more about using music in your video.

5.3 Where applicable, use the logo that best reflects the image and content being posted. Departmental / divisional, institutional logos are encouraged for posts pertaining to a particular area. The general Lamar University logo can be used, however, if the content pertains to more than one entity, such as recruitment material or campus activities. Refer to the branding style guide for details on correct logo usage.

5.4 You must obtain permission from the University Licensing department and/or the Athletic Licensing department to use the university’s copyrighted or protected marks or names in a video for profit. Royalty fees may apply.

View the Photo/Video Release Form

6. Requirements / Best Practices

6.1 Composition: It is important to decide in advance how you want to compose your shots.

  • Do not have the interviewee look directly into the lens during and interview unless the intent is to directly address the viewer.
  • Avoid cutting off the top of the head when framing a wide shot of interviewees.
  • Avoid too much head room above the subject as well.
  • Do not angle the interviewee to face too far away from the camera
    • When conducting interviews, set the camera on a tripod or have another person hold the camera. Have the interviewer stand directly next to the camera to ask questions.
    • Adjust the camera height so that the lens is level with the subject’s face.

6.2 Outdoor: Shooting outdoors can be challenging at times, but can give your videos a good sense of campus life and environment.

  • Do your not to shoot too much sky, but if it’s necessary, make sure to keep the sky blue and not white and washed out.
  • Position the camera and subject with the sun facing the subject.
  • Avoid using the sun as a harsh backlight.
  • Use a sun reflector to enhance outdoor lighting.

6.3 Indoor: Shooting indoors for interviews is a necessity at times due to many challenges associated with outdoor shooting.

  • Avoid shooting against plain white walls. Relocate interviews to a better-looking location if possible.
  • Avoid mixed light situations where possible. (Ex.: Florescent lighting near a sunlight window, incandescent lighting mixed with LED lighting)
  • Always seek a good composition in relation to your background.
    • Don’t place your subject right against a wall or sign.
    • Allow there to be space between the subject and the background so that the subject doesn’t blend into the background.

6.4 B-Roll: B-roll is footage that you place on top of interviews to visually represent an activity, location, people, scenarios and more to the viewer.

  • Prioritize gathering footage that relates to the story.
  • Avoid staying in the same camera position or sight line for too long. Move around the space and present the subject from a variety of vantage points.
  • Vary shot types, camera angle, focal length and compositions for a more visually appealing segment.
  • Match camera movement and shooting style appropriately to the story’s tone.
    • If the story is fast-paced and upbeat, your b-roll shots should be as well.
    • If your story is more introspective and heartfelt, your b-roll should include slower, longer motions.

6.5 Editing: Much of what will make your video compelling happens through the video and audio editing process. What software you choose will depend on your particular production. Options include:

  • Free programs, such as Movie Maker (from Microsoft) or iMovie (from Apple)
  • Professional programs, such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects, Sony Vegas Pro or Avid Media Composer.
  • The desired length of a video depends on its purpose. For Web-based video, the accepted industry standard length is 2-3 minutes.
  • Videos should end with a Lamar University branded bumper that includes the department, program or university logo, a title, credits and copyright information.

7. Posting and sharing videos

7.1 If you plan to post the video on a website or in social media, you can first upload the video to YouTube and then use the embed code to embed it in your site. This will allow you to track the video’s performance throughout multiple sites and social media platforms. You must adhere to all policies and procedures within LU’s Social Media Policy.

7.2 If the video appeals to a broad Lamar University audience, you may want to share it on the university’s YouTube page and / or social media sites. To submit your video for consideration, fill out the social media request form online.

7.3 Contact the University Marketing Department with any questions or concerns.