Accessibility statement

University video guidance

The purpose of this video guidance is to ensure consistent output and use of the University of York brand.

Discuss your video first

Talk through your requirements with the relevant Content Producer or Marketing/Communications Manager in External Relations. You may find there is already a suitable video, or similar work is planned, or that you can commission work jointly. Do not commission any video content without first speaking with your relevant contact. 

Our University of York videographer can help you with video production or advise on your next steps. For social media videos - please let the Social Media Producer (social-media@york.ac.uk) know what you are intending to create so that they can advise on formats, and also determine whether it's suitable for the channels.

 

Essential questions to ask yourself before you start

To get the most out of your video and make sure it's the right length, tone, format, etc. for your channel(s) and audience(s), you need to think about the following at the start of your project:

What is it for?

  • What is the call to action (CTA)? What do we want the audience to think, feel and do? 
  • Remember that the act of watching a video is a bit like a CTA in itself - we’re asking busy people to give up some of their time to watch it. What is their appetite for watching a video? Think about whether they might find it easier to access the information or message in another format.

Who is it for? 

Although we usually like to target our messaging to different audiences as much as possible, videos can take a huge amount of resource so it's worth thinking about how to get the most mileage and biggest potential audience for your video. This is particularly true of videos for social media, where a video may be seen by prospective students, current students, staff, community, etc.

Even if the video is intended for embedding in a more targeted message, eg an email to a particular student group, you may be able to produce a more general video and just tailor the surrounding messaging.

Where will it be used?

  • Different social media channels have different length and format requirements, and some types of video just work better on social media than others.
  • You can get more life out of your video by embedding it in relevant web pages as well as social media - but think about the content already on the page. What is the video adding?
  • Consider doing different edits/cuts for different channels (eg a shorter, square version for Instagram but with a longer version for embedding on a web page). But it's important to know which parts of the content/messaging are intended for use on social media at the outset. 

When will it be used?

We're sometimes guilty of making a video, popping it on social media or a single web page and then moving on to the next project.
  • Produce a distribution plan for your video(s)
  • Don't be afraid to re-share video content at a later date: people often miss social media posts the first time round.
  • Pay attention to the news - your video may become topical and get a second lease of life!
  • Where we have lots of the same type of video all at once (eg vlogs on similar topics), consider having them as unlisted on YouTube to allow for embedding in other comms, but then gradually make them public on YouTube so they don't all appear at once. Or choose a representative sample to make public.

How will you know it has worked?

  • As with all content, define at the start what your success measures are, and make sure you check that your video has met them.
  • Consider the lifespan of your video, and when you will measure its success. Is it intended to be relevant and seen by a large audience right now, or do we want to track it for months/years to make sure it's still performing?

Outsourcing video

In some cases, we may recommend that you outsource your project to an external supplier. 

Recommended suppliers include local agencies Digifish and Hewitt and Walker, who have extensive, recent experience producing University of York video content. 

Basic filming set-up

All video should be filmed at a minimum quality of standard HD at a resolution of 1280x720, wherever possible.

Aspect ratio

Videos produced for the University will usually be filmed in landscape, unless for social media

Settings

Check these basic settings before you start:

  • File format: .mp4 or .mov
  • Resolution (minimum): 1280x720
  • Frame rate: 25fps recommended (check frame rate on recording device)

Producing your video

Visual style

The overall style of content should be similar to other visuals created for University promotional videos. Content should focus on our University community, using simple, interesting, well-lit shots.

Watch examples produced by our University videographer:  

Locations 

Think carefully about where you’ll film participants prior to the shoot. Try to use a visually appealing location, and ensure any unsightly objects, such as bins, aren’t featured in the background.

Filming people 

Aim for an authentic look, with participants looking relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings.   

Shooting on campus

Try and show people interacting with the environment and capture buildings in their best light. 

In the city

Filming in the city can be more difficult than filming on campus due to the variables beyond your control, so consider this when choosing the city as your location. 

Ensure permissions are in place if filming in privately owned businesses or spaces such as the train station or cafes.

Aim for footage that captures the city’s vibrancy, atmosphere and unique characteristics. 

Watch this example of short, engaging social media content:  

@uniofyork

The best spots in york😍 ##uni ##uniofyork ##york ##resultsday2020 ##results ##foryou ##fyp

♬ VICTORY - Steven Cooper

Live recording 

If you have produced video content via live streaming on social media, avoid repurposing these recordings to use elsewhere, if possible. If you require the same footage, consider reshooting so the video can be filmed in a landscape aspect ratio, and can therefore be used more effectively on platforms/channels other than social media. This may also help improve picture and sound quality, which can be affected during live streaming due to possible connection issues - other audio disturbances can be avoided, too. 

Applying University branding

To ensure consistency within University of York video content, all professionally produced videos should apply the same brand elements, which include:

Typefaces and fonts 

All University of York video content should use either Inka or Monsal typefaces. If you do not have access to these fonts, then either Cambria or Calibri can be used.  

Namestraps/lower thirds

Namestraps should be created using a charcoal box either as a solid colour or 90% opacity, as in the example below. Text should be an approved font. Check for subtitles and other YouTube video player elements obscuring name straps eg if they are too low/too long/too small.

    • The first line should be the subject's name (please only use first name for students) and in a bold typeface.
    • The second line should be the subject’s job role/department/course/speciality etc, and should be in a regular typeface.
    • The animation of the namestrap should be faded in/out.

Watch this Covid-19 awareness video as an example of animating a namestrap:

Adding text (not subtitles)

Sometimes you may require a video which has no audio but has music and uses text captions on screen instead. 

Watch the launch of BioYork as an example of creating a video with captions:

Be aware of the placement of the captions, the size and the duration to ensure accessibility for the viewer.

If you have a video of this style for social media, include a transcript or description of the video in text within the post or as a comment. Without audio in the video, visually-impaired users struggle to make sense of what's going on. By adding a transcript, they can use a screen reader to listen.

If using captions on TikTok, you can use the 'text to speech' function. 

Watch our University inclusive crossing video as an example of using a voiceover:

@uniofyork

Check out how we gave this crossing on campus a makeover ##glowup ##makeover ##lgbtq🏳️‍🌈 ##accessibility ##pride ##progressprideflag

♬ DR.J - Timo DeYoung

Be careful not to put the captions too close to the edges of the screen. Also think about where other text appears, for example in the TikTok app you usually need to avoid placing captions in the bottom fifth of the screen and very top. Try not to obscure the detail of the video too. 

Logo animations 

  • There are two downloadable logo animations (long and short). You will need to request access to download the logos and explain the type of video the animation is required for. 

  • The longer logo should be used for most videos. For videos under a minute we would advise the use of the shorter logo.

  • The animated logo should feature either at the start or end of a video – using at the end only may help improve viewer retention. 

  • Social media videos should get to the point as quickly as possible, so only use the logo at the end.

  • If you feel the logo animation should not be used for the video you are creating, or needs to be used in partnership with another organisation, please contact communications-support@york.ac.uk 

Colour

Using audio

To ensure good sound, where possible use an additional mic source other than the mic built into the camera or phone. If anyone is speaking to camera, film them in a quiet location and ensure they can be heard clearly with minimal background noise. 

Take particular care when filming outdoors – audio quality can be significantly impacted by common sounds such as wind or road traffic. 

Music

If you are adding any extra audio to a video, such as music, it should be at a volume that would not distract from any voiceover or interview. 

Watch this example of using a soundtrack behind an interview: 

Select music that is in keeping with the tone and audience of the video – it should complement not distract from the content (see also visual style examples).

You must have also obtained the correct permissions to use any music tracks. These can be purchased or downloaded from royalty-free music websites.  

Live streaming 

If you are live streaming via social media, then having a poor signal can severely affect the sound and picture quality. Ideally connect to a reliable wi-fi network rather than using a mobile connection. If filming on campus, check for, and avoid any blackspots – if you are moving around campus, then factor this into your choice of locations. 

Interviews 

Video should feature engaging people. Try to use participants who are confident and positive. 

For interviews, ask participants to begin their answer by including the question so they make sense even if the question if edited out. For example:

Interviewer: What do you enjoy most about the course?

Student: What I enjoy most about the course is the wide range of modules...

If you are working with an editor, watch through the footage provided by the videographer and record time stamps, so it is clear which clips to remove.

Clothing

Anyone on camera should have suitable clothing and avoid wearing designs with distracting patterns or potentially offensive slogans. Branding on clothing should be kept to a minimum, along with any other form of product placement. 

Background

Consider using a background which is relevant to the person being interviewed – for example, a chemistry student in a lab. If this is not possible, use an interesting shared space. 

 

Accessibility

Subtitles

It is a legal requirement for all University video content to have subtitles so it is accessible to all viewers. Consider adding these manually within the relevant video platform – rather than using auto generated subtitles – to ensure better accuracy. Text should be easy to read and stand out from the background. 

This can be time consuming, so should be factored into your video production schedule/timeline. 

You can find instructions and detailed guidance on subtitles for YouTube and beyond on our wiki pages. 

 

Permissions

When capturing video footage of current staff and students, we do so under the legal basis of legitimate interest. In order to use videos of individuals, you must ensure that you inform them of how their image will be used, and you must give them the opportunity to refuse to have their data used in this way. 

You must create a privacy notice, using the template available and keep a record that you have shared the privacy notice with all of the participants that will feature in your video. Anybody appearing in the video who is not a current member of staff or current student must also fill in the tear-off section of the privacy notice.

For further guidance on permissions please refer to Data Protection's Photography and Video Guidance, and if further assistance is needed contact dataprotection@york.ac.uk

Copyright

Video footage

  • If you would like to include pre-produced video content, then the correct permissions must be obtained.

Who to contact

Related links