University Marketing & Communications


Video Content in Online Marketing and Communications at the UW

Across all three campuses, units have found that the use of video content enhances their teaching, online marketing and Web experience. Use of video content ranges widely in subject matter, production value and channels of distribution.

Use of Video at the UW

The desire to use video and the ability to quickly and cheaply produce video is increasing throughout the university community. Video is currently being used in the classroom to preserve lectures and guest speakers. Special events, like public lecture series, symposia and topical panel discussions, are also captured for broadcast or streaming video on demand. Video is being used for holiday greetings, newsletter features and short interviews with UW experts. Media Relations and Communications produced a large collection of campus scenes, including aerial views, for use in enriching other video productions. They are currently available through UWTV, but may be available on the Web in the future. MR&C also produces a quarterly video message titled “Office Hours” for President Emmert; worked with Provost Wise on a series of six videos explaining the UW’s mission, vision and values; and produced a compilation to welcome new employees.

Distribution channels

Distribution channels are widely varied. UWTV and the Research Channel produce and distribute lectures, special events like the Dalai Lama’s visit and original programming for UW Medicine. Content from UWTV and multiple units is shared with the public through the UW’s iTunes U site and a YouTube channel. Many units also have their own YouTube channels. Video clips are gaining popularity in departmental online newsletters and e-mail promotions. Video clips are used in training and distance learning by facilities, educational outreach and other central units. Video clips are also used on the UW and President Emmert Facebook pages.

Production values and producers

Production values for video created at the UW and the costs of production cover quiet a wide range. UWTV produces high-definition, TV quality productions. At the other end of the spectrum are short low-definition clips done with pocket video cameras and cell phones. Output forms include: Quicktime, Flash and Windows Media Player. Video producers include UWTV professionals, hired agencies and production companies, UW staff with production backgrounds, student producers and editors. Among the UW leaders in producing video are UWTV Production, dxarts and the Master of Communications in Digital Media program.

Equipment and post-production facilities

UWTV has four professional editing suites, talented editors and production crews, and a complete soundstage with lighting grid

Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) has several Final Cut Pro editing stations, available to students

Editing stations and a sound mixing facility are available in Odegaard Library and Mary Gates Hall, managed by Catalyst

Catalyst also provides training in audio and video production

Video cameras, tripods and sound equipment are available to students at Classroom Support Services

MCDM provides graduate-level instruction in digital media production and the business of filmmaking

Positives and negatives

Video is a rich storytelling medium. The popularity of video in Web applications and marketing is expanding rapidly, and it is getting easier to do without specialized skills. It also is becoming more and more accepted, especially when the content is “user generated” or looks like it.

However, it is not for everyone, and has little application for the blind and deaf. Closed captioning and screen readers can provide some enhancements to the experience, but it is clearly a visual medium. Video files can be very large and hard to download for people with dialup modems and slow computers.

Recommendations for use

Video can be used in many kinds of situations to enhance the viewer’s experience. Short news clips, interviews with experts, lectures and other events and campus life scenes are just a few opportunities. The barriers to entry are low – newsletter editors can add video to electronic publications without a large capital outlay and with desktop editing software. Consider video when the subject of the interview is photogenic and has something interesting to say that will be stronger in visual form than in print.

So, you want to get started?

  • Take time to carefully define the project, the audience and the distribution medium – is this for broadcast, Web site, YouTube?
  • Write a brief description of the project, including locations, talent and the creative tone of the production.
  • Contact UWTV Production if the project involves broadcast, live streaming or high-level production values and complexity.
  • If the production is a lecture or event, will you need to record speakers at the lectern? If so, work with Classroom Support for connections to the sound system in the auditorium.
  • If your production is for the Web or digital distribution, grab your movie camera and script and get going!
  • Editing the video you have captured is possible on a number of software platforms like Windows Moviemaker and Apple iMovie. Follow the program instructions to make your movie. If you get stuck, ask one of the Catalyst digital gurus at Mary Gates Hall or Odegaard Library.