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Video Guidelines

Online video is popular. It's persuasive. It's globally available in multiple platforms. It can convey the Mizzou experience — the people and the place — in a way that few other communications vehicles can. 

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?

If video is the best medium for your purposes, review these tips to create the best project you can.

Reasons to use video

  • 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.

What you need

  • Camera: You can easily spend thousands of dollars for a video camera, but less expensive flip cams — and even smart phones — are now capable of recording high-definition (HD) video.
  • Tripod: Essential for steady shots. A tripod with a “fluid head” will be necessary for panning the camera across a scene.
  • Microphone: Your sound quality is likely to improve markedly with the use of an external microphone. More about audio.
  • Lights: For shooting indoors, adequate video lighting is essential.


  • Use the university release forms to obtain written permission from the individuals appearing in your video. All subjects should complete and sign a release form.
  • If your video includes photographs, film clips or music, you must comply with copyright laws. Learn more about using music in your video.
  • All audio and video recording in a university classroom must conform the University of Missouri System's policy regarding protecting the sanctity of the classroom. Carefully read the UM System executive order from the president's office.
  • You must obtain permission from Licensing and Trademarks to use the university’s copyrighted or protected marks or names in a video for profit. Royalty fees might be incurred.


  • Do not have the interviewee look into the lens.
  • Avoid cutting off the top of the head when framing a wider shot.
  • Do not angle the interviewee too far into profile.
  • Avoid BTFs (Big Talking Face).
  • Avoid low and high angle shots.
  • Avoid using too much headroom.

B-Roll guidelines

  • 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 lengths and compositions.
  • Bracket for static shots/camera movement, speed of camera moves, and exposures.
  • Match camera movement and shooting style appropriately to the story’s tone.

Outdoor interview guidelines

  • Keep the sky blue.
  • Position camera and subject with the sun facing the subject.
  • Avoid using the sun as a harsh backlight.
  • Use a reflector to enhance outdoor lighting.

Indoor interview guidelines

  • Avoid plain white walls. Relocate interview to a better-looking location if possible.
  • Avoid mixed light situations where possible. (EX: tungsten interview light w/sunlight in background)
  • Always seek a good composition in relation to your background.

Editing and sharing

  • 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. The options include:
    • Free programs, such as Movie Maker (from Microsoft) or iMovie (from Apple)
    • Professional programs, such as Final Cut Pro
  • The desired length of a video depends on its purpose. For Web-based video, the accepted industry standard length is 2-3 minutes.
  • University of Missouri videos should close with an MU branded bumper that includes the stacked MU logo, a title, credits and copyright information.
  • 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.
  • If the video appeals to a broad Mizzou audience, you might want to share it on TheMizzouTube, Mizzou's official central YouTube channel. Learn more.
  • Consider submitting a copy of your video production to University Archives as a historical record of the university. University Archives collects publications produced by MU offices and departments and makes them available for public research. University Archives accepts any high-quality digital video format. Contact for submission instructions and more information.

Audio guidelines