How to make a science video

Entering the University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year Video Competition? Get across these tips so your video stands out from the crowd!

For the competition, you’ll need to make a 2-5 minute science video on an environmental problem or solution to win $500 for yourself and $1000 for your school!

Got your idea? Excellent! Here’s how to turn it into a winning video…

Tip #1 – plan your content

Your video topic is extremely important and you need to decide on the best way to communicate it. Will you stand in front of the camera and present with visual aids (like posters and graphs), create an animation, or narrate over a PowerPoint presentation or infographics? Maybe you’d like to do a mix of all of these, or something else entirely.

Once you’ve got that part sorted, it’s time to storyboard your idea. Start by writing your script, keeping in mind the video should be 2-5 minutes long – you can use a words to minutes speech calculator like this one to help you out.

Remember to fact-check your script too. It goes without saying that accuracy is crucial in a science video.

Then create your storyboard. A storyboard is a shot-by-shot visual plan that shows what your video will look like. You can keep it super simple by creating a two column table in a program like Microsoft Word, with one column for your script (broken into parts or scenes), and the other for a quick sketch of what will be on screen as you speak (that could be you doing a piece-to-camera, a slide with stats, or footage of real science in action).

Your storyboard is your action plan and will help you as you go about filming your science video.

How to make a science video - storyboard

Tip #2 – sharpen your presenting skills

Before you create your science video, be sure to practise:

  • Speaking in a clear, confident voice
  • Speaking at a good pace (not too fast or too slow) so you’re easily understood
  • Conveying appropriate emotions. Think about your tone and avoid boring monotone!
  • Ditching “umms” and “ahhhs” by sticking to your script
  • Maintaining eye contact with the camera
  • Using gestures to emphasise your points and ideas

Tip #3 – sort your tech

You can film your video using whatever you’re most comfortable with – your phone, a tablet, a computer, or with a camera and microphone.

For this competition, you’ll need to shoot in landscape mode.

Keep your device as steady as possible while filming (tripods are handy for this if you can get your hands on one) so your footage isn’t shaky.

Be mindful of your framing – if you’re presenting to camera, make sure you’re on camera! If you’re zooming in on physical props or visuals aids, double check the footage is in focus.

Good audio is also key, so minimise background noise and don’t sit too close to the microphone while you’re speaking.

And remember the lighting! You’ll need to get the right balance of light on your face as you’re presenting to the camera, as well as anything else you’re showing in the video. Soft, cool hues work best. You’ll want to reduce shadows too. Point multiple lights around you, and avoid back-lighting from harsh light sources, as well as sitting in front of a window. You should also close the blinds or curtains in the room you’re filming in as daylight can be variable.

How to make a science video - lighting

Tip #4 – editing

Editing is an awesome way to bring content together, especially if you have a bunch of different footage.

It’s up to you what type of video editing software is best for your work, but we recommend After Effects, Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro. They all offer free trials.

Other free options include Apple iMovie (for Mac and iPhone) and the Windows Photos app (for PC). We also like Adobe Premiere Rush, available for free on PC and Mac, plus iOS and Android phones.

Another thing to keep in mind while you’re in editing mode is accessibility. An accessible video can be helpful to everyone, but can be critical for people with disabilities.

You should:

  • Add captions to your video and include text descriptions of the words being spoken, plus music or sounds in the background. The aim is to provide the same level of deets as someone would get from hearing the audio.
  • Make sure any text in your video is easy to read – consider font size and the length of time the text is on the screen.
  • Use colours thoughtfully and with good contrast
  • Avoid fast-flashing content – that’s anything with more than three flashes within a period of one second, according to the Bureau of Internet Accessibility.

Tip #5 – exporting

When your masterpiece is complete, you’ll need to export it from your video editing software and upload this to your own YouTube or Vimeo channel and send us the link with your entry.

Happy video making!

Now you’re a pro on how to make a science video, head over to the University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year Video Competition page to enter.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.


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