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3 key benefits of using science videos for effective engagement

Engaging your audience with a science video

As Finkler & Leon cleverly phrased it in their JCOM article, we’re undeniably living in the screen age. Live action films, Netflix series, YouTube videos, and trendy social media shorts are likely among the most common things that occupy your screens—whether it’s from the comfort of your couch or simply from the convenience of your fingertips.

And once you start, few dare to stop at just one video.

You click the next episode. 😖 You find a playlist. 😲 You SUBSCRIBE for more. 🤩

With over 80% of all internet traffic being owed to video consumption, you only need to ride the current to make waves on the web. But when it comes to communicating science and your research, video is still an under-utilised academic tool with so much untapped potential for continued, sustained engagement.

So researchers, let’s face it. You need a science video. 🎥

In this blog post, let’s discuss why creating a science video will give you the edge you need to engage real people with real science. 👇

1. Science videos inspire an early love for science

I loved watching Blue Planet growing up. Despite the documentary being released all the way back in 2001, the memory of watching it on TV in my Simpsons pyjamas will stay permanently ingrained in my brain. For one, I’ll never forget the cinematic storytelling and heated action of a leopard seal chasing its prey in frigid Antarctic waters. Simply unforgettable! But while I cared little for the jargon as small child, I’ll always remember David Attenborough’s iconic voiceover that told a story of epic proportions.

Kid watches Blue Planet in the early 2000s vector illustration

Now I’m not saying you need a documentary and a whole film crew for communicating your science. But you can definitely evoke the same feeling of awe and inspiration with a well-structured story, perhaps even for kids. Check out our storytelling tips for scientists to transform even the driest topics into a story akin to a leopard seal’s chase.

Once you’ve got a story, that’s basically your script for a video or animation!

2. Science videos boost memory retention and evoke emotional responses

Science videos capitalise on something we call the multimedia effect—where the combination of visual and auditory information actually enhances understanding and memory retention. In other words, the more of the 5 senses we stimulate, the better we remember something. In fact, research in high school pedagogy shows that when information is presented both visually and verbally, learners retain more of the content and can recall it faster than text alone. Wow, right? 🤯

Multimedia effect vector illustration. Science videos communicate information audiovisually.

But science videos are not just about learning; they’re about eliciting emotions too. People today will recall that the ‘mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell’, not because of the cell biologist Philip Siekevitz who coined the phrase in 1957, but because it’s become a funny silly meme phrase that gets circulated everywhere; video included. Science-focused social media accounts, like this one, are particularly great at sharing science with funny memes and shortform videos. So go out there and make memes, documentaries, or anything you like in video format!

3. Science videos can drive real-world action

You and I both know it: your science could have a greater impact on society. But sadly, science that is stuck in your thesis will forever be stuck in your thesis.

But what if there was a better way to unleash your impact?

This is where your very own science video can be your saving grace, and here’s a few ways you could use them:

In a media release

There are many good reasons why you should write a media release for your papers. They’re effectively a doorway from your lab to the public space, and journalists love featuring timely research to create a great story.

Now, having a video abstract embedded in your media release takes it to a whole other level. A video abstract is a GOLDMINE for journalists, as they’re always looking for short, digestible summaries of topical research topics that they can easily feature in news articles.

Go on, entice the media with a video abstract. 😉

In a research grant application

Have you ever heard of videos being used in grant applications? While still rare, some funding bodies such as the NIH are slowly letting go of tradition and are embracing digitisation by permitting video attachments. Videos can make your proposal more understandable and memorable to funders which is crucial for influencing their decisions. Though, some different organisations may allow only certain kinds of video content, such as short clips demonstrating methods or ideas that can only be conveyed with motion over time. Always check your grant application guidelines if a video is permitted in their submission standards, and look out for what can or can’t be submitted.

But in cases where you can’t submit a video in your application, not all is lost. We would instead recommend adding a Public Outreach section to your overall proposal, which of course can involve video production! Funding bodies love to see well-rounded research projects that focus not only on lab-based science, but also your research’s impact on the broader community.

Science videos being used in a successful research grant application

And in a myriad of other ways! (seriously there’s a lot of ways)

Conveniently, we’ve written about 8 different video types that researchers should master, so that you can dust off your science and give it some brand new polish.

Time to get on it; there’s little excuse not to! 🚀

It’s time to create that science video!

Now that the benefits have been laid on the table, it’s time to get that tape rolling. But how do you go about creating your own engaging science video?

Here at Animate Your Science, we’ve got you covered with two pathways towards having your own video. 👇

Enrol in our online course

Lights, Camera, Impact! How to produce captivating science videos

In just 3 hours of self-paced learning, award-winning science communicator Dr. Tullio Rossi shares over a decade of video-making experience into his newest online course ‘Lights, Camera, Impact’. From writing compelling scripts to mastering beginner-friendly software, our new online course will equip you to become a confident video creator.

Enrol today and gain the timeless skills of video production that will elevate your professional journey.

Online course about creating science videos

Enlist our professional services

Animation has been our forte since 2017, and we’ve created hundreds of animated videos to communicate science for researchers, governments and more. From animations on AI-powered robots to the latest in biomedical breakthroughs, our team of PhD-trained science communicators and professional artists will transform your work into a compelling and captivating production.

Get in touch today and partner with us to Unleash Your Impact!



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