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The 8 Science Video Types Every Researcher Should Master

Once upon a time in a bustling university, a group of dedicated PhD students and researchers worked hard in their labs, uncovering groundbreaking findings that had the potential to change the world. And while their data was revolutionary, their groundbreaking work lingered in the shadows, buried under jargon and complex figures, struggling to reach beyond the academic ivory tower.

But then, they stumbled upon the untapped goldmine of science communication through video, a medium that promised to bridge the gap between their research and the public. Therefore, they embarked on a journey to transform their dense papers into captivating stories, using the power of video to illuminate their discoveries and share their knowledge with the world.

Now, it's your turn to explore the goldmine of science video types that can catapult your research into the spotlight.

1. The Thrill of Video Competitions

First up, let's talk about video competitions. Yes, they're a thing, and yes, they're as cool as they sound. From your home institution to global scientific societies, there's a treasure trove of contests begging for your ingenious video submissions. Ever heard of the Visualise Your Thesis Competition? It's like the Olympics for PhD students' videos, and it's just as rewarding.

And hey, winning up to 5,000 euros in the Nature Awards: Science in Shorts isn't too shabby either. And you know what’s useful about competitions? Deadlines. Nothing lights a fire under you quite like a ticking clock ⏰. Participating in—and winning!—a science video competition during my PhD days was the catalyst for my passion for science communication. It's an incredibly rewarding experience that I wholeheartedly recommend!

Need some inspiration? Why not checking out the past winning videos? This one is one of my favourites 👇

2. Video Applications: The New Cover Letter

Competitions aside, let's chat about video applications. Whether it's for that grant you've been eyeing or your dream job, the world's moving away from heavy written applications to dynamic videos. At Animate Your Science, for instance, we ditched written cover letters ages ago.

Why? Because if a picture's worth a thousand words, a video's worth infinitely more. However, bear in mind that not all organisations are riding the wave of innovation; some still prefer traditional methods and might not accept video applications at all. It's crucial to check the submission guidelines of each organisation to ensure your application meets their standards.

Want to see a brilliant example of how a video can land you a score of job offers? Meet Marta and her viral personal intro video 👇

3. Conference Presentations: The Virtual Stage

Ah, the pandemic pivot – while many conferences have eagerly returned to their in-person traditions, a significant number have embraced the virtual format or a hybrid approach. This shift means you could be delivering your next presentation without stepping outside your home. And for those times when life throws a curveball – maybe you're under the weather or out doing fieldwork – a pre-recorded presentation can step in, ensuring your research still hits the spotlight, no matter where you are.

4. Lab and Research Explainer Videos

Think of this as your research's elevator pitch to the world. Whether you're showcasing your lab's world-changing work or explaining your field's biggest questions, a well-crafted explainer video can make your work accessible and intriguing to potential funders, investors, collaborators, students and the public. Such a video shouldn't just be a part of your communication dinner spread; it should be the main dish!

Embed it right at the top of your personal or lab's website, ensuring it's the first thing visitors see. Likewise, pin it as the top post on your social media profiles to capture the attention of your network from the get-go. This strategy ensures your key message is unmissable, amplifying your reach and impact.

Need an example? Check out the video we produced for the Gillanders Lab 👇

5. Social Media: Your Research's Megaphone

From the short videos of TikTok to the in-depth explorations on YouTube, social media is your research's ticket to visibility. Pick your platform, find your voice, and don't be afraid to start small. The key? Just start. Every top account started with 0 followers.

For some inspo see how this climate scientist is doing her bit by informing the public about the latest climate research with her YouTube channel 👇

6. Video Abstracts: The Teaser Trailer

With studies showing a significant boost in citations and engagement for papers with video abstracts, overlooking this tool is akin to bypassing an investment with a high return rate. Sure, it requires some initial effort, but the potential payoff in terms of visibility and impact is immense. Why miss out on that opportunity?

Crafting video abstracts is our specialty, and we're proud of it. Dive into our portfolio with this example we created on the elusive DNA pick-pocket bacterium 🥷. Take a peek here 👇

7. Screen Recording Tutorials: Show, Don't Tell

Ever tried explaining a complex process over email? It's about as fun as watching paint dry. Enter screen recording. Whether it's a new software trick or a data analysis walkthrough, showing how something works beats a lengthy written explanation every time. Plus, it's a gift that keeps on giving, saving you from endless repeat explanations. Get onto the free plan of Loom and thank me later. 😉

8. Video Research Papers

Method papers can often be dense and hard to follow. Video research papers change the game, turning complex procedures into digestible, visual instructions. This not only makes your research more accessible but also easier to replicate, meaning more citations for you 😉. JOVE is the go-to platform for both publishing and discovering these video papers.

So, What's Next?

There you have it, eight types of videos await to transform your academic presence. These insights are designed to lift your work from obscurity to spotlight, inviting engagement and dialogue.

I hope this blog post ignited your enthusiasm for the power of video in science communication. If the thought of creating your own video seems daunting, don't worry. I've condensed over a decade of science communication wisdom into my online course, 'Lights, Camera, Impact! How to Produce Captivating Science Videos.' This course offers a step-by-step approach to crafting videos that can make your research shine.

Take the leap and learn to narrate your scientific discoveries with impact. Enrol in 'Lights, Camera, Impact!' and start your journey to masterful science storytelling.


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