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Video Submission Guidelines

Box of tools is a community that aims at making our lives better through learning and inspiration from various media and shared inspirational stories. You are welcome to be part of the family where we inspire and bring relief to our community.  The videos published to the Box of tools library are intended to be a reflection of our values.

Videos published in the BOX OF TOOLS library must:

  • Respect the box of tools trademark.
  • Be in line with Box of Tools aims, objectives and values.
  • Be original.
  • Have observed copyright regulations and the source of the content should be clear
  • Not infringe on any third-party rights (logos, music, intellectual property, etc.). Graphics overlay or any external sourced content must be indicated and licensed, and remains liable to the author of the video.
  • Be in English or Kiswahili(videos in Kiswahili should have subtitles)
  • The video should be 10 minutes or less in length unless you are expressly instructed by our editorial board/administrator to do a longer video for a certain topic.
  • Include submitters contact information: Name, company name, city, state, website, e-mail and phone number.
  • Not have explicit or disturbing content for consumers.
  • Be free of spam, advertising, and discrimination of any kind
  • Each video should cover only one topic which will be the Box of Tools monthly theme instructed by the editorial board/administrator.  
  • Not include any third parties, including minors, celebrities and friends, who have not expressly authorized the submitter to display his/her image or likeness in a submitted video. (Pay attention to the rules regarding the minors; you will need their parents’ consent.)
  • Include or attach (as a Word document) a 100-word write-up about the video topic.
  • Be submitted to videos@boxoftools.com

Video Submission Guidelines

Introduction

This guide applies to the preparation of digital video for submissions to all of the Box of Tools avenues where videos are accepted.

Technical Prerequisites

Size

For a video to be included in the Box of Tools Library, its final data size must be 250 MB or less. All video figures must adhere to this limit. Kindly review your final file before submission to ensure that it does not exceed this limit.

Format

The editorial board/administrator requires MP4 encoding using the H.264 codec for your digital video submission. Most video editing software provides an exporting option to MP4/H.264, for example iMovie, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro. If you prefer to use free software, x264 can encode any video into H.264. If you compress your video with unusual software or codec you risk the distinct possibility that the editorial board/administrator will neither be able to watch your clip nor adjudicate it on its merit for purposes of approval to the Box of Tools library. Box of Tools does not accept analog (videotape) submissions, software applications (.exe files), or digital video clips requiring a specific computing platform or additional software to play.

We strongly recommend Visuals to be Recorded  in a 16:9 aspect ratio (720p = 1280×720 and above) Adjust the recording area to screen capture only the area needed for the tutorial and to make sure all the mouse movements are captured. Avoid showing any part of your desktop or other icons/programs that are on your computer in the screen capture that is unrelated to the tutorial or illustration.  Encode your video using square pixels for the pixel aspect ratio to avoid your movie looking stretched when projected.

We recommend clear and crisp Audio Quality in your video hence a good quality microphone is advised. Audibility will be a plus for the video content.

Duration

Shorter videos are generally recommended. The video should be 10 minutes or less in length unless you are expressly instructed by our editorial board/administrator to do a longer video for a certain topic.

Identification

Please remember to review the meta-data properties of your digital file and insert appropriate identifying comments: author, title, and a brief description of the video. Authors retain copyright of videos but Box of Tools requires that you sign an agreement allowing Box of Tools to distribute the material. Do not add editorial or self-promotional comments. Additionally, do not introduce yourself, no advertising, production logos/credits, or lower-thirds graphics in the video.  Graphics overlay or any external sourced content must be indicated and licensed, and remains liable to the author of the video.

This section contains guidelines and hints for those who are new to video production, particularly in creating videos for the Box of Tools. None of the following suggestions are requirements.

PLANNING the video

The script; A written plan about what you will need to record during the activity is very useful in order to prepare the actual recording and further editing of the final video product. Having a schedule of the planned activity and thinking about what you expect to happen in each of the moments in terms of dynamics and interaction with the participants will help you choose beforehand those parts worth paying more attention to for recording.

The storyboard; A graphic plan of the scenes you would like to capture in your video might be useful. A storyboard is essentially a large comic of the video or some section of the video produced beforehand to help you visualize the scenes and their sequence in the video. You can try to make a storyboard using online tools like: http://www.storyboardthat.com/

SHOOTING the video

The recording; First of all make sure to have a video camera and that you are comfortable to work with it. You can go through its main functions and practice how to record, pause, zoom in and out, etc. Record in the highest possible quality and resolution, even though you will compress the final video. Keeping the camera stable and level is vital. Tripods are a low-cost way to get the most out of your camera; use a tripod whenever possible or even better a stabilizer. Remember that camera jiggles are more apparent in telephoto shots; take extra care in zooms and close-ups. Contemporary hi-definition web-cameras are suitable for over-the-shoulder shoots. In general, in your video, you might want to have:

  • Shots of the beginning and end moments
  • Shots of the key moments of the activity
  • Group and individual shots
  • Close-up-s with the participants
  • Shots with details of the people (hands, eyes), of objects (games, pen, glasses, …)
  • Do not try to capture the whole duration of the activity in video. For the general documentation in general, you should take short shots lasting around 1-2 minutes. Take at least 2 or 3 shots of each of the main moments/details you want to include in your video. Particularly for interviews, you might need:
  •  Close-up-s with the interviewee
  • Shots of the interviewer while asking questions to the interviewee
  • For the interviews you should capture the whole duration of the interviews.

You need at least one camera that is close enough to the interviewee in order to get a clear audio recording of the dialogue. Ideally is to have 2 cameras: one focused on the interviewee and recording the entire interview, one that can move and take close-up shots and shots of the interviewee and interviewer together, that can be included in the video interview later during post-production editing in order to give dynamism to the video. In general, try to take shots from different perspectives, using different camera angles (left, right, up, down). You might find yourselves recording situations or moments that were not initially planned in your script or storyboard, but that could represent real TV gold moments that you would like to include in your video. You can always update your storyboard. Remember to ask for the consent for filming of the people that might be captured in your video and pay attention to the rules regarding the minors; you will need their parents’ consent.  

 PRODUCING the video

Editing; video editing is the process of manipulating and rearranging video shots to create new work. Editing is usually considered to be one part of the post production process — other post-production tasks include titling, color correction, color grading, sound mixing, etc. Many people use the term editing to describe all their post-production work. It means the following:

  • Rearranging, adding and/or removing sections of video clips and/or audio clips.
  • Applying color correction, color grading, filters and other enhancements.
  • Creating transitions between clips.

Maintain the quality of the original recording throughout the editing process; leave compression to the last step.

Remove unwanted footage

This is the simplest and most common task in editing. Many videos can be dramatically improved by simply getting rid of the flawed or unwanted bits.

Choose the best footage

It is common to shoot far more footage than you actually need and choose only the best material for the final edit. Often you will shoot several versions (takes) of a shot and choose the best one when editing. From all the footage that you will have gathered try to select those parts that are more relevant to your script and storyboard.

Create a flow

Most videos serve a purpose such as telling a story or providing information. Editing is a crucial step in making sure the video flows in a way which achieves this goal.

Add effects, graphics, music etc…

This is often the “wow” part of editing. You can improve most videos (and have a lot of fun) by adding extra elements.

Alter the style, pace or mood

A good editor will be able to create subtle mood prompts in a video. Techniques such as mood music and visual effects can influence how the audience will react.

Give a particular “angle”

Video can be tailored to support a particular viewpoint, impart a message or serve an agenda.

FINE-TUNING the video

The transition

The way in which any two video shots are joined together is called the transition. Transitions are very important — everyone from the camera operator to the editor must have a good understanding of how to make effective transitions. The most common transition is the cut, in which one shot changes instantly to the next. The next most common transition is the cross fade (AKA mix or dissolve), where one shot gradually fades into the next. Transitions can be a lot of fun but be warned: Over-using transitions is a common mistake made by amateurs. In most professional productions, almost all transitions are simple cuts or cross fades. Too many animated transitions are distracting and impact on the flow of the video.

To remember

Timing is everything: Your video should last no longer than 10 minutes. Remember to include an initial cover of your video that introduces your video.

Audio Basics

Audio quality is as important as image quality to the overall impact of your video. Try to avoid recording the noise of computer fans and disks. It is generally better to record the audio separately, by doing a voice-over in a studio or other quiet room.

A decent-quality microphone will make a huge difference in your recording quality relative to a typical computer microphone. A large-diaphragm condenser microphone will generally be best for recording voiceovers

Avoid holding a microphone in your hand while recording; support it with a microphone stand. A hand-held microphone will inevitably lead to uneven volume in the recording.

If it is important to hear key clicks or computer audio output (beeps), record these on a separate audio track, and mix them with the voice-over in your editing software. Similarly, if you are adding music to the video, place it on a separate track, so it will be easy to fade out music when narration begins, etc.

You can add a voice-over audio track to explain what is happening in the video. Make sure that the discussion is synchronized with the action on the screen…

Voice narration can assist in conveying your video’s message. Usually the most realistic and convincing advocate of an idea is the person responsible for the work being reported. However, you may wish to use someone with a very clear and understandable voice.

Recording Computer Screens

Because of incompatibilities of resolution, refresh rate, and interlacing, it can be difficult to get good shots of computer screens on video. As such, we highly recommend recording video of a computer screen using screen capture software, such as Camtasia or SmartPixel.

Using a flat-panel LCD video monitor often leads to best results when filming a computer screen. Use a resolution that lets you capture text, lines, colors and animations accurately.

Other ways to capture a screen is using screen-capturing software. For Windows users, CamtasiaCamstudio, and MS Expression Encoder are known to produce acceptable screen captures. For OSX, the Quicktime player already has a Screen Recording feature.

If you are using screen capture software, make sure that it is able to capture the screen at a satisfactory frame rate and does not affect the performance of your application. Most software can capture the whole screen or a specific area such as a window. Since performance is often affected by the size of the area being captured, you should try to focus the capture on the area of interest. This will also reduce the artifacts if you later compress and rescale the image. Finally, remember that screen capture only captures the screen: you may want to add wider shots taken with a camcorder to show the user interacting with the system; you should also consider adding click sounds when the user clicks the mouse to make such interactions more explicit (some capture software can do that automatically).