Making audio and video

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Audio and video are effective and popular means of communicating with colleagues and external audiences. From audio podcasts of lectures to videos about our research, this material has helped provide an insight into life at the University and brought Oxford thinking to a broader global audience.

As well as featuring on University, department, faculty and college web pages, audio and video material has enabled us to participate in popular platforms including iTunes U and YouTube.

Please refer to the following questions and answers which will hopefully answer any queries you might have, and outline the options available to you if you would like to make audio or video material.

Submit your request for assistance here

What are the benefits of recording audio and video?

Audio and video podcasts have enabled Oxford departments and colleges to reach a broad global audience in an engaging manner.

October 2013 marked the fifth anniversary of the launch of Oxford’s iTunes U site and it has had more than 21.5 million downloads so far.

We are also able to share our audio and video podcasts via Open Spires, which makes this material free for international reuse and redistribution for non-commercial purposes.

These platforms are allowing Oxford to have a global educational impact.

Much of this material has been recorded for free or at a subsidized rate by University staff experienced in recording and editing.

When considering whether to make audio or video material think about what your communication objectives are and who your audiences are. This will help you decide whether audio and/or video are appropriate means of communication for your needs.

I would like to make a recording but I’m not sure which format is best

If your subject matter is very visual, eg the opening of a new building or an exhibition, video is clearly the best option. But video is not always the best option...

If you want to record a lecture or round table discussion that has no visual content beyond the people who are speaking, you might want to consider an audio recording. It is quicker and cheaper to record and edit audio.

If you want to record a video of a lecture because it includes slides or other visual material, you will need to own the copyright for that material or be able to demonstrate that you have permission to use it in a video.

Think about your audiences. Are you hoping to reach lifelong learners listening to your lectures on an mp3 player on the train home from work? Or undergraduate applicants seeking a real insight into your college or course by seeing a video?

I would like to commission an audio recording. Who do I contact and will it cost anything?

If you require assistance to make an audio recording please complete the request for assistance form. Someone will then contact you to discuss your request and provide details about any associated costs.

Colleagues wishing to make their own audio recordings can find out more on our How to podcast web pages.

I would like to commission a video recording. Who do I contact and will it cost anything?

Colleagues within the Public Affairs Directorate and IT Services can assist you. Please see the details below.

av header 6501 - The Public Affairs Directorate produces videos for the central pages of the University website. This material is also published on the University’s iTunes U and YouTube sites as appropriate. The Online Media Producers in the web team produce these videos. Examples are:

Please contact our Online Media Producer Tom Wilkinson for more information and advice.

COST: expenses if any, stock footage/music if required.
Watch the showreel

> Submit your recording request online

For videos promoting Research and Knowledge Exchange activities please email the KEIT team at impacts@admin.ox.ac.uk directly



itunes u banner retina 6502 - Oxford University IT Services (including podcasting services) are available to produce videos for departmental and college websites, iTunes U or Open Spires, or even for a specific audience – for example, to show at a conference. If you are from a department or college and would like assistance to produce a video please complete our online request form at the top of this page.

There will be production costs – filming and editing – for videos made for departments and colleges (except videos made to accompany news stories on the University's homepage), but it will be less expensive than using a commercial company. Contact media@it.ox.ac.uk for more details.

Watch the IT Services showreel

> Submit your recording request online

Guidance on contracts for external companies

If you use an externally contracted company to do the filming of your event we advise that you:

  1. Do it within the University terms of purchase
  2. Ensure that the company will give you a high quality version for archive
  3. Always ensure that the contract favours you and the University in terms of copyright.
  4. Make sure your external companies get their interviewees to sign our standard release form

If you plan to use the IT Services podcasting service to make your recording available on iTunes U, please tell your external contractor that you need a high quality version for archive and a derivative version ( .mp4 - H.264 baseline codec)

For advice about local video providers, contact us at christopher.eddie@admin.ox.ac.uk or podcasts@it.ox.ac.uk

Who do I contact to add existing recordings to iTunes U and Open Spires?

Please contact podcasts@it.ox.ac.uk if you would like to add existing audio or video material to iTunes U or Open Spires.

Please note that audio material needs to be in an mp3 format and video in an mp4 format (h.264 encoding).

Please ensure that you have sought the permission of everyone featured in the recording, including any audience members who can be clearly identified - during a Q&A session for example. The best means of doing this is to inform the audience that the event is being recorded - for example with signs on the doors as they enter the room - and anyone wishing not to be included should indicate this at the start.

Your speaker or interviewee should sign our standard release form

If anyone under the age of 18 is identifiable in your recording you will need their parents' or guardians' permission to publish the recording.

We reserve the right not to publish material that we deem inappropriate, in breach of copyright, or defamatory.

For further information please see our frequently asked questions about iTunes U.

Do you provide video conferencing?

The Media Production Unit’s video conference facility on Worcester Street allows members of the University to hold meetings or interviews with people around the world – an environmentally friendly option that saves travel time and money.There is a room that holds up to 30 people, with HD ISDN and IP video conferencing and a 60" plasma screen. There is also a small room for up to five people, with ISDN and IP video conferencing and a 42" plasma screen. There is also a desk top unit with ISDN and IP as well as iMacs for Cisco webex or Skype. All facilities come with full technical support and set-up so all you need to do is turn up.To book please contact media@it.ox.ac.uk

Who do I contact in order to access archive footage of the University?

Stock footage of Oxford is available from our new image library. University members receive a 50% discount when buying: http://www.oxforduniversityimages.com

The Media Production Unit also manages an archive of historic video footage about the University. This material will soon be available in on online archive, but in the meantime if you seek such material you can contact karen.carey@it.ox.ac.uk A basic text based catalogue can be accessed on the MPU premises via appointment only. It should be noted that some of the footage is subject to copyright restrictions.

Is there any other guidance you can offer me about engaging audiences using new technology?

We recommend a short training session run by IT Services for any University colleagues interested in podcasting.

IT Services also organises other relevant courses. Please search under 'm' for 'multimedia'.

The University's web team has produced guidance about how to create web pages. And IT Services has produced guidance about how IT can be used more broadly to engage audiences and enhance the impact of teaching and research.

You might also like to subscribe to our free e-newsletter which includes information about our services and facilities, and digital media projects around the University. 

Do you provide a live broadcast/streaming service?

Unfortunately the University does not offer a service to broadcast live - or 'stream' - events (eg public lectures) online. Such a service requires considerable resources including staff time and equipment, and previous experience suggests that it is no more effective in reaching a larger audience than live blogging or using Twitter.

We recommend that members of the collegiate University consider carefully the benefits of a live broadcast compared with the costs and time involved. Any potential live broadcast needs a number of tests beforehand to guarantee success, including ensuring that there is sufficient lighting, enough support staff to monitor microphones and cameras, and that the local network has been tested for bandwidth and bottlenecks.

Commercial services are available and the Media Production Unit is happy to discuss the options available. Please contact media@it.ox.ac.uk

For a broadcast to an exclusive group of viewers, such as research partners, then it is possible to use video conference facilities or a web seminar