Oxford on iTunes U
Oxford on iTunes U

Making audio and video

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 Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes U) and You Tube.

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.

Please send a request for work with full known details of the event to [email protected]

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 Apple Podcasts site and it has had more than 28 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 contact [email protected]. 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.

The Public Affairs Directorate produces videos for the central pages of the University website. This material is also published on the University’s Apple Podcasts and YouTube sites as appropriate. The Online Media Producers in the web team produce these videos and they tend to focus on admissions information and research outputs.

Please contact our Creative Media Manager Tom Wilkinson for more information and advice.

Oxford University IT Services (including podcasting services) are available to produce videos for departmental and college websites, Apple Podcasts 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 [email protected] for more details.

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 (PDF).
  5. Make sure that you will comply with the GDPR requirements outlined here.
  6. University staff photography and GDPR toolkit (SSO required).

If you plan to use the IT Services podcasting service to make your recording available on Apple Podcasts, 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 Tom Wilkinson or [email protected]

Who do I contact to add existing recordings to Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes U) and Open Spires?

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to add existing audio or video material to Apple Podcasts 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 Apple Podcasts.

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 [email protected] 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?

IT Services organises relevant courses.

Do you provide a live broadcast/streaming service?

The University does offer a service to broadcast live - or 'web cast / stream' - events (e.g. public lectures) online. This service is run by the Educational Media Services. Such a service requires extra resources including staff time and equipment, and our experience suggests that it is effective in reaching a large audience if careful online marketing of the event to a target audience takes place beforehand.

A live broadcast needs a number of tests beforehand to guarantee success, including ensuring that there is sufficient lighting, enough support staff to monitor online discussions, and an initial check that the local network has been tested for bandwidth and bottlenecks.

Educational Media Services is happy to discuss the options available, to show case studies of previous events and provide a guide to making your event a success. Please contact [email protected].

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.

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