Video Production Guide

Here's what you need to know if you are planning, creating or sharing video.

This guide is intended for members of the Washington University School of Medicine community and third-party vendors hired by university faculty and/or staff.

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The power of video

Video has the potential to connect with viewers in ways other formats can’t.

Further reading
The growth of video marketing and why your business needs it

Given video’s  popularity, it can be an excellent medium through which to tell your story, whether it’s demonstrating an amazing discovery, sharing a patient’s gratitude or recruiting the next great faculty member, student or trainee.

Creating an effective video

Effective videos are interesting and engaging and often tell personal stories. Things to keep in mind when creating a video:


The subject, or topic, of a video may include:

  • Faculty/staff/student profiles
  • Medical/research breakthroughs
  • Scientific explanations
  • Medical, research, educational or community outreach program descriptions

Tone and voice

A voice that is authentic, friendly, informative and instructive is more engaging for audiences than one that is pedantic or monotone.


The length of the video isn’t as important as the content; people will watch if it is a compelling story.

For social media channels, research shows hooking an audience within the first 10 seconds is very important. Keep in mind some social media platforms limit the length of posted videos, so a good general guideline is between 1 to 3 minutes.

Social media video length limits

  • Instagram: 1 minute
  • Twitter: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Branding: What sets us apart

Washington University is a community where people matter and serious work is done.

Our brand is much more than logos and colors. It is what we stand for and how we distinguish ourselves. Every video – every communication – reinforces our brand’s key attributes, from the stories we tell to the look, feel and tone we use to tell them.

  • Leaders: We are national leaders backed by a long history of innovation in research, education and patient care.
  • Driven: We are driven by our mission to advance human health.
  • Innovative: We work across disciplines to define the leading edge, developing solutions for the future.
  • Personal: We are a supportive, diverse community that works together toward great accomplishments.
  • Inclusive: We are committed to building a diverse and equitable campus community where all are welcome.

Visual brand elements

See the Visual Brand Guide (pdf) for more information on each of the elements below.


All videos must contain the School of Medicine or Washington University Physicians logo on a white background at the end of the video. Please apply a white transition from the last video clip to the logo and hold for 5 seconds. A file with this animation is available from WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications upon request. Logo lockups with the department, program or office name are also available. Please contact us for further assistance.


Two brand fonts are preferred for video text and accents:

  • Source Sans Pro: Preferred for onscreen text
  • Libre Baskerville: Acceptable for onscreen accents

These fonts are open source — freely available and usable without licensing fees — and can be downloaded from UM&C’s website.

For font sizes, please refer to the “on-screen text” section of this guide.


The standard brand colors are red with gray accents. Formulas for the brand colors are available in the Visual Brand Guide (pdf).


For onscreen interviews, position the subject’s face at the intersection of a grid dividing the screen into thirds (following the “Rule of Thirds“). This creates space to the left or right of the subject, allowing the person to “look into” the frame, and lends a more natural appearance to the shot. Avoid centering the subject in the frame. See example below.

Video consent/release forms

  • Students, faculty and staff (Washington University): Consent is not required to film. As a courtesy, please advise participants of the purpose of the video shoot.
  • Members of the general public: Must sign a media consent form.
  • Patients (or parents/guardians): Must sign a HIPAA release form.

Send the original of any consent form to us:

  • WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications
    Washington University School of Medicine
    MS 8508-29-12700
    660 S. Euclid Ave.
    St. Louis, MO 63110-1010
  • Campus mail: CB 8508

Endorsing products

As a matter of practice, the university does not permit faculty or staff to endorse third-party organizations of any kind through the use of its names, identities, logos or images – including pictures of campus buildings. Not-for-profit organizations that would like to use the university’s name and identities also must obtain written authorization. Learn more about the university’s commercial use policies.

Intellectual property rights

Explicit written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder before including copyrighted material in any video.

  • Music: Use royalty-free music or purchase a licensing agreement. Also credit the music, if required.
  • Stock photos/animation: Do not use any third-party images or animation without first securing all necessary rights, permissions and licensing agreements.

Film crew and vendor permissions/credentialing

Please contact WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications prior to scheduling any media, film crews or video vendors to perform services on the premises of Washington University Medical Center or any related university properties. Crews must obtain temporary credentials and IDs and have an official School of Medicine escort set up prior to any work in campus buildings.

In patient care areas, including both inpatient and outpatient settings you must obtain advance permission to film or shoot photos. This is particularly important when filming in spaces administered by our affiliates or partners, such as operating rooms and clinical service areas operated by Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital for Children, The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, as well as the Center for Advanced Medicine and Center for Outpatient Health.

WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications must coordinate with the appropriate hospital partner contacts for those many instances during which crews or vendors wish to film in hospital spaces.

Please contact Judy Martin Finch with any questions:

Judy Martin Finch

Production considerations


You may want to portray distinctive features of the medical center and the St. Louis region. Look for opportunities to showcase specialized facilities, inviting environments and remarkable places. See permissions section for further guidelines.


Light provides emotional impact. The appearance of natural daylight offers the highest fidelity to colors and tonal contrasts, especially when accenting subtle skin tones. Supplement the scene with reflected or additional artificial fill light to avoid harsh shadowing and overly contrasted faces.


Capturing high-quality audio is just as important as the video. The medical campus is a noisy and bustling place that can present challenges for your project. Choosing the right location and microphone will make a big difference.  For interviews, use a lavalier neatly clipped on the subject or an off-camera boom microphone that is positioned close to the source. Avoid relying solely on the camera’s built-in microphone. Learn more about using a lavalier microphone and positioning a boom microphone.

Campus (b-roll) footage

WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications may be able to assist you with supplemental footage of many common School of Medicine elements such as the exterior of buildings, an aerial view of campus and generic footage of activities related to the School’s research, patient care and education missions.


With the assistance of your video consultant (see “getting help with your video” section below), you may select music to enhance your work by creating a specific mood and helping to tell a story that is engaging and inspiring. Note that you must credit music, if necessary.


We recommend against using voice over; it is always best to have your participants tell the story in their own voices. But if you choose to do voice over, make sure the voice is clear and easy to understand.

On-screen text

Person’s name and role/description

  • Identify people by their full name and degree. Instead of titles, use minimal descriptive text to identify who the person is and why they matter to the story.
  • Avoid formal academic or administrative titles, as these may be wordy and meaningless to audiences outside the university.
  • Instead, use a short description of the person’s role at the university, such as “First-year medical student” or “Neurologist.”

Font, size and color

Use the brand fonts for video; details and download information are provided in the visual brand section of this guide.

Text should be high contrast with its background — appearing as white against a dark background, or black or dark gray against a light background — to ensure accessibility for most audiences.

  • Name: Source Sans Pro, semi-bold, 80 pt
  • Description/role: Source Sans Pro, semi-bold, 50 pt

Sizes are for Adobe Premiere.



Animation may be helpful to explain a complex scientific process or provide life to a story.

All graphics and elements used in an animation should be free from copyright. When using stock imagery, read all release information and make sure that there is no conflict with the rights of use for that particular animation. You may need to obtain a copyright release stating Washington University may use the animation anywhere we choose from vendors you hire to create designs for animation.

File format/size

.mp4 is preferable in landscape (16:9 aspect ratio) with a minimum target bitrate of 10Mbps. And text should be legible at a minimum 400 x 300 resolution.

Closed captioning

For accessibility purposes and since social media video audiences often have their audio off, it is important to make sure all videos are captioned. You can generate a .srt caption file using a Text Editor application or download one from YouTube. Learn more about captioning videos.


Once you post your video, use a keyword-rich title and description to help users find your video on search engines.

What to wear

General apparel guidelines

Bright, solid colors show up well in videos. Avoid busy prints, all-black, or all-white clothing.

Do not wear large/visible logos or branded apparel other than WashU or School of Medicine.

In the clinic

  • Faculty: Wear your white coat with Washington University Physicians patch.
  • Residents, fellows and students: Wear your white coat, if applicable.
  • Other personnel: Wear your standard professional clinical attire, which may include branded service-specific polo shirts, lab coats, uniforms and scrubs.
  • For exams and procedures: Wear all required protective equipment — goggles, masks, gloves, etc.

In the lab

Wear a lab coat.

Wear all additional required protective equipment (PPE) — goggles, gloves, etc. Read Environmental Health and Safety’s PPE policy for photos and videos.

Posting video online

Please do not create a YouTube or Vimeo account on behalf of a School of Medicine department, program or office or a Washington University Physicians clinic group. See our guide to video hosting and YouTube channels for more information.

Hosting on YouTube

The School of Medicine and Washington University Physicians each manages a YouTube channel to promote our research, educational programs and patient care. If your group has a video that promotes or represents the School of Medicine or Washington University Physicians, please contact us about whether it would be appropriate to include on these channels. 

Promoting your video

Once your video is hosted on the appropriate channel, we encourage you to share it on your website and social media accounts. If you would like to request that your video is shared on the School of Medicine’s official social accounts, you may submit a social media post idea.

Getting help with your video

Contact us if your project:

  • Is meant for a national public audience
  • Relates to medical, research, educational or community outreach material and enhances the school’s national reputation
  • Is or will be appropriately branded and styled (see “visual brand elements” section above)

Otherwise consider using a vendor, particularly if your project:

  • Is intended for an internal audience
  • Promotes a commercial product or service, such as clinical marketing (see “endorsing products” section above)
  • Describes a grant or paper submission

Sample videos produced by WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications

Personal story

Understanding Patients: Gabriel Trevino Verastegui’s white coat story


Roger’s story: ALS research at Washington University School of Medicine


Residency and fellowship training at the School of Medicine

See more videos »

Before starting any video projects and for any questions

To best assist you, please contact us to talk through any video projects you are considering.



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