Video Selfie Guidelines

These guidelines will help with self-produced video content.

Many of our faculty, staff, students and trainees have messages they’d like to share via video. These videos could include news about breaking research, a helpful tip or a message of support. A video selfie is a quick and easy way to record these messages so they can easily be posted to websites and social media.

Here are a few helpful tips for creating video selfies:

Editorial tips

  • Consider your audience
    • For example, if you are talking to patients or the public, keep it high level, to-the-point, with no jargon
  • Keep it short
    • Ideally 30-60 seconds
    • Unless you have additional footage to show while you are speaking, talking on screen for too long makes it difficult to keep your audience engaged
  • Practice, but don’t memorize
    • The best videos are those that are both authentic and clear. So practice at least a couple of times in a mirror. But don’t practice so much that you sound rehearsed.
  • If you’re working with WashU Marketing & Communications on a video, we may work with you on an outline or a short script so the video meets editorial requirements. 

Filming tips

  • Horizontal orientation
    • Horizontally oriented videos look better on most social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) since they fill the screen. 
  • Film in HD (preferably 1080p at 30 fps)
    • On an iPhone go to Settings > Camera > Record Video > 1080p at 30 fps.
    • On Android phones:
      • Samsung: Open camera app, tap settings icon > Video size > FHD (30 fps)
      • Pixel: Open camera app, tap More > Settings > Back Camera Resolution > HD 1080p. If also recording in selfie mode, go back to Settings > Front Camera Resolution > HD 1080p
      • Pixel 4: Open camera app settings following these instructions, choose Video > Back camera video resolution > HD 1080. If recording in selfie mode, repeat for Front camera video resolution.
  • Distance from the camera
    • Hold the camera arm’s length away (or prop it up about that distance away).
  • Where to look
    • Flip the screen so you can see yourself, but look into the phone’s camera (not at yourself on the screen).
  • Background
    • Make sure the background is not too busy or distracting (e.g. no moving fans, overly bright artwork).
    • Try to find a quiet space with minimal background noise (e.g. close windows to outdoor noise, turn off fans, etc.).
    • Have yourself off to one side of the screen rather than centered in the middle.
  • Lighting
    • Find a brightly lit room or try using natural light (e.g. by a window)

Editing and transferring files

  • Once your video is complete, you may choose to do some light editing on your phone. 
    • On an iPhone use the Camera app and select the video, then select “Edit” and you can trim the beginning or end of the video by dragging the playhead to the time you want to make the edit. You can also adjust the contrast, exposure, brightness etc. just as you would with photos.
    • On an Android phone, follow these instructions to trim videos.
  • Once your file is ready to go, use the Box app on your phone to transfer it. This works best if you’re connected to wifi.
    • Download the Box app to your phone and log into WUSTL account.
    • On an iPhone in the Camera app, select the video and tap the share button in the bottom left corner. In the suggested apps on the bottom, scroll to the right and select “More.” Select the “Box” app (you may need to log in with your WUSTL key). When the app opens, choose a destination folder (or you can move the file later). Select “Upload” (in top right corner).
    • On an Android phone, in the Photos app select the video and tap the share icon in the lower left. Under “share to apps,” scroll to and select Box. Select Actual size. When the app opens, choose a destination folder (you can move it later) > Upload Here. 
  • If WashU Marketing & Communications has asked you to share the video, send your contact a link to the video file but make sure you have shared the Box folder with them or that if you enable link sharing, make sure “People in your company” is selected (this ensures anyone with a email can access the link). 

WashU Marketing & Communications contacts