Making videos is fun! The aim of this guide (click here for printable version) is to help you produce a short science video in a few simple steps…


Step 1: Choosing your topic

We’ve selected eight different science and technology themes for you to choose from below:

Discuss the topics with the group to see what sparks some interest. Maybe you’ve always wanted to find out how DNA is used to solve crimes, why we crave foods that are not healthy for us, or who discovered penicillin. Perhaps you know someone whose life has been changed by advances in science, technology or medicine or somebody working in those areas.

Any aspect of the competition topics may be communicated by your video – so be creative and original! Don’t try to cover too much! Use this handy ReelLIFE SCIENCE brainstorm sheet to explore your chosen topic to find a manageable subject for your video. You only have 3 minutes to communicate a topic, so perhaps pick one aspect of the chosen topic and tell a story!

Our friends in the CÚRAM Research Centre have provided additional information about their research into Medical Devices, which may inspire you to explore these particular topics.


Step 2: Choosing your Style

Next, you’ll want to decide how your video will look and feel. Will it be filmed or animated? Humorous or more serious? Will it take the form of a demonstration, an interview or even a song? What’s the best way of getting the information across to the viewer in a fun way?

Remember you have the advantage of using a visual medium, so feel free to dress up, draw, demonstrate, animate, sing, play, experiment, interview, visit a local site, build, recruit friends, family or whatever you need to tell your story. Using a storyboard can be a great idea, to plan what will be seen at all stages of the film.

If this is your first time making a video, you’ll probably want to keep it simple – you could even film the entire video in one take on a smartphone, so you don’t even need to edit clips together.


Step 3: Making your Video

Film the video using whatever camera you are most comfortable with, whether it’s a camcorder, digital camera, tablet or smartphone. Just make sure you film it in landscape (sideways) orientation, rather than portrait, so it looks well on the screen.

If you are using a tablet or smartphone, you can simply use its video editing software to join your clips together, add music, credits or even a voiceover. If you use a camcorder or digital camera, you will need to upload your video to a computer, which will come with its own editing software or you can search online for a free software package to use.

The website curated by Michael McNamara from NUI Galway, is an excellent resource for expert and beginner filmmakers, with advice on free and paid-for apps and websites for filming, editing, animating and sound recording.

Getting the sound right can be one of the most challenging parts of film-making.

Sound quality can often be poor if filming outdoors, particularly on windy days, and can negatively impact otherwise excellent video footage. If you think the sound quality is poor or inaudible, consider recording a separate voiceover indoors using your video camera or phone voice recorder and adding it to the video afterwards. Videos can be made in English, Irish or even using Sign Language, although you may wish to consider including English subtitles to appeal to a wider audience, particularly internationally.

If you prefer, you can submit an animated video. There are lots of free animation software packages online, or you could use stop-motion techniques to animate modelling clay, toys, puppets or images/drawings. We don’t recommend the use of slideshow-type videos, where images are shown with a voiceover, as we favour original video footage to communicate a topic.

Make sure everything in the video has been created by you!

You cannot use any copyrighted material in your film without permission, such as video clips (TV, movies, online videos), music, sound recordings, etc. YouTube, where the video will be hosted online, may even remove the audio track or the entire video, if copyrighted material is detected by it’s software. For more on YouTube’s Copyright policy, read here. You can find lots of ‘royalty free music‘ online (e.g. this article) for your video or or you may even like to compose an original piece of music.

Remember to keep the video length between one and three minutes as longer videos will be penalised during judging. This is where the use of a storyboard in the planning phase can really help!

Get parental consent for any children identified, appearing or participating in the video, ensuring that parents or guardians are fully aware of the nature of the competition, and the subsequent use and display (including online and at public screenings) of the video entries by ReelLIFE SCIENCE, NUI Galway, our partners and potentially the media and general public (e.g. sharing the videos via Facebook, Twitter, etc.).


Step 4: Submitting your Video

To submit your video to ReelLIFE SCIENCE, you will need to upload it to YouTube and send us the link via our online Application Form (form for schools; form for groups/clubs) before the submission deadline of October 18th 2019. You can read about ReelLIFE SCIENCE’s Data Protection Policy here.

It is important to note that Video Privacy Settings should be set to ‘Public’ so your video can be viewed by our judges and the general public. You can find lots of information in the YouTube Help Centre about privacy settings, how to upload videos, supported file formats, etc. After judging, you are free to remove your video from YouTube if you wish.

Click the ‘Parental Consent received‘ tickbox, to acknowledge that consent has been received for all necessary participants, as outlined above. Completed consent forms do not need to be submitted to ReelLIFE SCIENCE, but to complete the application process you must acknowledge that, where required, they have been completed and received.

Click the ‘Agree to Terms & Conditions‘ tickbox, to acknowledge that you have read and agree to the competition Terms and Conditions.

After you click submit, you should receive an acknowledgement message sent to the email address you have provided. After the competition, all participants will receive a Certificate of Participation to download and print.

Winning videos will be announced during Science Week 2019, and you can keep up-to-date via our Twitter (@ReelLifeScience) and Facebook pages.


14 thoughts on “How To Take Part

  1. Is there an official parental consent available from reellifescience?
    Kind regards,
    Gretta Whelan.
    Knockmahon N.S.

    1. Hi Gretta
      We don’t supply an official parental consent form, as every school has their own considerations when it comes to this.
      Kind regards

    1. Hi Louise,
      Thanks for your message. There is no limit to the number of students on each team. In fact, we have had a number of videos featuring entire schools over the years!
      Best of luck with your video

  2. Hi Louise
    Thanks for your interest. The students can enter as individuals or as groups.
    Best of luck!

    1. Hi Emma

      Yes, videos can be in English or Irish or a combination of both (e.g. Irish with English subtitles), and will be judged equally. We’ve had a number of winning videos as Gaelige over the years, if you want to check out our ‘Previous Years’ link


  3. Hello,

    I am just making sure that more than one group can apply from each school? If so, is there a limit on the number of groups?



    1. Hi Sile. Yes, multiple groups or individuals can take part from one school or group. Each video will need to be submitted separately, but there is no limit to the number from one school.
      Many thanks

    1. Hi David. Yes, multiple groups or individuals can take part from one school or group. Each video will need to be submitted separately, but there is no limit to the number from one school.
      Many thanks

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