Video Guidelines

Online video is popular. It's persuasive. It's globally available in multiple platforms. It can convey the Lehigh experience in a way that few other communications vehicles can.

Video production—planning, filming, editing—can be time-consuming, even when the video is short. Before embarking on a video project, determine whether video is the most efficient and effective way to tell the story.

  • Will photography work just as well?
  • Can written information get the message across faster?
  • Do you have the time, the staff, the equipment and the software you need to film, edit and produce a video?

Advance permission is required for third parties filming on Lehigh property. All requests should be sent to Communications and Public Affairs. For more, see below.


If video is the best medium for your purposes, review these tips to create the best project you can. For more in-depth advice about video, equipment, editing software and studios, contact the Digital Media Studio.

What you need

  • Camera: You can easily spend thousands of dollars for a video camera, but inexpensive camcorders, HDSLR cameras and smartphones are capable of recording video.
  • Tripod: Essential for steady shots.
  • Microphone: Your sound quality will improve with the use of an external microphone like a shotgun mic. Lavalier microphones are excellent for interviews.

Interview guidelines

  • Use a tripod.
  • Have the interviewee look at you when answering questions. Avoid having the interviewee look into the lens. Always compose your interview so the interviewee is looking where there’s the most space.
  • Avoid cutting off the top of someone's head when framing.
  • Do not angle the interviewee too far into a profile.
  • Do not interview people with their backs against a wall.
  • Be mindful of busy backgrounds—you don’t want something sticking out of your subject’s head!
  • Do not interview people in a noisy area.
  • If outside, interview in a shady spot that is not backlit.
  • If inside, consider using a window to light your subject. Do not interview people with a window behind them (backlit).
  • Interview one person at a time.
  • Make sure you’re eye level and your camera is eye level with your interviewee. It’s best to have the person sitting down (not in a swivel chair).
  • If you have a handheld microphone, make sure it’s close to the interviewee but not in the shot. If you have a lavalier microphone, make sure it’s properly clipped.
  • Ask the person to spell his or her name.
  • Ask open-ended questions and be careful not to give verbal responses.

B-roll guidelines

  • B-roll is the video footage you gather to edit with your interview.
  • Gather footage that relates to the story.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Make sure you’re in focus.
  • Avoid staying in the same camera position or sight line for too long. Shoot and move.
  • Vary shot types (wide establishing shot, medium shot, tight detail shot), camera angles, focal lengths and compositions.
  • For now, avoid stylized pans and zooms.
  • Try to record five to 10 seconds of each shot.


  • Much of what will make your video compelling happens through the video and audio editing process. What software you choose will depend on your particular production. The options include:
    • Free programs, such as Movie Maker (from Microsoft) or iMovie (from Apple)
    • Professional programs, such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere
  • The desired length of a video depends on its purpose. For web-based video, the accepted industry standard length is one to three minutes.
  • Edit the interview first. Edit out your questions from the interview—use just the responses.
  • Edit your B-roll over the interview.
  • Make sure you show the interview shot at least once during the video and include the person’s name and title the first time.
  • Avo— cuts—two sequential shots of the same subject or similar compositions.
  • Don’t repeat shots.
  • Make sure to use nat sound from the B-roll, but be sure it doesn’t compete with the interview levels.
  • Lehigh University videos should close with a Lehigh-branded bumper that includes the Lehigh logo, a title, credits and copyright information. View Lehigh-branded video assets >


  • If you plan to post your video online, be sure to provide captions and a transcript to make your video more accessible to all viewers. There are both free and paid services available for creating caption and transcript files for your videos.
  • Transcript/caption resources:

Publishing and Sharing

  • If you plan to post the video on a website or in social media, you can first upload the video to YouTube or another video-sharing site and then use the embed code to embed it in your site.
  • If your video appeals to a broad Lehigh audience, share it with University Communications to be published on Lehigh's official YouTube channel.

Filming at Lehigh

Photography or videotaping that is carried out by the university or an educational or nonprofit entity and is intended for educational or public affairs use will be permitted (subject to logistical and security concerns detailed below). Use of photography or videotape for advertising of commercial products or services is prohibited.

Generally, permission to photograph or videotape will be limited to pictures of the exterior of buildings or facilities. In the exceptional case where videotaping or photography of interior property is permitted (for example, a video or still photographs being produced by Lehigh for its own use or in the unusual case of a public panel discussion to be videotaped for later broadcast), a number of special circumstances in addition to the general ones of disruption, etc., listed above need to be considered, including:

  • Have all the participants (including students or audience members) been notified of and given permission to the videotaping?
  • Are alternative seats available for any audience member who does not wish to be videotaped?
  • Have copyright permissions been granted from all potential copyright holders?

In reviewing requests, the following will be considered: whether the purpose of the photography or videotaping furthers the university's educational mission; the level of potential disruption to students, staff and faculty; the expense, inconvenience and/or potential damage to property of the university; and the potential for misrepresentation or misunderstanding of university association with the project. The names and trademarks of Lehigh University or any of its units may not be used in promoting a video or other project without specific advance permission of Communications and Public Affairs, even when permission to photograph or videotape has been given.

Video Assets

To increase the quality and brand alignment of all videos produced by Lehigh University, Communications and Public Affairs has put together some branded assets for our collective use. The video asset package, created for Final Cut Pro X, includes the following items:

  • Intro and end slides
  • Lower thirds
  • Tutorial (written instructions and video demonstrations)

*Lehigh login required.

If you are not using FCPX or have questions about these assets, please contact Stephanie Veto by email,, or by phone, 610-758-4314.