VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Video Project Guide

How to start?

After you've assessed the specific requirements in your video assignment, you need to figure what and how you're going to do. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself to help figure out your big idea. 

What is the format?
Is this project more of a recorded presentation? Is there flexibility for a more creative approach?

Who is the audience?
Are you addressing your peers? Are you addressing folks with prior knowledge of the content material? Are you addressing people outside of this area of interest? How does this change how you explain and deliver the material in your video?

What is the style?
Depending on the flexibility of the assignment, you might be able to present the content for the video project in a number of different ways. For more information about different styles of video projects, check out our examples and resources page.

Is my project manageable?
Do you have access to the resources you need to make this project possible? Do you have time to schedule everything? Are there ways to condense materials? Is everything necessary for communicating the information in the project? Are there parts that can be modified to be more manageable or cut altogether?

Making Your Big Idea Happen

Bringing your big idea to the screen can be a challenging process, especially if it's your first time creating a video project. These are some standard tools in the media making process that can be helpful in helping you plan and prepare for recording your project. 

The Three S's of Planning


Script - this is the most essential part of planning a video project and includes all the actions, dialogue, locations, and effects that you hope to include in chronological order.

  • Everything is scripted (yes - even reality TV!)
  • Does your piece include interviews, voiceover, animations, charts, etc?
  • Story isn’t just about characters and plots, but about the arc of your project. How does it start? What are the titles? How does it end? What’s your message? These are all elements you’ll want to consider when constructing your script.

Shot List - (necessary if you have to record your own video) this is a list of everything you want to record, arranged in the order you will record. A shot list helps you stay organized and makes sure you record everything you need at each location

  • Interviews 
  • Scenes (dialogue, props)
  • BROLL - additional footage of the environment
  • Shot List Template (coming soon)

Schedule - create a schedule for your project that dictates when each element will be recorded and who is doing what role, or, when you plan to have your script done, media downloaded, project edited, etc

  • Who - Cast (Actors, Interviewers) and Crew (Team Members)
  • What - What’s happening? What shots?
  • When/Where - Time and Location

Pre-Production Summary

Summary Notes

  • The script is to put everything down on paper.
  • The shot list is to make sure everything in the script gets recorded.
  • The schedule is to make sure everyone is on the same page.