VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Video Project Guide

Innovative Media Staff

Eric Johnson's picture
Eric Johnson
Cabell Library, Lower Level Room 078

901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033

(804) 828-2802

Getting Help from The Workshop

The Workshop, located in Cabell Library, has staff available to help for all aspects of video projects. Students who need help during project creation should stop by Cabell Library to get assistance from our experienced student employees.

Contact The Workshop for one-on-one consultations, class presentations, help structuring video assignments, or any other questions.



Many thanks to O.K. Keyes, Ph.D. student in Art Education at VCU, for work on this guide. 

Photo on the homage page by @photosbyphab from 

Some information adapted by permission from Video Recording at University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries and the Instructor's Guide to Media Activities from the Penn State Media Commons.

Examples of Video Projects

Examples below of different styles of videos. Use these as style guides or as inspiration.


This style presents the content through a fictional lens that creatively communicates the information through a story.

This style presents the content through explanation, often presenting the information as facts and figures.

This style presents the content through the use of animated images and can often be combined with other styles or standalone by itself.

There are free apps that can help you create different types of animation:

This style presents the content through an investigative lens, and might include elements such as graphics, title cards, and green screen.

This style presents the content as selling points in an advertisement.

This style presents the content as a one-on-one conversation, often addressing the audience directly on a webcam.

This style presents the content as a musical number, often through parody of an already existing song or an original track.

This style of video project requires a lot of extra audio work, so it might be useful to take a look at our Audio Production LibGuide.  

Faculty Resources

Instruction Timelines

Be Mindful of Time

Not only students, but instructors can be deceived by the actual amount of production time it takes to complete a simple 3-5 minute audio or video project. The times listed below reflect the array of minor and processes, including preparation, resource acquisition, and iterative post-production editing that goes into every project

Project Type ~ Time Comitment
10-12 minute informal interview for podcast (minimum post-production) ½–2 hours
10-12 minute formal interview for podcast (maximum post-production) 1–5 hours
3-5 minute informal or interview Video (minimum post-production) 1–3 hours
3–5 minute remix/mash-up video (minimum post-production) 2–4 hours
3-5 minute high quality video (maximum post-production) 4–20 hours

Develop a Schedule

Ensure all aspects on the grading rubric are addressed on the assignment. Students save time in production when organization tools and techniques are shared.

Deliverable Description When Due
Outline Key concepts, overall vision or approach, cast and roles, 3rd party media needed Before production begins
Script Dialogue (listed by speaker)—May be rough notes or exact dialogue to be spoken First trimester of project
Storyboard Sequential list of shots, sketches, direction First–Middle trimester of project
Rough Cut Final video editing, previewing, focus grouping Third trimester of project

Stay Organized

We recommend that before the semester begins, faculty meet with a member of The Workshop to discuss the project. Library faculty and staff can help you and your students obtain the maximum benefit from this technology. It's particularly important to scheduling any in-class workshops ahead of time, and to plan ahead for the amount of studio time students will need to comforatably complete their projects.

Week Task Week Task
1 Introduce project and rubric to students 6 Production begins
2 Form student teams 9 Rough cut due
3 In-class workshop with CDS consultant 13 Video completed and submitted/published online
4 Outline and script due 14 Peer Critique
5 Storyboard due    


Best Practices

This page outlines some of the resource and time requirements involved in multimedia/multimodal assignments. Just being aware of the hidden 'overhead' in such assignments can help you create better assignments, help your students create better compositions, and help you both avoid the pitfalls that mitigate the success of otherwise great work.

  •   Visit The Workshop at Cabell Library
    Get advice on designing your project and understand the resources available to the VCU community.
  •   Assign Group Projects
    Media authoring involves multiple roles that often work simultaneously. Working in teams will improve the overall quality of outcomes. We recommend teams of 2–3 students.
  •   Require mid-project deliverables
    Think about the logistics for project submission early on. Will students be posting their work online or submitting them via flash drive?
  •   Assign Short Projects
    A good rule-of-thumb is that videos should be 3–5 minutes long, and podcasts should be at most 10–12 minutes.
  • Provide copyright information
    Issues such as copyright and fair-use are especially crucial to understand in media production. We can help you design your activity so that students leverage other media both powerfully and creatively, legally and ethically.
  •   Share examples beforehand
    By sharing examples of excellent (and sometimes poor) final products you increase the transparency of your assignment, and offer examples that students can deconstruct for use in their own work.