Brand Standards: Videos

Video Best Practices



Plan and arrange your shots carefully and cinematically. Study professional videos to see how they compose their shots. Use them as a reference for your own shooting. Wide shots establish location, medium and tight shots focus on the viewer. A mixture of these shots will provide you with options when you edit. For interviews, determine if you want the subject to look into the camera or off-camera. The closer they look to the camera, the more connection the audience will have with them. Eyes should hit on the top 1/3 line of the frame. 

Location matters

Take advantage of locations to support the story. Not every interview needs to include Old Main in the background. Put the talent in their typical environment if it enhances visual and message. Supporting b-roll can be used to support the message and provide something more engaging for the viewer.

Lighting and Exposure

Make sure your subject is properly exposed without over exposing the background. If you interview someone in the shade, film towards the trees or building that are more in the shade. If the background is being hit by the sun, place your subject in the sun and consider using a diffuser to soften the light on them. This will prevent your audience from being distracted by an improperly exposed image. Light can also be warm or cool. If you're in a room with a lot of outside light, turn off the lights in the room. Mixed color temperature of lighting can create unflattering effects on your image.

Hold it steady

A shaky camera can distract the viewer and look unprofessional. Use tripods or gimbals to help achieve steady footage. If not, stand stationary, tuck your elbows into your body to stabilize your arms and hold the shot.



Use appropriate microphones for the job. Use a lav or shotgun mic placed next to the person talking. If you don't have an external mic, place your camera close enough to the person speaking with limited ambient noise around.


Use royalty free music. Music purchased off of iTunes does not count. Make sure your music doesn't compete with your dialogue. In your editor, your dialogue should peak around -6db (without other audio) whereas your music should be around -18db.


Keep it simple

Complement your message. Consider the visual applications such as fonts, colors, and design elements of other brand components that may be created rather than redesigning something different.

Required Elements

Lower thirds will help the viewer know who is talking in the video. Each video should incorporate an official Utah State University logo or combination logo with your college, department or organization.

Visual Hierarchy

When you incorporate multiple graphics and text on a single frame, make sure there is a clear visual hierarchy. The first thing you want your viewer to see is typically the largest size and isolated to help draw them in.


Captions are essential for accessibility and make your videos more usable for everyone. Utah State University has relationships with a number of captioning vendors and resources to help you get started. Visit for more info.