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Do It Yourself Media Production Guide

This resource provides guidance on steps for creating media.

Do It Yourself Media Production Guide

(Adapted from Pete McCauley's CEHD Digital Story page)


There are four main steps to creating a video:

  1. PLAN



  • When beginning a video project it is useful to write a “treatment” of what your video will be about.  A treatment is essentially just a short summary that outlines the issue you want to address, your theory or opinion on the topic, and how you plan to present the information.
  • After writing the treatment, it is useful to create some kind of outline or storyboard, that includes information such as specific research citations, names of people you would like to interview, and a list of the digital assets that will likely be used, such as images, audio (script?) or video (even if those digital assets have yet to be captured).  Further, the storyboard helps "visualize" what the final video will look like scene by scene.


  • You will need to schedule time not only to gather and record all the digital assets to be used in your video, but also to edit and publish your video.
  • You will want to give yourself plenty of time for the production process, as capturing and editing video can be time intensive.
  • SHOOTING / RECORDING: You will need to schedule time for shooting video, including interviews with people you plan to include, as well as any supporting visual footage you may wish to gather. You will need to reserve cameras, microphones, tripods, and recording media in order to gather their footage. University affiliates can reserve production equipment from the Walter/Wilson SMART Commons (priority for students working on class media assignments) and Magrath Library (available first come first served), or you can use your personal equipment combined with SMART/Libraries branch equipment if necessary.
  • In addition, you may use the campus 1:Button studios to record yourself, an interview with someone else and/or yourself combined with a PowerPoint presentation.  Campus 1:Button Studios are reservable studios and can be found in Studio C (5th floor Rarig), the Health Sciences Library and 241 Walter Library.
  • EDITING: Once you have collected all their digital assets – including video recorded, images / photos collected, music collected, and voice over recorded – you will need to use some editing software to put all of these assets together into a video.  iMovie, Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro are the most common types of video editors used in the SMART Commons/Magrath Library. Though Windows Movies could work in a pinch, we have found it to be less than ideal due to limited functionality.  Here are some excellent tutorials that demonstrate how to use these video editing tools (and Audacity for sound editing):


Video Editor Tutorials:

Mac -- iMovie ‘11 Essential Training tutorial (UMN log-in required) -- iMovie 10 Essential Training tutorial (UMN log-in required) -- Final Cut Pro X Essential Training tutorial (UMN log-in required)



Windows Movie Maker 2012 Tutorial (YouTube)

Tutorial for older Windows Movie Maker Live (older version) on


Note: Windows Movie Maker is not recommended.  But as the best free video editor on a PC, it is possible and understandable if you use it.  Just make sure to pick one video editor and stick with it.  Also, make sure to regularly backup both your project files and a cut of your video during the editing process.

Audio Editor: -- Audacity Essential Trainining Tutorial (UMN log-in required)

The Walter/Wilson SMART Commons, Magrath Library and the Health Sciences Library have video editing workstations that students can use on a first-come, first-serve basis; but it is important to keep a copy of your project and media (digital assets) at all times, on a portable hard drive.  The Libraries have some external hard drives that can be checked out at the above mentioned locations.  Here are instructions on how to use the external drive to backup your video projects on our public computers:

iMovie Backup Instructions

Final Cut Pro X Backup Instructions

HELP: University affiliates are always welcome to use the production computing in our production spaces, available during open building hours.  If you get stuck and have a brief technical question at Wilson/Walter SMART Commons you may ask a staff member at the front desk (or request to speak with Wanda Marsolek at Magrath).  That said, because our SMART staff have varying levels of media expertise, or if they are unable to meet with you beyond a brief question due to media service operations commitments, they may refer you to our online Media Production Help form for a more formal scheduled consultation with a media specialist.  Therefore, if you know you will require assistance on your video project, it is advisable to consider booking a scheduled consultation in advance.


  • Please note: the media consultation service at Walter/Wilson SMART, Magrath Library and Health Sciences Library is currently primarily geared towards supporting students producing media for course assignments.  As a collegial gesture, media specialists may meet with those producing video for non-course purposes as capacity allows (or refer to other campus production support options).


CITE YOUR SOURCES: Just like you would a paper, it is important to cite your sources, and attribute use of 3rd party sources.  While no official style guide exists for attributing media in a video project, the UC Irvine Libraries provides some excellent attribution examples to consider.


COPYRIGHT CONSIDERATIONS: Copyright law may allow for the repurposing of limited portions of other people's work in the creation of a new work under fair use.  To help determine whether your intended use likely falls under fair use, please consult the Libraries Copyright page and/or contact the Copyright Librarian, Nancy Sims ( on the subject.  Alternatively, you may seek out Creative Commons materials which have been designated for repurposing or access the VideoBlocks stock media that the University (OIT) have licensed expressly for use in video projects.



  • Once you have completed your video project, you may want to publish your video.  There are several video sharing and publishing platforms such as the campus MediaMill service, YouTube and Vimeo.  Videos can also be shared and viewed via Google Drive, though Drive is not designed to host video for redistribution.



  • Now the digital stories can be shared with each other and the world.

**First draft created by Pete McCauley on August 26, 2010