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Creating Scientific Stories Through Video

In a detailed discussion on the Marketing Science Podcast, Will Soutter delved into the intricacies of creating video content that breaks down complex scientific concepts for the right audiences. Below is a summary of Will’s strategies, including insights from the original transcript on making science accessible through video.

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How do you simplify complex scientific concepts for a general audience in video content?

Video is a potent medium for simplifying complex concepts because it combines visual elements with storytelling. It's about more than just the words; it's about using visuals to illustrate ideas in a way that's easier to grasp. Animated videos are particularly effective—they allow us to break down concepts into manageable parts and visually represent them, making them less intimidating. In essence, a well-crafted video can convey complex information in a simplified manner that textual descriptions or audio alone cannot achieve.

How do you determine the level of detail to include in your videos?

The level of detail largely depends on the audience. When creating content, one of the first steps is identifying who the video is for. This helps me decide how deeply I need to dive into the technical aspects. If the audience is scientifically inclined, I can incorporate more detailed explanations. Conversely, I focus on clarity and engagement over depth for a general audience, using layman's terms and relatable analogies to make the content approachable.

How do you choose the most appropriate visual aids and animations to include in the video?

Choosing visual aids is all about alignment with the audience's understanding. Sometimes, simplicity is key—using basic graphics or abstract visuals that focus on the overarching concepts rather than the minutiae. It’s a balancing act between providing enough detail to inform but not so much that it overwhelms the viewer. The tools I use, like Illustrator for graphics and After Effects for animations, help refine these visuals until they perfectly complement the narrative.

Can you also share some tools you use?

The tools are standard within the industry but critical in bringing content to life. I use Illustrator and After Effects to create animated sequences and Premiere to edit live-action footage. These versatile tools allow for a lot of creative freedom, which is essential in customizing content based on the specific needs of each project.

Could you provide examples of how storytelling effectively explains complex topics?

In many cases, the effectiveness of a video comes from its ability to tell a story. For instance, when explaining the benefits of a technical product, rather than focusing solely on the features, I frame the video around how the product solves a problem. This narrative approach makes the content more relatable and easier to understand. Focusing on practical applications and outcomes makes the technical details part of a larger, compelling story that resonates with the audience.

What are some best practices for incorporating real-world examples or case studies in videos?

Real-world examples are gold when it comes to educational content. They provide tangible context that helps audiences understand the application and value of a concept or product. Best practices include thorough planning to align the content with the audience's needs and pain points. Often, this involves filming on location to capture how products perform in their environments, which adds authenticity and credibility to the video.

How do you ensure that educational, scientific videos are accessible to diverse audiences, including those with different levels of knowledge?

Making scientific videos accessible involves a careful mix of simplification and accurate information. I often use metaphors and everyday examples to bridge the gap between complex ideas and the audience’s prior knowledge. It’s about starting with something familiar and then building on that foundation to introduce more complex concepts, ensuring that the content is engaging and understandable to all viewers, regardless of their background in science.

By strategically leveraging storytelling, visual aids, and real-world examples, I aim to transform educational content into something that informs, inspires, and engages diverse audiences. This approach has proven effective across various projects, making complex scientific concepts accessible and intriguing to a broad spectrum of viewers.

Posted by Rebecca Turpin

Manchester born Rebecca has a first class B.A.(Hons) in Photography from the University of Plymouth. Rebecca began her career in 2017 working as a sales and marketing assistant for a healthcare company before moving in to an agency position in 2018. She spent two years running a small agency in Salford until 2021, gaining marketing skills and invaluable experience working with clients before coming to AZoNetwork. Outside of marketing, Rebecca loves anything outdoors, the theatre and any creative activity that lets her be covered in paint.

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