Video Best Practices

Before producing a video, it’s best to have a clear vision and a goal. You should focus on telling a complete and compelling story as concisely as possible while also being consistent in style, tone and messaging.

Your video should always be visually interesting, short, simple and moving and include properly exposed and thoughtful frames, clean audio and simple supplemental graphics.

In order to present your branded video in a consistent way follow the best practices below.

Subjects and consents

Always include a human element. This helps convey authenticity, intimacy, and relatability. Buildings and technology — while impressive — are often cold or stark, and don’t communicate health when used on their own. If using a building or featuring technology in a video, the focus should include a person or people engaged in a meaningful way within the context of the video.

Obtaining proper consent when taking and using videos is crucial — especially with patients or their families — for legal and privacy purposes. Any UC Davis Health patients featured in a video, must fill out consent forms to use their image and/or voice in recordings. For more information, please contact Public Affairs and Marketing at


B-roll is engaging supplemental footage that supports or adds depth to the content. It should be used whenever possible. Be sure to capture motivated shots; look for a variety of sequences including wide, medium and tight; and minimize “talking heads” by incorporating images that complement the content.

Copyright laws apply anytime a video is posted online for public use. Photos, graphics and music must be copyright cleared or have permission to use. If permission has not been acquired, materials cannot be used. Be sure to check copyright for any multimedia used in your video.


Lighting is an important part of a video and should be used effectively. Natural light and shallow depth of field help keep the focus on the subject and prevents backgrounds from being too distracting. Always keep your light color temperatures consistent and make sure your camera is set to the correct white balance setting.

Be aware of your surroundings. If shooting indoors, use proper lighting on the subjects and avoid harsh shadows, shooting in front of white walls or shiny backgrounds, they can reflect light.

Audio and music

Always make sure your video has clean and clear audio. When shooting a video, especially interviews, pay attention to environmental noises. Avoid interviewing around large crowds or nearby parking lots as these areas could impair audio quality.

Incorporating music can add flair to a video. However, it’s important to choose music that fits within the context of your video. Music can be subtle, upbeat and driving in terms of pace.


Transitions act as a subtle and smooth cut to the next shot or sequence in a video. Videos should always have basic dissolve transitions with the speed adjusted accordingly. Avoid overuse and only use transitions when necessary.

Closed captioning and video optimization

Closed captioning or subtitling, is an on-screen visual transcription of the audio portion of the video. This alternate text is required and mandated by law. Many video platforms, such as YouTube, offer automatic captioning, but this can lead to errors, especially when the audio quality is low. It’s important to check and edit automatic captioning or have your video transcribed by a professional.

Naming conventions and search engine optimization (SEO) for videos not only helps your brand have a presence in Google and YouTube’s organic search results but also helps improve the volume and quality of traffic to your videos.

Please note: Videos may be subject to approval by Public Affairs and Marketing. To learn more about file naming conventions and uploading videos to YouTube review pages 46-47 in the brand standards guide.