Behind the Scenes: How we have created a Video Promo Trailer for UC Berkeley new class.

We first met with Prof. Dimitrios Zekkos over a video call and immediately realized his excitement to co-teach this Fall, a new course at UC Berkeley on “Infrastructure Sensing and Modeling” along with his geoFaculty colleagues Prof. Kenichi Soga and Prof. Rob Kayen.

The goal of our meeting was simple: to see if we could plot the making of “the best class trailer ever made.”

During our first meeting with Prof. D. Zekkos, we tried to visualize his vision of the video on just a piece of paper across the table — the draft storyboard was born:

In order to script out the video, we needed to lay back and consider some main steps that would help us get the main video idea out of the piece of paper and onto our target audience’s screens!

First of all, we identified the main goal of the video, which was to communicate the new course into the students’ community in a more appealing and modern fashion.

Now that we had the “why,” we had to determine the creative direction of the video on how to achieve the main goal. In our case, we needed to inspire students to join this new course in an entertaining and yet informative way.

Which led us to setting up the tone of the video and how it was going to make our audience feel. Prof. D. Zekkos vision was to make his students feel informed, through an inspirational “story” of modern methods and technologies in the infrastructure world. Background music should support and amplify this feeling.

Next step was to decide on the duration of the video. We had to put some restrictions on our concept which would only help to make storytelling stronger and more effective, avoiding ending up too long and potentially unfocused. Considering the main goal and lesson content, where it would appear (Youtube, social media) and the overall budget, we ended up with an 1,5 – 2 min. video duration.

By this point, we had defined the video goal, creative direction, tone, and duration figured out.

The next thing to consider would be the visual style of the video, meaning what it would look like, how it would come to life, using the most appealing visual styles, templates, and effects for engaging the students. Prof. D. Zekkos provided raw video material related to the class concept and featured course topics, which led us into combining real video, animations, photo captures, and screencasts with transition and visual effects for the presentation of the final video.

Having most of the pre-planning work figured out, it was finally the time to start outlining Prof. D. Zekkos main idea for the video and writing the script.

The main things to consider in our layout would be:

  • Number of scenes;
  • The time stamp of transitions, scene durations;
  • The audio;
  • A description of each scene with onscreen actions;

Final step in video planning would be to bring the script and ideas to life putting together the storyboard. Each of the frames in the storyboard act as a guide and corresponds to a description directly from the script, making sure they match up and nothing is missing.

Having a well-defined vision for the end product, it was time to start compositing the final video ensuring an aesthetic match to Prof. D. Zekkos new class vision, hopefully attracting the interest of students!

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