Video & Audio Guidelines

Each video should:

  1. Be visually Interesting and  captivating.
  2. Have clean understandable audio.
  3. Be long enough to let the story be told, but not longer. (Generally speaking, storytelling web videos should be no longer than 2-3 minutes.)
  4. Be free of any copyrighted material unless legal permission is granted and documented.
  5. Follow the visual identity found at
  6. Open and close with the appropriate GZA Logo, which can be found at

Online video is popular. It’s persuasive. It’s globally available in multiple platforms. It can convey the Gamma experience — the people and the place — in a way that few other communications vehicles can.

Video production — planning, filming, editing — can be surprisingly time-consuming, even when the video is short. Before embarking on a video project, determine whether video is the most efficient and effective way to send a message or solve a problem. Will photography work just as well? Can written information get the message across faster? Do you have the time, the help, the equipment and the software you need to film, edit and produce a video?

If video is the best medium for your purposes, review these tips to create the best project you can.

Reasons to use video

  • Document an event.
  • Promote an event.
  • Provide a visual demonstration or tutorial.
  • Show your program in action.
  • Connect with your viewers in an emotional way, using a mix of music, still photography, narration and video communication.

What you need

  • Camera: You can easily spend thousands of dollars for a video camera, but less expensive flip cams — and even smart phones — are now capable of recording high-definition (HD) video.
  • Tripod: Essential for steady shots. A tripod with a “fluid head” will be necessary for panning the camera across a scene.
  • Microphone: Your sound quality is likely to improve markedly with the use of an external microphone. More about audio.
  • Lights: For shooting indoors, adequate video lighting is essential.

Logo Use

GZA’s logo must be present for at least five seconds at the start and finish of all videos, and must appear first and last as bookend images, preceding any institutional sub-brand in the beginning and after any sub-branding at the end. The logo must sit alone on a field of either black, white or silver; this clear, uncluttered format allows the logo to not get lost in background patterns or other competing imagery.

As with print and the web, the logo may not be altered in any way with drop shadows, glows, or other effects. For more on these issues, see the GZA Brand Style Guide:

Title Treatments and Text

Either of the organization’s two fonts should be used in its video productions.

Social Media

Film/Write short, but smart

Some social media platforms have a video limit; others don’t. But for the most part, we keep our social media videos short.

Twitter: Keep videos posted to 1 to 2 minutes long. Twitter captions: 125 characters or less (this leaves room for a manual retweet and comments)

Facebook: Facebook does not have a time limit, but aim for one to two minutes.

Instagram: Instagram has a 1 minute limit to their videos. Make sure to get all details about your content within the allotted time.

Checking-In: “Check-in” at the venue of your event to help drive traffic to your event, and increase your post’s “reach.” This is also a good way to connect with those that attended your event.

Captions: Write short, simplify your ideas or reduce the amount of information you’re sharing—but not by altering the spelling or punctuation of the words themselves. It’s fine to use the shorter version of some words, like “info” for “information.” But do not use numbers and letters in place of words, like “4” instead of “for” or “u” instead of “you.”


We employ hashtags rarely and deliberately. We may use them to promote an event or connect with users at a conference. Do not use current event or trending hashtags to promote Gamma Zeta Alpha Fraternity, Inc. There are different rules/ guides for how many to use for each type of social media platform. For example, for Facebook limit to 3, for Twitter limit to no more than 3, etc.

What Makes a Good Video? Some Basics


Above all, the most important element is a good story or central topic. Dazzling graphics and tight production values mean nothing if your central story is not interesting or engaging. Remember that video is a visual medium; whenever possible, show, don’t tell.


Videos should have a light, conversational feel. Avoid jargon, words or phrases that sound too institutional, or language that doesn’t resonate with your target audience. Candor builds trust – overly scripted interviews feel like infomercials.


Tiny, cramped offices with cinderblock walls or backlit windows are never good places to shoot videos. There are many appealing locations both indoors and outside of campuses that provide much more visually interesting places to shoot an interview.


Videos get a huge boost to production value when you prepare for and think through each project ahead of time. Storyboard each shot if you can. Subjects should be dressed appropriately in business casual attire (avoid patterned clothing when at all possible) unless in the field; students should be dressed in clean, casual attire – a “Gamma Letters” shirt or something with a GZA logo, if possible. Ask your subjects, above all, to not wear clothing that advertises other organizations. Lastly, do site visits to places you plan to shoot beforehand to see if the lighting there will work, if there are outlets available, etc.


  • Do not have the interviewee look into the lens.
  • Avoid cutting off the top of the head when framing a wider shot.
  • Do not angle the interviewee too far into profile.
  • Avoid BTFs (Big Talking Face).
  • Avoid low and high angle shots.
  • Avoid using too much headroom.

High Quality B-roll

B-roll, or supplemental or alternate footage intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary, is crucial, because it allows you to do more than simply show a talking head. Using b-roll to illustrate a point being made by the interviewee is a basic yet powerful method; don’t overlook it.

  • Prioritize gathering footage that relates to the story.
  • Avoid staying in the same camera position or sight line for too long. Move around the space and present the subject from a variety of vantage points.
  • Vary shot types, camera angle, focal lengths and compositions.
  • Bracket for static shots/camera movement, speed of camera moves, and exposures.
  • Match camera movement and shooting style appropriately to the story’s tone.

Outdoor interview guidelines

  • Keep the sky blue.
  • Position camera and subject with the sun facing the subject.
  • Avoid using the sun as a harsh backlight.
  • Use a reflector to enhance outdoor lighting.

Indoor interview guidelines

  • Avoid plain white walls. Relocate interview to a better-looking location if possible.
  • Avoid mixed light situations where possible. (EX: tungsten interview light w/sunlight in background)
  • Always seek a good composition in relation to your background.

Editing and sharing

  • Much of what will make your video compelling happens through the video and audio editing process. What software you choose will depend on your particular production. The options include:
  • Free programs, such as Movie Maker (from Microsoft) or iMovie (from Apple)
  • Professional programs, such as Final Cut Pro
  • The desired length of a video depends on its purpose. For Web-based video, the accepted industry standard length is 2-3 minutes.
  • GZA videos should close with an GZA branded bumper that includes the stacked GZA logo, a title, credits and copyright information.
  • If you plan to post the video on a website or in social media, you can first upload the video to YouTube and then use the embed code to embed it in your site.
  • If the video appeals to a broad audience, you might want to share it on GZA official central YouTube channel.
  • Edit out dead air and avoid or eliminate “ums,” “uhs,” filler words and long pauses.
  • Consider submitting a copy of your video production to GZA director of Marketing as a historical record of the organization. GZA Archives collects publications produced by GZA chapters. GZA Archives accepts any high-quality digital video format. Contact for submission instructions and more information.


Reasons to use audio

  • Lectures
  • Radio broadcasts and interviews
  • Photo slideshow narration
  • Video voiceovers
  • Background music for multimedia projects
  • Recordings of musical performances

Sound recording

  • Avoid interviews in unreasonably noisy areas.
  • Avoid spaces with prominent echo, if possible.
  • Gather room tone in at least your settings for primary interviews.
  • Use lavalieres for most video recording situations. Position the lavaliere on the interviewees to catch sound in the direction they’re facing.


  • When adding music to an audio project, a video, a photo slideshow or another multimedia undertaking, be sure to choose music that you have the legal right to use.
  • Don’t steal copyrighted music to enhance radio projects or add background sound to videos and photo slideshows. There is no educational exemption for the use of copyrighted music in videos.
  • Options for background music include:
    • Short music clips created with the help of music-making software.
    • Stock audio from websites offering music clips and songs.
    • Public domain songs, which are not protected by copyright.
    • YouTube Audio Swap, which allows YouTube users to add music selected from a library of songs.


  • Use the organization release forms to obtain written permission from everyone you record. All subjects should complete and sign a release form.
  • If your project includes copyrighted music, you must comply with copyright laws.

Ideas Needed? Don’t Know Where to Start?

Directors of Public Relations and Marketing are here to help you get a solid start to your video project – consultations when you are still in the pre-production stage are encouraged! We can help you get a grasp on what you’ll need to think about before you even grab your camera, where you can get equipment, and the logistics and time involved in even the most basic video.  If you have questions about any of the above, or need to discuss the use of the GZA brand in your video project, contact us at or

Right to Use:

Make sure Gamma Zeta Alpha Fraternity, Inc. holds all rights to the video, including talent, music and pictures. Some material being used in an educational setting may not be copyright free in a marketing setting. Contact the directors of Public Relations and Marketing if you need a model release form or have questions. There are various sources to copyright free music you may find online, or you can seek legal documented permission from an individual artist. Please send a copy of all signed documentation to directors of Public Relations and Marketing digital archivist at and, and keep the originals for your records.

Further Resources:

Most campuses offer students access to comprehensive educational materials on video production and digital video editing. is a great resource for learning how to operate editing programs and basic cinematography.

Crowd Release Event Registration Confirmation

Please add the following language to all event order confirmations:

Review & Approval

All video and audio productions must be submitted for review and  approval before publishing.