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Video Previews

This year we are introducing Video Previews, a new way to share research results with attendees and with members of the community who are not able to attend the conference. The goal is to help people plan their conference time, to help them discover interesting and important work, and to increase the visibility of presentations beyond the conference.

We ask authors to submit a short video or animation that describes their work and highlights the exciting, important contributions. These recordings will be made available before, during, and after the conference for viewing and commenting. Visitors will be able to browse the video content and associated papers, share content with others, and view system- and user-generated recommendations. During the conference, these recordings will be available in public spaces and possibly in some conference hotels.

In brief, authors of accepted submissions are requested to create a video or other animated presentation (about 30 seconds in length) as part of the final submission. Please visit http://inputdesignoutput.com/chipreviewgallery/ for a gallery of Video Previews examples and read the guide below to create your Video Preview.

Think about your Audience and Context

As with anything you build, think about your users and the context of use. Video Previews are intended to be experienced by CHI-interested individuals before, during (on-site, and off-site) and after the conference; to concisely present the gist of an idea and why someone would like to read your submission and/or attend your presentation. In particular:

  • Video Previews will be linked from the on-line final program;
  • Video Previews will be viewable from the CHI 2013 mobile apps (on iOS and Android) once you have uploaded the material into the apps;
  • Video Previews will be shown on large displays at the conference. Using the mobile apps, you will be able to easily add to your personal conference schedule the presentation corresponding to the video being shown;
  • Video Previews will be used (with the authors’ permission) before the conference for promotion and advertising;
  • Video Previews will not be available over the air at the conference, as this would bring down the wireless network.

General Advice

  • Keep video to around 30 seconds if at all possible;
  • Use the video to motivate the problem or illustrate a solution;
  • Keep the audience engaged: sketches, animations, performances can be effective;
  • Use the (combination of) production techniques that makes sense to you: stop-animation, over the shoulder recording, screen-capture, animations, etc.;
  • Use a voice narration and if possible record a native English speaker; avoid monotonous voice;
  • Use close-captions: videos will be consumed in places with lots of ambient noise, where sound is unacceptable, and by hearing-impaired individuals;
  • Don’t expect people to be able to read more than a few words at a time;
  • Plan, practice, make lots of takes and review your results. Did we mention practice?
  • Avoid talking heads, concentrate on content.

In a nutshell:

Do’s: Don’ts
  • be succinct
  • focus on what is essential
  • tell a story
  • use live-video
  • use stop-motion
  • use screen-capture
  • use pop-ups
  • have a voice-over narration
  • have closed-captioning
  • prepare and practice
  • use an English native speaker / narrator
  • speak clearly
  • do not try to fit everything
  • record using (good) smart-phones / pads
  • have a teammate help you
  • use props
  • do multiple takes / shots
  • disable camera auto-focus
  • use an audio processing program
  • remove noise by taking a ‘silence’ sample
  • if using a camera, record an LCD screen
  • make sure graphics persist after encoding
  • record at the same resolution than the video
  • assume previous knowledge
  • be repetitive
  • rely only on voice or visuals
  • use gratuitous content
  • distract from message and continuity
  • rush
  • crawl
  • do it all yourself
  • do just one take
  • show video to just one person

Use mp4 as the file format

The Video Previews requires MP4 encoding using the H.264 codec. Most video editing software provides an exporting option to MP4/H.264. If your editing / recording software does not export to mp4, there are a number of free encoding solutions you can use. For windows users, Freemake Video Encoder produces good results for a variety of target formats. For OSX users, there are a number of frees converters available trough the Apple App Store, (e.g., Miro Video Converter). For Linux users, FFmpeg is a well-known transcoding solution. We strongly recommend 16:9 aspect ratio. Encode your video using square pixels for the pixel aspect ratio to avoid your movie looking stretched when projected.

Note: We do not endorse or are responsible for the use of any of the software mentioned in this guide.

No more than 30 seconds

Video Previews can be at most 30 seconds. A lot can be said / communcated in that time. Plan ahead!


Please remember to review the meta-data properties of your digital file and insert appropriate identifying comments at the submission time: Author, Title, and Copyright information.

In addition to the meta-data, please include the Title and Authors of the work at the beginning of the Video Preview, either as a title shot or as an overlay at the beginning of your video.

CHI 2013 reserves the right to overlay the CHI 2013 logo and tag line on the bottom 20% of the first 3 seconds of the Video Preview. Please plan your first shot accordingly.

Also plan your video shots so that there is room if you plan to add a line of close-captioning.

Video Organization

Previews are analog to an elevator pitch, without the benefit of a two-way dialog. There are many ways to organize a video presentation. Select a theme for the video and present your idea in a way that contributes to this goal. You will not have time to show and tell everything about your submission.

Concentrate on identifying what is novel and interesting. Emphasize the problems or issues being addressed. Present the concepts and principles upon which the work is based. Have a thread, a narrative, tell a (micro) story.

Your video should be understandable by itself. Your video should also be understandable to viewers who are not familiar with the subject.


Use both the visual and audio capabilities of video. As the narrator, tell the viewer where to look and what to look for. Display screens have few natural navigation aids. Make your point once, and make it effectively; avoid being repetitious. Every second counts in a 30 seconds clip.

Pay attention to the background and colors; the eye is drawn to the most brightly colored part of the scene. Make the lightest and brightest part be the point of interest.

Avoid visual distractions, such as idly moving the mouse. Fades to black can be used as transitions between scenes, but they should not be overused. A full screen fade usually indicates a change in subject, time or place, and can be confusing when used elsewhere.


The pacing of a video presentation must be appropriate to fit an idea, summary in 30 seconds: Not too slow to limit content, and not so fast that ideas cannot be absorbed. Please remember that your digital video will be accessed by an international audience, so speak clearly and more slowly than is natural to successfully convey your message.

You may wish to use someone with a very clear and understandable voice. Usually the most realistic and convincing advocate of an idea is the person responsible for the work being reported.

Prepare a detailed script of the video and rehearse it thoroughly, in front of others if possible. This will help not only the delivery but also the clarify of your ideas.

Equipment and Techniques

Current consumer hardware and software allow suitable production quality to be achieved outside of professional studios. The final production quality of a video mostly depends on the creativity and experience of the video maker.

Camera Basics

Use a tripod whenever possible to stabilize images. Contemporary hi-definition web-cameras (720p and up) are suitable for over-the-shoulder shoots.

Remember that the final picture will not be as clear as the picture in the monitor, so zoom in closer than might seem necessary, and make sure that no important elements are at the edge of the picture.


Try to avoid recording the noise of computer fans and disks. It is generally better to record the audio separately, by doing a voice-over in a studio or other quiet room. Audio editing tools like Audacity include a filter to eliminate background noise. Make sure you capture a sample of what the room sounds when it is ‘quiet’.

With a voice-over, you watch the video and record the sound that explains what is happening. Make sure that the discussion is synchronized with the action on the screen. Many successful videos use trained readers for the audio, which you can find by calling acting schools or radio stations.

If it is important to hear key clicks or computer audio output (beeps), record these on a separate audio track, and mix them with the voice-over in your editing software. Similarly, if you are adding music to the video, place it on a separate track, so it will be easy to fade out music when narration begins, etc.

Recording Computer Screens

Using a flat-panel LCD video monitor often leads to best results when filming a computer screen. Use a resolution that lets you capture text, lines, colors and animations accurately.

Other ways to capture a screen is using screen-capturing software. For Windows users, Camtasia, Camstudio, and MS Expression Encoder are known to produce acceptable screen captures. For OSX, the Quicktime player already has a Screen Recording feature.

Usability Testing

Please test your video for usability and accessibility just as you would (or expect from) any other product. You can start off by testing your script with colleagues and friends. Is it interesting and understandable? Next you may want to storyboard your video. Do the cuts and transitions make sense; can you visualize how it will look? As well as being useful for usability testing, the storyboard should be an important part of your planning process. Next you should do rough cuts of the video. Do people want to see more talking head shots or fewer? Is the illustration of your material clear? Is the pace too fast or too slow? Are there any particular usability problems with specific segments of the video?

Please ensure that you thoroughly usability test your video, including a final test to ensure that your digital video file will play on a variety of computers.

This document draws and simplifies heavily on the Guides for Submission written by previous CHI and CSCW video chairs, originally published on the CHI ’99 Conference website. If you have any questions, please contact the video preview chairs at previews@chi2013.acm.org or the technical program chairs at technicalprogram@chi2013.acm.org.