Photography and video production play a key role in the development and projection of the University's brand and delivery of its key messages. The photographers and videographers within the Division of Marketing and Communications are committed to providing high-quality products to highlight the many facets of campus life.

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 or a written message be better? Do you have the time, the staff, the equipment and the software you need to film, edit and produce a video?

There are many reasons to use video to convey your message such as:

  • Document an event
  • Show your program in action
  • Connect with your viewers in an emotional way, using a mix of music, still photography, narration and video communication

If video is the best medium for your purposes, the following standards are in place to ensure we are all communicating with one voice and that the Northeastern Illinois University brand is expressed in a strong, consistent manner.


Camera: No need to spend a lot on equipment; a less expensive DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera will work for most needs. In many cases, smartphones are capable of recording HD video. Read further for info on best practices for smartphone footage.

Tripod: A tripod is required for steadier shots. One with a “fluid head” is good for panning the camera across a scene.

Microphone: Use an external microphone instead of the camera’s on-board microphone.

Lights: Filming indoors will require adequate video lighting equipment. Beware of light from windows in the background. If filming outdoors, keep the sun behind you.

Other Considerations

Captioning: Closed captioning, also known as subtitling, is an on-screen/visual transcription of the audio portion of the video. Many video platforms, such as YouTube, offer automatic captioning, but this can often have 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 service. Note: As a public institution, Northeastern Illinois University is legally required to make all of our digital resources accessible.

Readability: ­­To ensure people can easily read words you put on the screen, keep these factors in mind:

  • Sizing: Many people consume video on mobile devices, so always test your videos on a smartphone.
  • Contrast: Make sure there’s proper contrast between the text and its background. Use NEIU’s color palette.
  • Lower Thirds: A lower third is a graphic overlay that is used to introduce and identify a subject featured in a video. It includes the individual’s name and title in a title-safe area of the screen.​ Note: Refer to our Brand guide on the appropriate font style and example.

Subject Release: Always obtain a Subject Release Form from any individual identifiable in the videos you share. This can be done via our written paper form or through email.

If your video uses non-University owned media, film clips or music, you must comply with all applicable copyright laws.

Where applicable, use the approved logo that best reflects the image and content being posted. Departmental, divisional and institutional logos are encouraged for posts pertaining to a particular area. The general Northeastern Illinois University logo can be used, however, if the content pertains to more than one entity, such as recruitment material or campus activities. Refer to the branding style guide for details on correct logo usage.

Video Formats

  • Acceptable formats are QuickTime (.mov) and MPEG (.mp4)
  • Resolution: High-Definition video at 1920×1080, or higher.
  • Audio format: MP3

Requirements/Best Practices

Decide in advance how you want to compose your shots.

  • The most common shot for a subject is the medium close-up. The medium close-up gives the feeling that the viewer is having a causal conversation with the subject.
  • To determine proper head room in a shot, apply the rule of thirds.
  • Make sure to record at least 10 seconds of extra footage at the start and end of the interview.

B-roll is the supplemental or alternative footage that is woven between the main video footage in order to add context or illustration.

  • Be sure to gather footage that relates to the story.
  • For best options, vary shot types, camera angle, focal length and compositions.

Options for software include the following:

  • Free programs, such as Windows Movie Maker (from Microsoft) or iMovie (from Apple)
  • Professional programs, such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, or Avid Media Composer.
  • The desired length of a video depends on its purpose. For web-based video, the accepted industry standard length is 2-3 minutes.
  • Videos should end with a Northeastern Illinois University branded logo that includes the department, program or University logo, a title, credits and copyright information (if applicable).

In addition to the general video guidance above, here are some guidelines for using smartphones for video content:

  • Stabilize all shots, whether you are using an Android or iOS phone. Handheld smartphone videos are not visually pleasing.  
  • Do not film directly into a bright window, especially when using a smartphone.
  • Make sure the location is free of background noise or fan noise when conducting interviews.
  • No vertical video unless filming for Instagram.
  • Remember the rule of thirds. Frame the subject in the cross sections for a better look.

Posting and Sharing Videos

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. You must adhere to all policies and procedures within Northeastern Illinois’ Social Media Policy.

In addition to the general video guidance above, here are some guidelines for social media video content:

  • Attention early: Have strong copy and footage that can be captivating. 
  • Don’t rely on sound: On many social media channels, content plays automatically with the sound off. If sound is necessary, try notifying viewers with a graphic.
  • Few captions: Write one thought per frame if possible.

Contact the Division of Marketing and Communications at with any questions or concerns.