McGill Library’s new orientation video

In order to improve the reach of our library orientation, this year we decided to supplement our traditional tours and workshops with a series of short videos. The first of these, the general orientation video, went live yesterday, and I think it is wonderful!

This video came out of the work of the Library’s orientation committee, of which I am a member. The committee is made up primarily of liaison librarians from across the Library, but also includes myself as well our communications officer. We began working on this at the start of the year (January? February?) and the result is far better than I had originally expected us to be able to pull off, especially since this is our first attempt at creating videos like this. Don’t let it be said that nothing good ever came out of committee work!

My personal involvement was mostly in the initial planning and story-boarding stages. We started by thinking about the kind of video we felt would be most effective: length, style, tone, etc. When then began to iterate through the content, starting with a brainstorming session of most of the things we could talk about but then reviewing and editing the content down so that we had only the key points that wanted to get across.

We then started to put that content into storyboards, to discuss the visuals and copy we would use to communicate each point. When we were done, we had the foundation for a good orientation video.

At that point, our communications officer took over the production process and worked with some of the very talented staff we have in the Library to get the images and video, record the voice-overs, and produce the final video that you see today.

(Full credits are listed at the end of the video.)

I wasn’t involved in the production process at all, and so only saw the video for the first time when it was almost done. I was surprised by how professional it was, not because I don’t think my co-workers are talented but because I know how hard video production is, how hard it is to get all the small details right. I also know how busy the people who worked on this are: video production isn’t their main job responsibility (not even close), and they all have so many other projects and work going on. It wouldn’t be too much of an overstatement to say they did this work off the side of their desks, which for me makes the accomplishment all the more impressive.

As I said before, this is the first in a series of videos to help people learn the ins and outs of the Library. Subsequent videos will be much shorted (around the 30 second mark, if I remember correctly), and will cover most of the main points that we would normally cover in our Getting Started workshop. If this first video is any indication, I expect these will be a big hit with students and will be a great resource that will see a lot of use throughout the academic year.


Leave a Comment