Science Communication

Playlist of Science Communication Videos
This video playlist highlights the science initiatives I’ve helped produce.


I helped teach a science communication course, in Costa Rica, below is a course breakdown.
Click here for the blog entry.

Science Communication – La Selva, Costa Rica
Scientists and their research benefit greatly when they can effectively communicate research goals and dynamics to the greater public. The process of creating and delivering concise research statements for diverse audiences (media outlets, policy makers, funding agencies and students) benefits from the combination of the following:
– defining the audience
– developing the scope of the message
– defining the benefits and solutions of science research
– use of storytelling techniques
– use of journalism questioning techniques

This course will teach scientists to craft compelling stories about their research using video and digital media. Emphasis will be placed on developing and crafting effective and concise research statements using storytelling techniques. Participants will work in teams to create scripts, storyboards, shot lists and other assets, helping to organize the production of the video story. Emphasis will focus on crafting science video stories, communicating the importance and benefit of research. Participants will identify perceived challenges and will propose how their research provides solutions.

Students will learn the technical components to record quality video and audio. Post production editing will include building and layer media assets using Adobe Premiere Pro. Use of Public Domain assets and ADA compliance will also be developed.

At the end of the course, students will:
– Understand of how to communicate their research using storytelling techniques to create a compelling story that appeals to a general audience.
– Utilize the 3 phases of video production (pre pro, pro, post) to make a short film
– Develop pre production assets (scope statement, script, storyboard, shot list)
– Visualize and communicate concepts to team members and others
– Produce a short video using A/B roll editing

There are five class sessions in this compact course. Students will complete two, pre production exercises and three field production exercises. Two homework assignments will require students to brainstorm with their team and two reading assignments and discussions will be required.

Communication Resources:
Nature – “Two Minutes to Impress”
Physics Today – “Communicating the Science of Climate Change”

Media Resources:
WJF Productions – Tribute to David Inouye (Rocky Mountain Biological Lab)
Morgan Heim – Photographer and Motion Storyteller
A Fresh Asthetic – Short Science Documentaries
South Central Climate Science Center – Summer Internship Science Research Tour – Make a video abstract of your research
Language in NPR Radio Show “All Things Considered”


This course has been created with the help of the following:
La Selva, Organization for Tropical Studies
Jane Zelikova
Morgan Heim
William “Biff” Farrell

Reference resources:



SCI COMM Winter.2015
Day 1 – Jan 2, Afternoon (1-7pm)
Classroom Session 1
Course Overview, Goals & Introduction
Storytelling & Concept Design
– story structure | creating compelling stories | execution
– audience | POV | narrative options
– three phases of production (pre pro, pro, post)
– storyboards | script options | shot lists
15 minute break?
Deconstruct science video productions

Exercise 1
break into teams and storyboard a 30-second silent film
– Morgan and Biff help groups develop storyboards?
– Morgan and Biff quickly review storyboards before they shoot?

Classroom Session 2
Camera Work – Overview
– shooting a story | camera operation | deconstructing a scene
– pre roll & post roll | using multiple angles | cutaways matching interviews

**Homework: Students will brainstorm their approach for shooting the following day.
**Reading Assignment: Physics Today – Communicating the Science of Climate Change

This estimated time breakdown leaves an hour for questions, or other topic areas.



Day 2 – Jan 3, Morning (7am -12:30)
Classroom Session 3
Camera Work – Continued
– advanced shooting techniques
– camera set-up | framerate | color temp

Field Session 1
Students will shoot their 30 second storyboarded concept

Lunch (12:30 to 1:00)

Day 2 – Jan 3, Afternoon (1-7pm)
Classroom Session 4
Camera Work & Coaching Talent
– interviewing: formal & informal
– coaching: content and performance | getting what you need from talent
Presenting to the Camera
– crafting soundbites: talent can restate question in their answer
– kinesthetic control and body movement
– eye contact with lens, or with off-camera interviewer
– avoiding cardboard cutout performances

Field Session 2
Production: interview one of your teammates
Performance: practice delivering content to the camera

Classroom Session 5
Audio: collecting good ambient and narrative sound
Lighting: shooting in different lighting situations | using natural light – reflectors
Music: resources for music | licensing | public domain

Field Session 3
Shooting: collect ten good shots with special consideration for light and sound.



Day 3 – Jan 4, Morning (7-12:30)

Classroom Session 6
Editing and Asset MGMT
– introduce editing with Premiere Pro
– asset management | timeline overview | layering tracks
– three point editing

Exercise 2
Teams will edit together their 30 second shorts

**Homework: Teams will design and outline their concept, developing a rough script, storyboard and shot list. They will meet with instructors for collaboration and guidance.




*In the evening, students can come to an informal hangout where we can talk about their film ideas and answer questions.

Jan 5: By mid-morning, instructors will visit each team to review storyboards, making sure everybody is on the right track.

Jan 5-7: Basically, the rest of the time is spent continuously checking in and providing assistance and guidance to the teams as they film their projects.

Team members are encouraged to rotate through filling specific roles – directing, shooting, gripping, etc.
Producer, Cameraman, Sound & Lighting, Editor