Video Guidelines

About Video Content

GUP requests that authors provide signed video content with their written manuscript submission. The video content can be a signed summary of the work, signed chapter summaries, or other signed media. This supports the bilingual mission of Gallaudet University and makes the work more accessible to signing Deaf audiences.

Signed content also supports the signing ecosystem in an academic setting, elevating signed languages in scholarly discourse. In addition, video increases interest and engagement with the material.

Videos do not need to be professionally produced (but if you have access to a studio, even better). Please follow the guidelines below and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. Thank you for supporting language equity and access in publishing!


  • If you don’t have access to a high definition camera, the webcam on your computer will suffice. If the only video camera you have access to is your phone, make sure it is stable (on a tripod or table). Ensure that you are completely in the frame and that all signs are fully visible.
  • The videos should be in a signed language, not a spoken language. If you are not a fluent signer, please identify someone who can sign your video (preferably a native signer or a Certified Deaf Interpreter). If needed, connect with a colleague, your institution, or an interpreting agency to find a signer.
  • The video does not need to be in ASL. If you are fluent in a different signed language, or prefer to use IS, that’s fine.
  • All videos need to be captioned in English, or be accompanied by an English transcript. Captions are preferred. Make sure the captions are clearly visible and that they contrast with the video image. For example, do not use white captions on a light background.
  • We prefer to receive the actual video file (as opposed to a link to the video on YouTube). This allows us to preserve the file and present it using different platforms. We will post it on our YouTube channel, but we also have other options for storing and sharing videos.
  • When recording your video, be yourself. Don’t present to the camera; present to the viewer. Pretend you are teaching a class or giving a lecture.
  • The ideal video length is 2-5 minutes. If you are preparing a long-form video more substantial than a summary, we recommend frequent breaks, using different signers, and changing up backgrounds in order to keep viewer attention.

Technical Notes

  • Use a high-definition camera with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, ideally recording to a memory card. This will produce good quality future-proofed footage.
  • Mount the camera when filming. Shaky handheld footage is not only hard to watch but won’t encode easily due to the large amount of random movement.
  • Check your lighting. Modern video cameras work well in low light but tend to introduce gain amplification into the image if the lighting is too low. This adds video noise into the picture and can make it more difficult to edit and encode due to the lack of contrast. Best results will be achieved through adding broad soft lighting rather than harsh spotlights.

Choice of Filming Location

  • Film in a quiet location with simple backgrounds.
  • Think carefully about what is in the background. Don’t film in front of a window as you run the risk of becoming silhouetted on the video. If you can’t avoid the window, shut the curtains or blinds.
  • If filming outside, don’t shoot with the sunlight behind you or you run the risk of appearing in shadow. It is better to arrange the camera so that the sun is lighting the person from the front and to the side.

Framing, attire, and shot size

  • Make sure that there isn’t unnecessary headroom above the signer’s head. Ideally you should imagine the screen split horizontally into three equal portions with the eyes appearing on the line between the top and middle thirds.
  • Make sure the person filming, or the phone/webcam, is far enough away from the signer so that the hands are never cut off and all the signs remain in the frame.
  • Wear a solid color shirt that contrasts with your hands.
  • Don’t wear a lot of jewelry as it can be distracting to the eye.

After filming

  • Keep a backup of the media, making sure you have the video files in two places at all times—for instance on your computer and on a cloud storage platform such as Google Drive or DropBox. Make sure this is done before deleting the clips from your camera or memory card.
  • Some cameras record in formats that can be edited natively (you can simply drag the clips from the memory card onto your computer and begin editing). Alternatively, the footage from some cameras will need to be “ingested” into your computer – usually through a software application that comes with the camera. In the latter case you won’t be able to edit the files until they have been imported correctly.
  • iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are capable of producing very good edits with easy addition of text. At the higher end, software like Apple Final Cut and Adobe Premiere are very powerful creative tools. In general, you should accept the default video standard that your editing software suggests. There are many different formats but most modern software will simply optimize for the format you recorded in.

Exporting and encoding

  • The ideal delivery format is a video codec called H264 or MP4. This is a very widely used codec and produces very good quality video.
  • Your editing/encoding software might simply offer you the choice of small, medium, and large encodes, or refer to a delivery destination–for instance ‘iPad’ or simply ‘web’. In this scenario you won’t have very much control over the encode parameters and should simply pick the one that is closest to the ideal. For instance a medium-sized encode would suffice here for PDF while a largersized encode would be ideal for GUP to use online.

How to submit your files

Please deliver the files using an online file sharing service (Google Drive, DropBox, WeTransfer, etc). Ideally you would send the following:

  • The original video export from your editing software without compression
  • A medium sized encode in MP4 format at 640 x 360 pixels for PDF delivery
  • A large sized encode in MP4 format at the original screen size for upload by GUP for web delivery
  • While our preferred format for web delivery is MP4, we will also accept MOV files.

How will GUP use the videos?

The video files will be uploaded to our online video storage service for preservation. We will also upload the files to our YouTube channel, which is not only an easy way to share videos but also provides another pathway for people to discover the content. Within the print book, we place QR codes that link to videos on YouTube. We share the YouTube videos with the book announcements on social media and in our digital newsletter. The videos will also appear with the book on our website.