A Practical Guide to Winning the BPS Video Contest

When the Biophysical Society announced that they were having a video contest, I felt very excited. The challenge was to explain what biophysics is and what it means to me. I thought that it was an interesting task because it is important to communicate science to others, especially the general public. I knew what biophysics meant to me. So, how could I convey that in video format?

First, coming up with the storyline. In order to connect with the general audience, I decided to have “real” persons in my video. My story was about a reporter who received an assignment to uncover the world of biophysics. This reporter interviewed some scientists, learned about the contributions of biophysics, and shared that information with others.
Second, writing the script. It is better to have a script to ease the video-making process. You should start with an outline. Think about certain elements that need to be in the video or certain questions that you are trying to answer.

Third, casting the stars of the video. After you have a script, you can cast your “actors.” To add credibility to the video, I needed to have faculty members as the expert source. Because the future of biophysics are the “young” scientists, I asked some post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students to be in the video. I also asked one of the high school students working in my lab to participate, so other high school students might be inspired to get involved in research. I cast people with different cultural backgrounds to show that biophysics unites people together. Everybody was really excited to participate, even our “future” biophysicist.

See the video:

Fourth, shooting and editing the video. The shooting of the video was quite fast. We did it in one afternoon. Ask your cast members when they are available and decide on the shooting schedule. It is harder to decide on the time when you have a large cast and you need to have everybody for a scene. You can use camcorders, cameras, or cell phones to shoot your videos. I used cell phones to shoot mine. Because I did not have any advanced video editing programs, I used Windows Movie Maker to edit my video.

Fifth, post the video and enter the Biophysical Society Video Contest. I created a YouTube account and uploaded my video. Then, I submitted my entry on BPS website. The format of the video URL for submission is the “share this video” link.

Because I felt that making the “What Is Biophysics?” video was beneficial, I passed on the challenge of creating science videos to my students as an assignment in my classes.

– Andy J. Wowor, Ph. D


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