Community planning meeting #5

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On  Sept 8, the digifest team and a bunch of devotees had an intimate community planning session on UCL campus. We had some fruitful discussions over coffee and biscuits, joined by some enthusiastic digifest newbies and a couple of veterans.

Some of the themes we were particularly focused on are online privacy and security, and there was a collective interest in having a panel discussing the issues in these topics. It’s also worthwhile for students to be aware of these issues as their online footprint and profiles can affect employability. Check out our digifest blog for posts regarding online privacy and digital footprint for a brief introduction to these topics.

Aside from that, we also had some great ideas from attendees, some of which we are already implementing in digifest, for example:

  • Geocaching of UCL campus for a fun treasure hunt
  • Using citizen science in technology or digital media
  • Crypto party (it’s happening!)
  • Using QR codes as a promotional material or in treasure hunts
  • Using “awesome box” as a feedback mechanism
  • Exhibiting student posters on Showcase Friday
  • … and lots more!

We are hopeful for more exciting community discussions such as this, so you are welcome to join us!


YouTube Workshops: Production on a Shoestring

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Welcome to our third and final post in the YouTube workshop series!

This session deals with the dirty stuff: actually making and shooting the video, the equipment and tools needed, which can cost an arm and leg.

But for us who can’t afford to spend a few thousand quid, here are some basic gadgets and softwares you need to produce more than decent videos.


Image from

Get a DSLR for superb, high-quality HD images. YouTube Space runs on Canon, but Nikon and Sony are also decent brands to go for. Amongst the recommendations are Canon’s ‘nifty fifty’  lens, which is a nice, affordable lens. The Canon EOS 600D has a flip screen, which is great for individuals working on their own. This allows them to face the camera and actually see how it comes out.


Image from Visual Science Lab

Lighting is important to produce a clearer footage. Some of the lights you can use:

  • 1st light – lights the best side (diffused)
  • 2nd light – dimmer on the other side (diffused)
  • 3rd light – aimed at back of the head to lift subject off the background (hard light)

All lights should be high up. Cheaper alternatives to lightings are:

  • Windows
  • Reflectors
  • Chinese lanterns lampshade (ikea Regolit)

Make use of what you have if you can’t afford to spend money on proper equipment!


Always use an external mic especially for DSLRs

Rode camera mic is the best for close ups

Or alternatively invest in:

  • Zoom h1
  • Zoom h4n
  • Omnidirectional condenser mic


After you’ve produced the raw footage, it’s time to edit you videos. Invest in a good editing software, which can range from cheap to really expensive:

  • Adobe premier (£18/month)
  • Adobe Creative Suite (£46/month)
  • Final cut pro (£200)


Another tip is to add colour effects to black to create moods and make your video more appealing. They also recommend nice round S curves for colour and contrast

So there you go, the more economical basics of video production! We must say mobile film making is the most economical of all, though of course the result does not compare. Check out our mobile film making journey and the finished product!


YouTube Workshops: Comedy Writing

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Welcome to the second video of the Youtube workshop series! This session is on comedy writing, delivered by Mark Douglas of The Key of Awesome.

In the words of Bill Cosby, good writing never goes out of style.

Mark gave us really useful tips on comedy writing and roping in audience to share some good laughs

Length: 2-3mins is enough (especially for comedy). YouTube audience has short attention spans and anything longer than that will lose them.

Here’s his 3:03 minute long collaboration video with AmericanHipster:

Preparation: Have a solid plan for your video to help you get organised. However, be prepared to improvise as things naturally happen. It’s helpful to try a lot of improv beforehand to practise. Try doing stand-up comedies to get yourself used to it.

Set a deadline: It’s quite difficult to get creative on demand. However, setting up a deadline helps you to get your creative juices flowing.

Appeal to the audience:

  • Do behind-the-scenes shots and out-takes to draw audience; bloopers are always fun to watch!
  • Respond to comments on camera
  • Give your audience a job at the end: “what should we do next? You decide!” It straight away takes the audience’s mind of what just happened & focuses on the next thing

Check out our post about YouTube creative strategy that could help with this!

The little details: Make the most of your thumbnail and meta data. This could influence whether viewers would click on your video based on the small details they see. Meta data is also useful for YouTube to index your content and bring it up in related searches.

Polish your skills: Take acting classes and practise your comedic talent!

And finally, enjoy this hilarious video that Mark recommended to us and see how they do it:






YouTube Workshops: 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy

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A few weeks ago, the digifest team headed over to Youtube Space London for some exciting events revolving around the various facets of Youtube production, from audience development, budget and content production.

In the spirit of both digifest and YouTube, we’re here to share what we’ve learnt!

The first in the Youtube workshop series is: 10 fundamentals of a creative strategy, presented by Jessica Elvidge. Since we’ve been dabbing our hands in video-making, this workshop is very useful in helping us build solid content and strategy for a successful YouTube video. A creative strategy is important to build a trajectory of audience views and ratings.

So what are the 10 fundamentals in creative strategy?

1. Shareability

Will viewers share your video? What will they say about it? what 10 words will your friends use to sum up the video? What do they think of themselves when they share the video? Make it compelling; be relatable, topical, valuable. These qualities can contribute to the shareability of a video, and in turn reach new audiences.

2. Conversation

Is there an element of speaking to the audience? YouTube is a social platform that is meant to engage viewers. Take a look at this video:

The conversational element in this video builds a direct connection between the people in the video and the viewers. It doesn’t have to be directly speaking to/looking at the audience, it can be a short greeting and introduction in the beginning of the video, or a thank-you at the end.

3. Interactivity

A great way to rope in viewership is to involve the audience and give them a chance to participate in the production. A few simple ways of doing this is to discuss comments from the previous video in the next one, or ask viewers to contribute their ideas and what they want to see.

4. Consistency

A great  way to retain viewership is to include recurring elements in your videos; it could be the same format, theme, schedule, tone, etc. This helps subscriber to understand the channel and keep them returning to it. Sticking to a consistent schedule of video uploads can tap into people’s routines and make them know what and when to expect the videos.

This channel’s theme is re-making movie endings as how they think it should be, and viewers are roped in as videos on other movies are made.

5. Target

Do you have a clearly defined audience? More specialised topics or issues garner a specific audience set, so if you were planning on making videos like these, make sure you tailor it to the right audience.

6. Sustainability

If the audience loved you videos, you can continue to make it long-term. But several things to consider is the time, budget and resources to make those videos.

7. Discoverability

How easy is it for the videos to be found through search? How can it be reached by larger audiences? This could be done by addressing trending topics, or producing videos on evergreen topics, i.e. things that people routinely search for, like this:

One of the great things about a how-to video is that sometimes people need to actually see the demonstration instead of reading them. And this is how you can attract audiences!

8. Accessability

How easy is it for new users to understand what’s going on? How much context is required? Roping in viewers early on in the series can increase understanding in follow-up videos.

9. Collaboration

Is there a way to feature guest stars from other channels into your videos? Collaboration-based videos is a very helpful way to grow your audience or subscribers, since there will be double promotion – one on your side, and one on the collaborator’s side. However, it is important not to collaborate for the sake of collaborating; make sure it starts from the right idea.

10. Inspiration

Is it coming from a genuine place of passion? Be inspired and passionate because if this is a long-term project, it adds more zing to your videos if you continue to love what you’re doing as you go along through it.

Happy YouTubing!

UCL Museums: QRator Project at the Grant

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Welcome to part 1 of 2 of our UCL Museums series, where we share how UCL museums use tech and digital things to revolutionise artefact documentation and enhance user experience. The Grant Museum is one of the two museums in the world that runs the QRator project – which is pretty awesome!

So we had the manager of the Grant himself, Jack Ashby, to chat about this cool project. Check out the video:

Basically the QRator project uses iPads for visitors to put their thoughts and interpretations of the museum objects, which then become part of the display. It’s also a good way to capture feedback – and the comments aren’t moderated so some people tend to go crazy on it and it will still be published.

Next up in the UCL Museums series: 3D scanning and printing at the Petrie Museum – stay tuned!

Tracking your digital footsteps

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Have you googled yourself? Is there any tidbits on your social networks that you don’t want your future employer to see? What kind of identity do you want to portray to them?

Recent studies found that 92% of companies use social media for recruitment. Check out these infographic stats by

Social Media for Recruitment - Infographic – Connecting Great Companies with Global Talent


With the increasing number of social media users and job seekers, it’s inevitable that companies turn to online profiles as another method to screen potential employees. You might have a perfect CV on LinkedIn with all your stud society and volunteering involvement records, but employers nowadays are digging deeper than the polished façade you put forth.

This means that photo of you doing the old tequila shot dare, a Twitter outburst on the pile of work your boss dumped on you, and whatever it is that’s lying around the internet waiting to be discovered.

ClubPay put it best: “Reviewing a candidates social media footprint can be very effective at forming a 360 degree view of a candidate. Offering much more than a traditional resume and references, you can obtain a more holistic view of “who” and individual really is.”

Your social media endeavours might just be the deal-breaker in the getting hired for your dream job

So before you bad-mouth your boss or post an R-rated photo, think of the image you’re portraying to potential employers. It’s basically just taking reigns of your privacy, controlling what you share and who you share them with.

Useful tips on maintaining a clean digital footprint

  • How your digital footprint could damage your employability
  • David Hopkins on digital footprint and employability

How much of you are ‘living’ online?

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Family dinner on Friday night. Party at the hip new club in town. A promotion at work.

The average online user in this day and age would have these events posted on Instagram, checked in on Foursquare, or tweeted on Twitter. These tidbits of information might seem harmless, but is that all there is to it? Check out this video:

It’s amazing how much personal information we put out there in plain view of the whole world, without even realising it. The idea of “privacy” is changing with the way we are using the internet, and many may not be aware of the security issues that come from being lax with your privacy.


Stats by Credit Sesame show that 80% of burglars use social media like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare in search for the next target. Posting status updates or tweets announcing a long vacation or uploading pictures of valuable things you own has been proven to compromise your “social security”.

Cory Doctorow, author of the novel Little Brother, said it well: “Privacy” doesn’t mean that no one in the world knows about your business. It means that you get to choose who knows about your business” (read more from his article on online privacy here).

This means controlling what you share online, who you share it with and how you protect what you share from unwanted third parties. Facebook allows selective sharing of status updates, photos and other posts while Twitter lets you put a lock on the door to your tweets. But there’s also your browsing and search history, eBaying, online shopping and sign-ups that require your personal information and allows your data to be accessed; so it is important to clear your data and be extra careful when revealing certain information online.


You know what they say, once you put something on the internet, it’s there forever…which means there will always be a trace of you somewhere even you think it’s not accessible to the rest of the world. This could lead to unwanted conversations in awkward situations…



Your digital footprint could well affect your employability. These issues are what we at digifest want to address; so don’t forget to visit our site and drop by our event to check out what we’re doing!

Useful tips on online privacy and security: