Specifications for audio and video content
What you should request when briefing an external agency to provide audio and video content.
Specifications for audio
If you are creating audio content yourself or outsourcing its delivery from an external agency, it's important to make sure the content follows the correct specifications.
The sample rate is the number of samples of audio carried per second, measured in Hz or kHz. You should have your audio recorded at a minimum sample rate of 44.1khz. You can find more information on audio samples rates on Wikipedia.
The bit depth is the number of bits used for encoding each sample in memory. You should make sure you record your audio at a bit depth of either 16 or 24.
You should make sure any audio that is recorded is as free from room ambience and background noise as possible. Lecture theatres containing sound panels and with carpets, sofas or other absorbent material will help to minimise acoustic reflection and improve your results.
The volume, measured in decibels, should peak at just below 0 decibels without clipping (indicated by red markers on the volume meter).
You should make sure recorded speech is easily understood and there is minimal sibilance (hissing sounds during speech).
Specifications for video
If you are creating video content or briefing an external agency, make sure you use the correct specifications.
The resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. You should record your video in high definition (HD) at 1080p, Quad HD or 4K.
Video should be recorded in H.264 video format and saved at the highest resolution possible. You can then convert your video to different formats for different uses. For examples, you should save your video as an .mp4 for use online.
Video should always be recorded or cropped in post-production to an aspect ratio of 16:9 (widescreen).
Make sure videos commissioned from external agencies are delivered in their entirety, including all raw footage, graphics and the Final Cut Pro/Avid video session file. The University of Bath should be the sole copyright owner.
Videos should be delivered with the appropriate subtitle file (.srt) to ensure accessibility. If subtitles aren't provided you can create them yourself with various free software including Subtitle Edit, VisualSubSync or Subtitle Workshop. You can also add subtitles on YouTube or buy subtitles in other languages.
Make sure that if music is used in your video, the recording and publishing rights have been signed off or are owned solely by the University of Bath.
Choose a visually appealing thumbnail for videos hosted on third party websites like Vimeo and Youtube.
Before recording any member of the public it is important to make sure that they have signed a consent/release form and you have appropriately risk-assessed recording events. You can read more about obtaining permissions and contact the Data Permissions team if you have any queries.