Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Around Your Library in 90 Seconds

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Around Your Library in 90 Seconds

Article excerpt

Scenario: Your library is amazing, and you want to give everyone a 2-hour tour.

Problem: No one wants a 2-hour tour.

Solution: Create an informative virtual tour that showcases your incredible library.

I work in a 45,000-square-foot academic library. It spans three floors and is packed with diverse spaces and technologies. A focused tour can take 30 minutes, and although most visitors enjoy the tour, those who need it the most are the least likely to participate: new students. So I decided to create a virtual tour (VT) that would be brief, informative, and engaging. I wanted students to be able to learn about the library on their own time and online. Here's how you can do it.

Getting Started

Divide your project into three sections: preproduction, production, and postproduction (earth-shattering, I know). But each section is important and builds on the previous one. If you move too fast, you will likely make mistakes and create more work for yourself later in the process. Preproduction includes brainstorming, drafting scripts, and a complete visualization of the project; production involves using equipment to actually create the multimedia content; and postproduction includes editing, special effects, music, and preparing for future changes.

Preproduction: What to Do Before Pressing 'Record'

Scripting-Write the script first. Sit down with the rest of the library staffers and discuss which items, locations, and services should be included in the VT. Remember that the purpose of the video is not library instruction. At some point during the meeting, you will likely have to ask the reference librarian to leave because he or she will keep suggesting that you include research tips. After the brainstorming session, organize your notes based on the physical locations they refer to within the library. Then, you can begin writing the script that will be used to record the narration.

The script should reflect how the VT will move through the building. Don't bounce around to different locations, because that will confuse new patrons. Put yourself in their shoes and create a script that moves logically through the library. After you have drafted it, circulate the script among your team for feedback. It should be concise and easy to understand. The script is your foundation, so make sure it's solid.

Storyboarding-Storyboards are an essential component of video production, because the process forces you to consider every detail of your project. You can create a storyboard with words or pictures. The format of the storyboard is not important as long as you visualize every shot you want in your project. I chose to storyboard with words, and I chose to include it within the script.

The storyboard should include details that most people would consider incredibly boring. That's part of its purpose. Walk around your library and make notes about the shots you want included in the VT. Stand where you envision setting up the camcorder and move your head as you plan to move the camcorder. What do you see that you want to include or remove from the shot? Write it down.

Consider the lighting, unwanted reflections, the season, background noise, and even the placement of trash cans. If your library has many windows, make sure you shoot during the day when the weather is calm and clear. You can shoot in the evening or during inclement weather, but keep in mind that continuity will be more difficult to achieve. The VT should look as if it was made during a brief period of time.

Do you want the library to be open or closed when you shoot the video? If you want the library to be open, get permission from anyone who appears in the video (including staffers). If people are included in your VT, it will be more challenging to shoot and edit, but it will also give it a more realistic feel. I chose to shoot mine while the library was closed because I wanted it to look computersimulated, almost like a video game. …

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