University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Getting creative with video

It's very easy to get carried away and just run around wirth a camera, but you'll be much more productive if you start with an idea of what you 'could' do before you start. It's much easier to be really creative if you have goalposts to aim at. 

There are many ways you could tell your story - here are just a few examples of formats you could try out. 

Vox Pops

Vox Pops

Vox pops, (from the latin 'vox populi' or 'voice of the people'), show a collection of short clips from many people to demonstrate a snapshot of public opinion, allowing the viewer to reflect on the diversity of views.


  • Make sure your subject is something that people will actually have an opinion about.
  • Remember people are busy and you're aking up their time. Pick a question that's likely to spark their interest so that they have a clear opinion rather than needing to think about it for ages.
  • Ask open ended questions, so that you don't get answers of 'yes' and 'no'. "What do you think of....?" rather than "Should xyz be allowed?"
  • Avoid leading questions, like "Any sane person would want this banned. Do you agree"
  • Keep your quesions short and easy to understand
  • Keep some spare questions to hand in case you get someone who doesn't have an answer, or better still has lots of answers

(Adapted from BBC Vox Pops for radio training module)


Role plays

Role plays

In a role play, the 'actors' but take on the identity of another person in an imagined scenario. A small group then improvise what might happen between these people.

  • Work out detailed descriptions for each character and their role.
  • Imagine all the circumstances of her or his current life, past history and all of the things that might affect how s/he behaves. This will help you to get into character.
  • Nobody is perfect, make your character human with flaws, it'll make for a much more fun person to play.



  • Everyone knows what an interview is. The key to creating a good one is to ask the right questions.
  • It's important to ask open ended questions that your guest can actually answer and that draw out more of the story. More info.
  • Prepare these in advance and try them out on your friends first.
  • You'll find lots of practical tips on how to prepare on the next page - planning ahead

Documentaries & 'mockumentaries'

Documentaries & 'mockumentaries'

  • Documentaries
    The point of a documentary is to 'document reality', to make a piece that portrays a set of facts, or makes a case for an opinion by laying out the evidence - a visual essay setting the scene, presenting your case and coming to conclusions or asking further questions. You don't have to just read a script along to pictures. You could also include interviews, role plays and vox pops as part of the story.

  • Mockumentaries
    This a humourous parody in the form of a documentary. Remember though that the point of this is for your viewers to learn about the issue. Use comedy to make a point, rather than the point of the video being to make comedy.

  • Tip
    Once you've decided what to do, write a rough script. Find someone who's not involved in your project and read your script to them out loud, without any further explanation or descriptions.  Now ask them to tell you in one sentence what the message of your story is.  If they can't tell you, or are vague at all, then look again to see if you're being really clear about what your story is actually saying.

Top tips

  • Know what you're going to do before you start.
  • Write it all down. It'll help organise your thoughts and flag up all sorts of issues you may not have thought of.
  • Even a basic script that you improvise from will be easier than working without one at all. 
  • Keep it short - 2-3 minutes will be long enough to tell a story, but short enough to keep it snappy and to the point

Next: Planning ahead

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