Photography & Video Guidelines
General Campus and Event Photography and Video Recording Performed by Drexel University Faculty, Professional Staff or Students on behalf of Drexel University
When photographing or recording video of an individual or group in a public venue or while attending a public event on- or off-campus where there is not a practical expectation of privacy, it is not required to obtain written releases from said individuals. This includes spaces on campus, such as:
- Sports fields or arenas, including the Daskalakis Athletic Center
- Drexel sponsored events
Individuals have a limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public spaces. Persons can be photographed or recorded on video without their consent. Exceptions exist in those cases when individuals have secluded themselves in places where they have a practical expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities and dormitories.
Certain forms of blanket notifications can help inform individuals who may be photographed that Drexel may use their image for internal purposes. In these cases the Drexel community may be informed via email, verbally or via clear signage that a video or photography session will occur on a given day in a public space, such as those mentioned in the above bulleted list.
*However, in cases in which a recorded video or photography is to be used for paid marketing purposes, Release Forms must be obtained.
*As a general best practice, requests of students and other community members not to be photographed or to be recorded in video, even in public spaces, should be respected.
Release forms must be obtained and maintained by the departmental unit, college or school that secures the image for the reasonable life of the image.
- For Advertising Purposes: It is important to obtain a Release Form from all individuals who are clearly depicted in any photograph or recorded video that will be used in any form of paid advertising, including but not limited to use in print materials, or social media posts that have been sponsored or otherwise promoted as advertisements. Other examples include use on billboards, buses, and digital ads.
- For Minors: For students or community members under the age of 18, a Release Form must be signed by a legal guardian.
- Faculty and Staff: While there is greater latitude to photograph faculty and professional staff than students in many contexts, it is still important to be respectful of privacy concerns. Inform faculty and professional staff that photos or videos are being taken and ensure there are no significant, unaddressed privacy concerns.
- Classrooms: Because there can be a practical expectation of privacy in a classroom, it is a general best practice to notify the instructor prior to video or photography and obtain Release Forms from all individuals present. *As a general best practice, requests by students and faculty and staff in a classroom setting not to be photographed or to be recorded in video should be respected.
Release Form [PDF]
Video Best Practices
Is video the correct medium?
The first consideration should be whether video is the best medium to convey your message. Video is not always necessary/appropriate for all projects. In some cases, a simple picture will suffice, as video production is both time-consuming and expensive.
In some cases, video is the best medium, such as showing a program/project in action, documenting an event, or even providing a more emotionally engaging narrative.
Consider how long it takes to produce a video, and how long you intend for it to be "usable." Since video production is time-consuming, it's a good idea to produce videos with a shelf life of at least 18 months. In order to allow a video to stay relevant for longer, stay clear of specific dates in the audio and in any footage of signs/etc. This will allow the video to last past the time of initial posting, and to be reused more easily.
Keep it short and sweet
Keep your videos short. Generally videos of 2 minutes in length yield the best "average time watched." People tend to stop watching videos (of any length) after this 2-minute mark, so it becomes ineffective produce videos much longer than this.
All individuals who are clearly visible in your video (ie. Interviewees, actors, etc...) should sign a release permitting the University to use their image and/or voice in the video. A copy of the release form can be found here Photo/Video Release [PDF].
Whenever using music in videos, it's important to legally purchase royalty free music, and to keep a copy of the license agreement for any song used (should there be a dispute).
When submitting videos to be added to Drexel's YouTube page, please be sure to include a copy of any music license agreement(s), should there be any future disputes.
Think about sound
Although video is generally thought of as visual medium, audio is equally important. To that end, any dialogue/voiceover should be consistently audible throughout the video. This includes being free of background noise. Also, don't ever let background music overpower any dialogue.
Pay extra attention to the sound characteristics of a room, and any external noise. It's always a good idea to avoid rooms with echo, loud air-handlers, or mechanical drone, as well as avoiding high traffic areas. These can all be distracting from the main dialogue.
Any text used in videos should be easily legible throughout the duration of its screen time. This includes appropriate contrast to the footage it is being placed over.
Videos should be horizontally oriented. This "issue" is mostly prevalent when taking videos with smartphones, as it is by habit that people hold their phones in the vertical orientation.
Title, Description and Tagging
Titling a video should not be a quick, overlooked task. You should title videos with words that are commonly searched.
Avoid including any old versions of the University's logo in your productions, both as added graphic elements or included in footage of campus facilities. If you are unsure of the correct logo usage, please refer to our University Identity Guidelines.
Anything you produce (photographs, videos, etc.) is an extension of the University, and in some cases, people's only interaction with the University. So it is important that anything you produce be of the highest possible quality.
Keep University Communications in the loop
It's important to let University Communications know that you are planning to produce any video that will go online and/or be used at public events. Please be sure to share any "rough cuts" of a video with UComm, before it is finalized. This is so you can ensure your video meets the University's standards. UComm can also be a great resource for you in developing any preproduction plans, including reviewing storyboards, scripts, etc.
Remember also, per the University's social media guidelines, be sure to consult with UComm if you are considering to create any new video channels (on YouTube, Vimeo, etc).