Make Your Own Video Essay


Why not make your own video essay? Here are some resources which we will continue to develop over time:

Decide if you will take a ‘media artefact‘ or ‘hybrid media production‘ approach


  • Media artefact = gathering audio visual materials produced by others, mainly available through internet searches
  • Hybrid Media = a mix of self-generated and media artefact methods

Here I advocate using the REPAVE method (adapted from Fyfe & Ross – REFRAME method – University of Sussex) which involves six main steps as follows:


Research: develop a research question or ‘intention’ for the project

Explore: preferred independent production methods ‘how’ you will produce the work and make explicit in the project contextual statement, i.e., hybrid production,
internet only research and archiving, mixed media production methods and preparation required

Primary materials: gather primary materials around the subject/issue and produce draft planning artefact, i.e., mind map, drawing, audio/video recording, painting, script or written summary

Translate the key points: from your creative planning research into a power point presentation of approx. ten-fifteen slides which summarise your planning pathway through the subject

Audio narration from the power point (or similar): develop an audio narrative from sections of the creative artefact and provide an introduction, synopsis and scope of the work with the conclusion to express the argument or thesis

Visual enhancement: gather indexical, oppositional, abstract or complimentary visual images, text, graphics to enhance your audio narrative into a structured visual activity

Edit the draft text: weaving the intention of the project between modalities using audio/visual information, provide an organised and academically focused text around the subject/issue using your preferred production methods

Distribute for teacher/peer feedback

Enounced Text: Complete the finished ‘enounced’ text with relevant details included, ID position statement and research question at the beginning of the work with bibliography and credits at the end (don’t forget in-text referencing for video clips).

Submit for assessment or academic consideration i.e., conference presentations, journal inclusions and good luck!


This is a challenging and complex area and the considerations are legally dependent on each individual project. Conduct your own research and do not be ‘put off’ by the challenge which is grounded in the legal ‘exception’ outlined on the UK Government’s website:

The purpose of this exception is to allow students and researchers to make limited copies of all types of copyright works for non-commercial research or private study. In assessing whether your use of the work is permitted or not you must assess if there is any financial impact on the copyright owner because of your use. Where the impact is not significant, the use may be acceptable. If your use is for non-commercial research, you must ensure that the work you reproduce is supported by a sufficient acknowledgement‘ ( “Exceptions to Copyright”).

If you are unsure how to proceed, discuss your proposed project with a legal advisor or your institutional copyright’s expert. If you think using an item, photo, video clip or sound recording may be legally problematic – then don’t use it and source an alternative!


Here I have developed what I define as a ‘Curated Digital Research Catalogue‘ which is (from recent experience of producing VE’s) essential to document and ensure you meet the legal requirements as outlined above.

Here is an example of the simple word document I produced which I found invaluable for referencing at the end of my video essay projects:

I used: TYPE : DATE ACCESSED : NAME : SOURCE : IMAGE as headings, gave every image a unique name and included a thumbnail image which is necessary when dealing with hundreds of images!

You should consider IN-TEXT referencing for use of any video clips and include all the artefacts you have accessed in your reference list at the end of the video (credits).

You should organise your credits similar to any written essay and adhere to scholarly conventions. We use MLA referencing for the journal if you are thinking of making a submission.