20 Seconds Science

How to make a video?

So, you want to join the contest? Awesome! Here are some tips and tricks so you can make the best video!

How to video

Challenge: Film your research with your smartphone and show what your scientific work is all about! But remember: You only got 20 seconds!

Some tips for making the video


  • Before you start filming think about the essence of your research: For whom is my research relevant? What is the purpose? Where does the research take place? How long have you been doing your research? And especially Why is your research relevant? 20 seconds seems a lot but remember: time flies! Keep it short.
  • Keep in mind that your movie is for a broad audience. Your well-educated neighbor (think Matthijs van Nieuwkerk / Humerto Tan) should understand your story.
  • Show the problem you are working on
  • Introduce your scientific approach


  • Use (for example) your smartphone for filming
  • Set your smartphone to high definition quality. Most of the mobile phones can record in HD
  • Film in widescreen (i.e. hold phone sideways) 
  • Check the lighting, especially check for backlight
  • If you move the camera, do it slowly (unless you want blurry images)
  • Be aware of the wind and other ambient noise when recording audio


  • Make an animation
  • Make use of a time-lapse
  • Use scientific experiment/measurements and other relevant objects


  • Use audio and visuals effectively
  • Look at examples!
  • Use a stopwatch or timer to check the final length of the video
  • Use royalty free audio and visuals

Note: The examples all include the 20 seconds science timer and end-screen. These will be added by the organization, the ticking sound