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  • How to Produce an Award-Winning Surgical Video

    Royce Chen, MD, shares highlights from his recent session for young ophthalmologists who attended APAO 2018, Feb. 8 to 11 in Hong Kong.

    When submitting a surgical video, keep your objectives and audience in mind. Are you trying to describe a new technique? Are you showing a particularly interesting complication? To be successful, you need to empathize with the reviewers.

    • They have a finite amount of time to look over many different submissions.
    • They get bored easily because everything starts looking the same.
    • Errors and bad video quality will annoy them.
    • Something unique and different will pique their attention.

    The Bad (The 4 Bs)

    These are some of the key characteristics of bad videos. Avoid:

    1. Boring content.
    2. Bad quality: This can include low resolution or being out of focus or not centered.
    3. Boasting: Calling a technique novel when it is actually not or performing a novel technique poorly or worse than the standard technique.
    4. Bloated: Too much extra content that doesn’t contribute to the point of the video.

    The Good (The 5 Ss)

    The best way to avoid making a bad video is to aim for the following five characteristics of a good video.

    1. Stunning: Great video and audio quality and overall production.
    2. Sounds good: Narrated well and contains good music.
    3. Skillful: Outstanding surgical technique.
    4. Short: Well edited without any excess fat.
    5. Special: Memorable with a unique angle.

    If you can avoid the bad and stick to the good, you will create a high-quality video.

    Final Pearls

    • Start with good content.
    • Record as much as you can — you never know when an interesting moment may occur.
    • EDIT! Crop the video and cut out all the filler.
    • Narrate loudly and clearly.
    • Use text strategically in the video to guide the viewers.
    • Watch a lot of videos and see for yourself what makes a good video.
    • Make it memorable.

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    About the author: Royce Chen, MD, is an assistant professor of ophthalmology and the residency program director at the Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute of the Columbia University Medical Center.