Queensland Women in STEM Prize

The 2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is now open for applications.

This state-wide competition is open to early to mid-career women working in STEM careers in Queensland with three cash prizes of $5,000 available to support professional development opportunities. The prize categories are:

  • Jury Award - for the most meritorious applicant as determined by the judges
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award - for the most meritorious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant chosen by the judges
  • People’s Choice Award - for the applicant with the highest number of public votes.

PhD and Masters students or women who have been in a STEM profession for less than 12 years are eligible to apply.

To apply, applicants must provide a written submission along with a two-minute video detailing their work, benefits for Queensland and their STEM engagement by 4 February 2020.

Check the 2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize website for more details.

Tips for filming videos

Script

  • Use simple, clear, plain English and avoid jargon and acronyms.
  • Have only a few key messages in mind which you would like to get across in your video.
  • Try to ‘pitch’ your idea in your first sentence. Explain the problem you’re trying to solve, or the ‘why we should care’ aspect of your research, similar to how TEDx or 3 Minute Thesis talks are scripted.
  • Use statistics or analogies to every-day life where possible.
  • Make sure the final sentence of your speech links to your initial statement or problem you are solving.
  • Practice/rehearse the script for your video in front of people who are not familiar with your work – ask them for feedback about content and delivery.
  • Where possible, use your media and communications team in your relevant organisation to assist.

Lighting

  • Standing outdoors or in front of a window on a sunny day will give you great natural lighting.
  • You may wish to stand on a 45 degree angle from a window, and position any white object (cardboard etc) off-camera on the opposite 45 degree angle, as shown in the illustration below:
Diagram of filming tips
  • You can use a second tripod, table, chair, or a helpful friend to hold up the white reflective surface.
  • You can also use this same set-up outdoors – this way you get the benefit of natural light and an interesting background without having to stare into the sun, or be cast in shadow!

Shooting

  • Make sure you film video horizontally, not vertically.
  • Use a tripod or ensure your assistant holds the phone or camera in both hands. For even better stability, ask them to lean against a wall or pillar.
  • If you can adjust the focal length/focus point on your camera or phone, you have two main options:
  1. Film with the foreground in focus and the background out-of-focus. This way you don’t need to have a very interesting background, or don’t have to worry about distractions in the background, as this will appear blurry in the film. But make sure that your face (specifically, your eyes) are in sharp focus, and you don’t lean forward and back as you speak so that you stay in focus. If your phone or camera auto-focuses on movement, make sure the sound the camera lens makes isn’t audible.
  2. Film with the foreground and background in focus. You may choose to stand in front of a prop, a bookcase with your favourite STEM books, something to do with your research, your lab, or a relevant or local landmark/location.
  • When you start recording, make sure to pause for a few seconds before speaking, and pause for a few seconds after speaking. This will make editing the beginning and end of your video much easier.
  • If anyone else is going to appear in your video, make sure you have permission to film them.
  • You can save your film in MP4, MOV or AVI file format.
  • Remember to stand/sit tall, lift your chin, look in to the camera lens and speak slowly and clearly.

Sound

  • Listen back to what you recorded while wearing headphones or earphones. This will make it much easier to hear the sound quality, and if there is any background noise you need to get rid of.
  • A refrigerator, air conditioner or computer can generate a lot of ambient noise, so move to a quiet space or turn these off where possible.
  • You may need to borrow a microphone if the camera or phone microphone is low quality. You could use a lapel microphone (pinned on to your collar), or a directional microphone (placed next to or above the camera, pointed at you).
  • If you use a microphone separate to the camera, make sure keep recording the sound on the original camera or phone as well. Then, when you start the recording, clap twice or make some other repeated loud, sharp noises before you start speaking. This will help you line up the audio track with your video track when editing.

Editing

  • Use a video editing program such as VideoPad for PC, Apple iMovie for macOS and iOS, HitFilm Express 12 for PC and macOS, and InShot or FiLMiC Pro for iOS and Android.
  • When creating your final video, you can insert visual aids (video/still images) of your work place, specimen, locations etc. to help the audience visualise your work and what you do.
  • Add captions for accessibility, if possible.