YO’s How to produce an award winning Surgical Video

 By Royce Chen, MD.

Royce is the Helen and Martin Kimmsel Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Residency Program Director at Columbia University Medical Center and Attending Ophthalmologist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, United States.

 When submitting a surgical video, keep your objectives and audience in mind. Are you trying to describe a new technique? Are you showing a crazy complication?

To be successful in a video competition, empathize with the reviewers, because they have a finite amount of time to look over many submissions. It is not difficult to see why they could get bored easily during the judging process, because everything starts looking very much the same after a few entries. They could also find errors and bad video quality annoying. To grab their attention, you need to showcase something that is different from the others.

So, what are the characteristics of bad videos, and what are the characteristics of good videos?

First, the bad (the 4Bs):

  1. Boring: either the subject, or the content. Do you watch silent movies in the cinema?
  2. Bad quality: low resolution, out of focus, and/or not centered video
  3. Boasting: either it is a novel technique that was done badly (i.e. worse than the standard), or calling something novel when it is actually not…
  4. Bloated: too much extra content that doesn’t contribute to the point of the video

Now, stick to the 5Ss of good:

  1. Stunning: give them great quality high resolution video and audio as well as a well-executed production
  2. Sound good: a well narrated video with good and appropriate music will put you in good stead
  3. Skillful: outstanding surgical technique must be demonstrated
  4. Short: the video needs to be well-edited with no time or footage wasting
  5. Special: this is the most challenging – your video must be memorable and unique

If you can avoid the bad and stick to the good, congratulations, you will have created a high-quality video!

Some final pearls to help you look for the killer case presentation:

  1. Start with good content
  2. Record as much as you can – you never know when an interesting moment may occur!
  3. EDIT! – crop the video and edit out all the filler
  4. Narrate loudly and clearly
  5. Use text strategically in the video to guide the viewers
  6. Watch a lot of videos and see for yourself what makes a good video
  7. Make it memorable