Science Videos: Theory and Practice

Course description Science Videos: Theory and Practice
Year: 2018-2019
Catalog number: 7600HCSVT
  • mw. J.A. Reutemann MA
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 5
Level: 400
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • Yes Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places available for regular students. The course is aimed at third-year Honours College students. Because of the nature of this course the goal is to have at least half of the participants with some coding experience.


A number of leading scientific journals now encourage researchers to publish video abstracts alongside their peer-reviewed articles. Video-abstracts, scientific process documentations or research project dissemination are only a few of the new video-based publication formats, produced at Universities around the world.

Similar to written publications, video-based publications follow a certain argumentation structure and scholars need to master strategies of audiovisual rhetorics to excel in this format.
The language in videos differs from the written language not only by using moving images, but as well when it comes to storytelling, image-sound narration or time-based restrictions of the medium. Therefore, transitioning research into videos can have a strong transformative impact on the scientific content itself. Understanding the impact of different image-sound narration and potential fallacies is essential for young researchers utilizing video alongside their traditional scientific publications. Further, communication with videos is a skill-based knowledge useful for all students.

We will first establish a basic understanding of film and media science theories, and then dive into strategies for an audiovisual narration of the scientific content. In the second step, we will start to work on a case-based science video production, from the students’ own fields of study.
Therefore this class empowers students to leverage their own work from another ongoing project for the production.

Course objectives

The students:
- are able to describe the historical and contemporary discourse of scientific videos
- can explain the basic principles of the characteristics of videos
- can create individually or in a group their own concept for a science video within their field of study


Thurdays from 17.30 hrs to 20.00 hrs.

September 20
September 27
October 04
October 25
November 01
November 22
November 29
December 6
December 13 (Final Presentations, Video Screenings)


Old Observatory, room C006. Only on 1 November in room B006.


• Meeting 1: Introduction – State of the Arts (Lecture)
• Meeting 2: History of Science and Films (Lecture and Group Work: science video analysis)
• Meeting 3: Science Video Production Processes: Hands-on applied knowledge from Pre- to Postproduction (Lecture and Workshop)
• Meeting 4: Another Language: Affordances and Audiovisual Rhetorics of Moving Images (Lecture and Seminar)
• Meeting 5: Individual Mentoring, Project Development (Mentoring)
• Meeting 6: From Writing to Videography: Medial Transformation Processes in Science Videos (Lecture and Seminar)
• Meeting 7: Guest-Lecture: e.g. Michael Hellermann, Jean-Baptiste Gouyon or Virgilio Tosi
• Meeting: 8: Individual Mentoring, Project Development (Mentoring)
• Meeting: 9: Final Presentations of the Projects and The Future of Science Videos (Presentations, Plenum)

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 7 lectures: 21 hours
  • Seminars: 3 seminars: 9 hours
  • Literature and video reading: 30 hours
  • Assignments & final science video: 80 hours

Assessment method

  • 20% Active participation assessed continually through participation in seminar and structured activities
  • 10% Mid-term and end presentation of science video concept
  • 20% Develop a science video concept
  • 40% Create a science video

Please note: Attendance is compulsory.

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

  • Harun Farocki: Nachdruck/Imprints. Texte/ Writings. Gaensheimer, S. (ed.), Berlin, 2001.
  • Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Science and film-making, Public Understanding of Science 25.1, 2016.
  • Virgilio Tosi/International Scientific Film Association, Cinematography and Scientific Research, UNESCO, 1977.
  • Hannah Landecker, Microcinematography and the History of Science and Film, Isis 97.1, 2006.
  • Bruno Latour, Visualisation and Cognition: Drawing things together, H. Kuklick (ed.), Knowledge and Society Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and Present, Jai Press, Vol. 6. 1990.
  • Jean Painleve, Scientific Film, Science Is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painleve´, Andy Masaki Bellows, Marina McDougall (Hg.), Cambridge, MIT Press, 2000.


Further Literature (optional: only available in German):
- Michael Hellermann, Wissenschaft in Film und Fernsehen. Die mediale Morphologie audiovisueller Wissenschaftskommunikation, Berlin, 2015.
- Gesche Joost: Bild-Sprache: Die audio-visuelle Rhetorik des Films, Bielefeld, 2008.
- Ramón Reichert: Im Kino der Humanwissenschaften: Studien zur Medialisierung wissenschaftlichen Wissens. Bielefeld, 2007.
- Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, Ausbildung des Redners, Helmuth Rahn (Hg.). Darmstadt, (2011) [35-60 v.Chr.].
- Dirk Verdicchio: Das Publikum des Lebens: zur Soziologie des populären Wissenschaftsfilms. Vol. 8. Bielefeld, 2010


Enrolling in this course is possible from August 21st until September 6th 23:59 through the Honours Academy, via this link.


J.A. Reutemann MA