Co-creating an engagement video: how difficult can it be?

Being video production novices, we had some reservations about our ability to co-create a public engagement video when the idea was first suggested. However, we are fans of hands on learning and it was nice to put our minds to such a creative project. What could possibly go wrong?

The aim of the video was to raise awareness of the DoMore study. Examples were shared and our initial reservations dwindled. DoMore is all about co-designing a new intervention in partnership with children and young people who use a wheelchair and their families, so this seemed a great way to start.

We needed a team of children and young people who use a wheelchair to be the stars of the show, and some placards they could hold explaining the study. Also, we needed a film crew and a location.

Nathan, a lay member of our study steering group, was enthusiastic and to get going. He checked and approved the placard text and made an excellent suggestion of using “I like to move it” from the Madagascar soundtrack as our background music. We approached children and young people from the West Midlands Clinical Research Network Young Persons Steering Group, young people who had previously taken part in research and in PPI (public and patient involvement) activities and families who’s children attend schools that accommodate for children with physical disabilities.

DoMore is a Birmingham based study, so we selected iconic city centre locations that were easy to reach by public transport and that were largely wheelchair accessible. We plotted a route between them for filming. As we filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic, we arranged rendezvous’ to meet our film stars along the route in 15 minute intervals, avoiding them needing to wait around or move around the city. We employed Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical illustrations department to film and edit.

Some key challenges we faced:

  • Not succeeding in getting a response from the record company holding the rights for “I like to move it”.
  • Recruiting our film stars. We had a handful of volunteers who did an amazing job. However, in hindsight, it might have been better to film this virtually from home as this would have made it easier for people with disabilities to take part.
  • Geography and parking. One family got lost then weren’t confident about finding parking to meet us, so unfortunately had to drop out which was disappointing for all of us. Again, filming participants at home would have avoided this.
  • After producing the video, a recently recruited PPI representative suggested it would be more accessible if basic sign language interpreting and clearer subtitles were added for anyone with a visual impairment. This is being done retrospectively, but editing it in would have been easier if it had been planned from the outset.

Major successes included:

  • Filming early in the morning on a sunny Sunday, so streets were quiet.
  • Raising awareness of DoMore by spontaneously engaging some members of the public in our filming!
  • Not missing out any placards and completing filming in a couple of hours.
  • Posting placards to Manchester so our study champion, Paralympian Hannah Dines, could be involved.
  • Having enough helpers to meet the next family (leaving longer intervals between meetings may have worked even better….).
  • Smiling film stars doing something new with their weekend.

Nathan has kindly shared his thoughts about co-producing the video.

“I believe that the DoMore video provides a great opportunity for the study to connect better with the participants.

Young people often prefer sharing social and cultural experiences with others via videos on apps and platforms.

The experience of making a video for DoMore was very satisfying as it is the first step on a long road to empower disabled people to engage with physical activity in an entirely new and more independent way. Hopefully, the video can be used to send a message of empowerment and hope to many non-ambulant disabled young people . Some of them might be struggling with the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

I would like to conclude by thanking Marilyn for making it possible for us to record the video, and Clever Together for assisting in its distribution via our DoMore study website.”

Marilyn Bradbury is the Chief Investigator of the DoMore study, a senior physiotherapist, and a National Institute of Health Research Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow Fellow. She is studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, supervised by Prof Joan Duda, Dr Sally Fenton and Dr Sue Neilson. Nathan Giles is a Lay member of the DoMore Study Steering Committee.

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