U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

EERE Communication Standards & Guidelines

Videos

A video is a file with visual and audio content. This includes most webinars. (Audio-only webinars have different requirements.) All videos must meet Section 508's requirements for accessibility.

Requirements

The following standards are required for all EERE videos.

Format Your Video for YouTube

Follow YouTube's guidelines for formats, frame rates, bitrates, and resolutions.

Determine if your Video Should Be Public or Unlisted

Videos on the U.S. Department of Energy's YouTube channel can be uploaded in one of two ways:

  • Public videos appear publicly on the DOE YouTube channel. They may also be added to the EERE video gallery or the video rotator on the EERE home page at the discretion of EERE Communications.
  • Unlisted videos are not visible publicly on DOE's YouTube channel, but they can be linked to or embedded on Web pages at the program's discretion. They will not appear in the EERE video rotator on the EERE home page.

Unlisted videos require no special approval. Once your video has been completed, follow the steps to upload your video to YouTube.

Public Videos

Public videos must be approved by the EERE Communications team, with consultation strongly recommended prior to production. Contact Paige Terlip to begin this process.

Public videos should be short (roughly 3 minutes) and designed for the general public. The media team will require that you submit scripts and/or rough cuts for review, and will usually require changes to your video content or branding in order for it to be approved. This may mean your project takes longer to complete and may significantly impact the final content. However, public videos will usually be more widely promoted, including on the EERE video gallery, the video rotator on the EERE home page, and on EERE's social media channels.

Upload Your Video to YouTube

To upload your video to YouTube, follow this process:

  1. Send your transcript to your Lead Contractor. Ask them to create a caption file from it. They should create either an .SRT file or one of the alternative formats outlined in YouTube's caption file documentation. This file will be used to caption your YouTube video.
  2. Send the following items to Charles Joyner:
    1. Your video
    2. The title of the video
    3. The caption file
    4. A short description of the video. This will be used as the video's description on YouTube.
    5. Who is producing the video (ex. EERE Corporate, Wind and Water, Geothermal, etc.)
    6. For videos planned for public listing, request final approval via email from the lead you've worked with in EERE Communications to set the video public.
    7. Send this email confirmation to Charles. (All other videos will be posted as unlisted).
  3. The video will be uploaded to YouTube. You will be told when it is ready.
  4. In the Energy.gov environment, edit the page you will add the video to. You can add it to either the hero area or the body content. Click on "Select Media" (in the hero area) or "Add Media" (in the body content), go to the "Web" tab, and paste the URL in the "URL or Embed Code" box.
  5. Create a text version:
    • If your video is public and has been added to the EERE video gallery by EERE Communications, then the text version should be added to the video page in the EERE video gallery. See the Energy 101: Geothermal Energy video for an example.
    • If your video is unlisted, post the text version on its own separate page and link to it from beneath the video.
  6. Send the text version's URL to Charles Joyner. He will add it to the video's summary text on YouTube.

All videos must include both a text version and captions to meet Section 508's requirements. You may post a video with only one of these, but you should plan to add the other as soon as you are able.

Consider Alternatives to Videos When Necessary

All video files must have captions and transcripts. This includes webinars. If you need a more cost-effective option for posting webinars, consider one of these simpler approaches:

Post as an Audio File

Audio files only require a transcript.

Post the Slides or Transcripts

If you only post the PDFs or PPTs from the presentation, you only need to comply with the native file format requirements.

Best Practices

These standards are not required, but are encouraged for all site owners who would like a higher quality product.

Embed Videos on Pages

Your video should be embedded on a page with content about the video or its topic. Do not place videos in popups or link to them directly. If your video has been approved by EERE Communications it may be posted in the EERE video gallery and promoted in the video rotator on the EERE homepage at the discretion of EERE Communications.

All videos, whether embedded or linked to, must include a link to a text version.

Design for the EERE Identity

Clearly show that DOE, EERE, and/or an EERE office produced your video by attaching a watermark or by making its ownership clear through the content or dialogue.

Don't Start Videos Without User Input

Never have a video play automatically when the page is opened.

Formatting

When possible, your video should be:

  • One of these recommended resolutions:
    • 1280 x 720 (16:9 HD)
    • 640 x 480 (4:3 SD)
  • Kept in the original frame rate it was recorded in. The best quality videos are usually 24-30 fps.

Length

Studies show that viewers watching videos online have an attention span of approximately 3-5 minutes. Make short videos or break long videos into shorter segments.