Our latest YouTube video for Cancer Research Demystified came out yesterday, and it attempts to answer this very tough question: what is the single greatest challenge in cancer research?
Here’s a little behind the scenes look at how the video came to be!
I’m still not back to working in the real world post COVID19, so Hayley and I are mostly making separate videos this year, but finally we are both on screen ‘together’ again, as she recorded a clip for this one from her house! To pull the video together, I combined mine & Hayley’s thoughts on the topic with those of our internet friends, along with the key strategies of some of the leading funding bodies. The response to this lofty question across Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, this blog, LinkedIn and my various DMs was fantastic and really enjoyable to read – everyone had their two cents, from researchers, students and clinicians to patients, advocates and the funders themselves. So many opinions were expressed that one thing became immediately clear: this is not something we all agree on! I attempted to pull together some common themes, which in my mind fell into a few subdivisions of either biological challenges, or research barriers.
How long does it take to make a CRD video?
I’ve been asked this question a few times, so I thought I’d use this video as an example and go through each of the tasks: The question I was asking for this video was open for answers for approximately one month across our different online platforms. Input from me asking this question in different places throughout this month was probably a combined total of 30 mins – nothing huge. Once all the answers were in, I spent about three hours one evening collating them (i.e. lots of screen shotting!) and trying to find common themes, as well as making the summary PowerPoint slide which I would use as an anchor throughout the video. Filming took about two hours one Saturday, followed by approx. five hours of editing – including re-recording some bits that didn’t make sense.
The rough cut, which contained all the bits I wanted to include initially, was about 75 minutes long – I clearly have spent too much time lecturing this term and was enjoying the sound of my own voice too much!!
The final edit was about 20 mins long – much more palatable I hope!
Export, upload and writing social media descriptions took a couple of hours that Saturday evening. Release the next day and sharing everywhere took about an hour. All in all this adds up to about 13.5 hours of my personal input for this video, give or take.
I would say this is on the light end of average for a CRD video. Some of our videos are miraculously conceived, edited and uploaded within one evening session of 3 hours after work on a Tuesday (6 human hours, since there would usually be two of us), but this is extremely rare! Generally we spend one evening planning, one evening filming and starting to edit, and a third evening finishing editing and uploading, so more like 18 human hours. Our first few videos back in 2016/2017 needed to be re-recorded several times, as we were awkward on camera, unpractised at getting everything we needed, and not working particularly efficiently yet. I’d say the longest was one of our early videos about blood samples – which must have been over 50 human hours, or at least it felt like it…
My favourite part about making this video was reading through all of the answers we received, particularly on Twitter, Reddit and Instagram. This turned into a whole conversation, and it was great to see so many researchers, patients and advocates discussing their views on cancer research. This is exactly what we have always been hoping to achieve with CRD.
My least favourite part was when I saw that the rough cut was 75 minutes long… that is just too long for a YouTube video, too detailed, too rambling, and I knew I’d have to work hard to cut it down to an acceptable length. I ended up cutting out my description of each of the 9 grand challenges that CRUK are currently trying to fund, which was detailed and took a fair amount of effort to pull together. It’s never fun to leave science on the cutting room floor! I think it was worth it in the end though.
If I could change one thing about this video, it would of course be that I wish it was filmed in the lab with Hayley. Maybe that will happen again one day, if I can get my hands on a vaccine….
I think that covers all the ‘behind the scenes’ for this video. Please watch it if you get a chance to, and share with any patients, carers, advocates or students you know who might like to find out more about cancer research!
Here it is!