Promotional Video Guide

The information and resources on this page are provided by the Marketing Committee to aid project planners and content producers in understanding the requirements and recommendations of the Policy for Official Video and the SUNY Cortland Brand Identity Guide.


Accessibility considerations should be included in the planning and production stages of promotional video content. The resources below provide an overview of accessibility concepts, legal considerations and best practices for producing video content.  

Descriptive captions

Captions should be available for all video content that includes synchronized audio. In addition to describing speech, captions should be used to indicate when music is playing and when sound effects provide meaningful information.

Captions identify the speaker in cases where it may not be clear who is currently speaking or when the speaker changes.

SUNY Cortland was once again
ranked as a national "Best Value".

Captions indicate and describe when music has been added to the audio track.

For generic music:
[Upbeat pop music playing]

For a specific song, include the title and artist if time permits:
["Good Vibrations" playing,
by the Beach Boys]

After a song is introduced, lyrics are captioned verbatim.

I'm pickin' up good vibrations

Background noise is described in captions if it is included intentionally to help establish the setting.

[Birds chirping and leaves rustling]

Captions describe audible language as well as other meaningful sounds.

Welcome class of 2020!
[Enthusiastic cheering and clapping]

Captioning resources

Descriptive audio

Whenever possible, meaningful visual information should be described in the audio track. An alternate descriptive audio track may be used if including descriptive audio in the normal audio track is not preferable.


  • A how-to video showing the steps to access an important resource should include information in the audio track that describes the actions being taken.
  • A video with title slides that contain textual information should include the text of the title slide in the audio track.
  • Visual aids like charts and graphs should be described in audio so that the meaning of the visual information is available to all listeners. The entirety of data in a visual aid does not need to be in the descriptive audio track, but the essence of the data should be described.


  • A separate descriptive audio track may be used if it is selectable from the video player.
  • When planning a video project that does not include synchronized audio, such as a slideshow or a video backed by music only, consider adding a descriptive audio track to the project.

Descriptive audio resources


A descriptive transcript may be used as an accessible alternative for some content types.


  • An audio stream is published that does not include a synchronized video track. In this case, providing a transcript of the audio track is the preferred accessible alternative. The transcript should be published adjacent to the audio resource.
  • In a video that does not include a synchronized audio track, a descriptive transcript may be used as an accessible alternative if a descriptive audio track cannot be made available.


SUNY Cortland requires that faculty, staff, alumni and visitors to campus who participate in photo shoots, videos and audio productions sign the SUNY Cortland Release Agreement. Parents/guardians of participants ages 17 and under also must sign the release form.

Consult FERPA and HIPAA regulations before publishing content with sensitive information or personally identifiable information. Be mindful of these regulations when recording video in SUNY Cortland offices or clinics that handle this type of information.

Visual style


Use official SUNY Cortland colors where appropriate.

Typography and logos

  • Use the Agenda typeface for titles, headings lower thirds and credits.
  • The primary logo should always appear at the beginning and/or end of a promotional video.

Graphics and templates

For assistance with graphic elements and templates for video, such as lower thirds and title slides, please contact


The SUNY Cortland brand is much more than our logo, tagline, graphic designs, publications, etc. Our brand is our story, our reputation and all the associations that everyone makes with our university. The production quality of content published by SUNY Cortland is an integral part of the perception of the SUNY Cortland brand.

On-location considerations

Audio Quality: Clear, understandable audio is critical when recording a live speaker or group. Whenever possible, audio should be captured through a microphone such as a lapel or podium-mounted microphone. Audio that includes significant ambient noise or is too quiet will present an obstacle for many listeners, and makes the creation of captions difficult.

Video Quality: Plan ahead for the optimal location for the camera and be mindful of changing environmental conditions. Changes in lighting, traffic, audience, weather and other considerations may lead to a difficult recording environment.

Technical considerations

  • Use an HD source (1280x720 or higher) whenever possible, especially with streaming services like Vimeo, YouTube or Ensemble Video that use adaptive streaming (multiple quality levels).
  • Progressive/non-interlaced scanning is preferred over interlaced video, especially for streaming.
  • For videos with meaningful text or critical fine details, ensure the information is not difficult to read or perceive.

For more information on audio and video quality considerations, see the Web Accessibility Initiative website


Language is a powerful tool in communicating the SUNY Cortland message, particularly in our print and online communications.

By consistently incorporating messages that support the university’s initiatives and brand attributes, we reinforce to our audiences what we are doing and how they will benefit from a SUNY Cortland education and experience.

The tone or “voice” of all communication materials should be consistent. The tone can be serious, contemplative and inspirational so that the reader is encouraged to reflect on his or her life while considering how SUNY Cortland will change and enhance it.