Section 5: Audio and Video Products

AHRQ Publishing and Communications Guidelines


First Steps
Budget and Timeline
Format and Contracting Considerations
Additional Information

   Appendix 5-A. Video Consideration Checklist
   Appendix 5-B. Audio Consideration Checklist
   Appendix 5-C. AHRQ Public Service Announcement Release Form
   Appendix 5-D. AHRQ Talent Release Form
   Appendix 5-E. Technical Guidance for AHRQ Video Projects


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) produces numerous video and audio products every year. Staff in the Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) have experience producing these products and will assist AHRQ project or task order officers or other AHRQ staff who are considering developing a video or audio product to convey an Agency message. AHRQ staff must consult with the appropriate member of OCKT staff to discuss whether a video or audio product is an appropriate medium for delivering a message.

Before beginning any work on a video or audio product, you should be able to answer basic questions about your proposed product, such as its purpose, audience, and funding. The checklists at Appendix 5-A (Video Consideration Checklist) and Appendix 5-B (Audio Consideration Checklist) can assist you in creating your product. The information below covers details that must be addressed.

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First Steps

You must be able to:

  • Define what you intend to accomplish by creating the product, including the message you hope to send.
  • Articulate what will be gained if the product is created, such as saving lives, reducing the incidence of a common medical error, or training on a technique.
  • Identify the problem or issue being addressed if the product is to be used for training.
  • Demonstrate how the message aligns with AHRQ priorities.
  • Provide a rationale for why video or audio is the best way to convey the message.
  • Provide a means of evaluating the effectiveness of the product.
  • Show that there is funding to produce your product.
  • Show that there is no existing video or audio product about your message or topic that is in use.
  • Identify a receptive target audience, and identify how you believe they will use your product.

You also should have some idea how long the product will be valuable, or its "shelf life." For a product to be cost effective, the information it conveys should be useful for at least 1 year.

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Budget and Timeline

Video and audio projects are expensive and time consuming and should not be initiated without a clear budget and timeline. You should ensure that you have a funding source that includes money for pre-production, including scripting; post-production, including captioning and transcripts; and duplication, including packaging. For example, all video products must be closed captioned (or subtitled), transcripts must be provided for all audio (regardless of the format), and any slides used in an Internet product must contain alternate text descriptors in HTML.

You will need to determine the number of your final products needed as well as the distribution plan. If the product is tied to an event, the production timeline needs to reflect the date the product must be in hand. OCKT can assist with this planning.

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Format and Contracting Considerations

You will also need to consider format and contracting issues before embarking on video or audio production, including product length, features such as interactivity or animation, availability and cost of background (b-roll) video or music, and hiring actors. OCKT staff can recommend video production vendors that have created successful products for the Agency.

Video and audio products require reviews at both AHRQ and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If approvals are required from multiple sources, you should determine at the outset who the reviewers will be and how they will review the product (for example, as a group or individually). OCKT, working with you or a designee, will obtain clearance from HHS. Departmental requirements state that the clearance forms must be submitted by OCKT through specific channels. All of these reviews and clearances should be reflected in the project's timeline.

Because spoken messages are very different than written messages, you should work with OCKT staff members with specific experience in the spoken word to author the product's script. This will save time and money and ultimately will produce a more satisfactory product. If you choose to have a contractor create the script, OCKT staff members must review the script and rough cuts to be sure they meet Agency standards and requirements.

Every person who appears in the video or audio product must sign a talent release form that permits the product to be distributed. The type of release used is determined by the person's role in your product. OCKT staff can assist you with releases. Samples appear in Appendix 5-C and 5-D.

Specific disclaimer language and the AHRQ-branded logo (which OCKT will supply) must appear on all video products and packaging that AHRQ distributes. If the product is being produced and distributed through a grantee, the grantee information also must be included. Any material that carries the AHRQ logo or is identified as a product of the U.S. Government must comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Contractors, acting as agents of AHRQ, also are required to comply with Section 508 requirements, and specific language about compliance should be written into contracts or task orders. For example, all video products must be closed captioned (or subtitled), transcripts must be provided for all audio (regardless of the format), and any slides used in an Internet product must contain alternate text descriptors in HTML.

Note: Although some video, audio, or Web products initially may not have been intended for U.S. Government use, once it is given to the U.S. Government for further distribution or official approval, it must comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. OCKT can help you comply with these Government requirements. Appendix 5-E provides the latest format requirements for video products. Contractors are urged to consult with OCKT on format requirements before beginning a video product.

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Additional Information

To discuss specific projects or to obtain additional guidance on audio or video products, contact:

Karen Carp
Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer
Phone: (301) 427–1858

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Page last reviewed August 2014
Internet Citation: Section 5: Audio and Video Products: AHRQ Publishing and Communications Guidelines. August 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.