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almost 6 years ago

Making a great submission video

We know you’re laser-focused on your data visualizations and apps right now, but don’t forget about your submission video. It’s the first thing that judges and voters will review. Your text description and video should explain the methodology you used to derive your data-driven insights, and should also explain how your insights could help improve U.S. high school graduation rates.

A good video tells the story behind your submission, providing a clear and concise explanation of what your solution is and does. Here are some tips and a list of screencasting tools:

  • Establish your elevator pitch. In the first few seconds of your video, explain why your solution is awesome. You can get into the details of how it works later on in the video, but treat the opening seconds of your video as you would a movie trailer or TV ad: pique your audience’s interest.
  • Show, don’t tell. Showcase your solution’s key features by demonstrating them functioning on an appropriate device. The use of both audio and visual demonstrations are recommended to help all judges and voters understand your solution. Explaining what it does and how it works helps judges and voters understand and appreciate your product design.
  • Keep it simple. Per the official rules, your video shouldn’t be much longer than five minutes. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
  • Uploading takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute to upload your video. Due to file size, format, and your Internet connection, uploading a video to YouTube or Vimeo could take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
  • Get organized. Write out a script of what you’ll say and demonstrate in your video and rehearse it before recording.


We’re here to help. If you have any questions about the hackathon, post on the discussion forum or email and we’ll respond as soon as we can.