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Video Visionary Award – Education Recipient: The Brain Scoop

by RealPlayer on July 15, 2013

Video Visionary Education The Brain ScoopLast summer we announced the RealPlayer’s Video Visionary Award – Education. The award recognizes those who are using video to create world-class educational content for the masses. We’re happy to announce the next recipient of the award is The Brain Scoop.

The Brain Scoop began as an educational YouTube channel just this past January. Hosted by Emily Graslie, The Brain Scoop offers “behind the scenes” coverage of natural history museums. Initially the channel was filmed in the University of Montana Zoological Museum (UMZM), but after accepting a position as Chief Curiosity Correspondent for the Field Museum in Chicago, Emily and the show relocated to film on site.


Emily’s personality and expertise can be viewed in, “Most of a Bear,” her favorite episode to date.  This Brain Scoop episode captures the entire collection process of a zoological specimen. It begins in the field gathering the specimen and goes on to further show the cleaning methods, all the while educating the viewer the entire time on specific bones and what these bones can tell as far as health issues that may be exhibited or even age.


We recently caught up with Emily Graslie, the writer and host of The Brain Scoop, to learn more about the organization’s video program. We asked her a few questions about creating The Brain Scoop videos and how using this media makes such a big impact with her audience.

RealPlayer (RP): How long has The Brain Scoop been producing videos?

Emily Graslie (EG):  We launched on January 14th, 2013- so, about 6.5 months.

RP: What gave you the idea to use video to help educate people?

EG: Hank Green approached me when I was a volunteer at the University of Montana Zoological Museum and asked if I wanted the opportunity to host my own YouTube channel about the work I was doing there. The world of museum work is largely misunderstood and/or overlooked, so online video seemed like the perfect venue to share my experiences with a large audience. We’ve been using the videos to inspire a love and passion about natural history, wildlife, and biology ever since!

RP: How do you decide which topics to cover and should people view them in any particular order?

EG: Some ideas are time sensitive and we need to film certain projects sooner rather than later – the wolf videos, for example. I received notice that Fish, Wildlife, and Parks wanted to donate a wolf to the UMZM, so we had to shift gears in order to fit that process into our filming schedule.  For the most part all of the videos can be watched in any order, but some topics do relate to one another and overlap in terms of content. It’s ultimately our goal to create a cohesive channel that supplements science education at any level of the learning process, so interrelatedness is important.

RP: Have you found a video style more effective than others?

EG: Our specimen preparation videos are quite popular, but it really depends on the audience you’re asking. Some people are not interested in watching dissections, while others only care to see the ‘gross’ explanatory material. We try to create content that can appeal to either, or both types of viewers.

RP: Can you tell us about the video team?

EG: The Brain Scoop is made possible by myself with the help of Michael Aranda, who is my film guy, editor, director, producer, and collaborator. The show would certainly not be possible without him! Our Executive Producer is Hank Green, who initially helped us launch the channel and get it running. We are all close friends outside of the work we create together and I feel very fortunate to be able to work with both of them.

RP: Where can people go to learn more about The Brain Scoop and spread the word about the video services?

EG: You can follow The Brain Scoop’s tumblr, where I elaborate on the topics and address other things not covered in the show – and feel free to follow me on Twitter! We’ve also got a Facebook page.

Click here for instructions on how to nominate a series of educational videos to receive a Video Visionary – Education award.

What do you think of The Brain Scoop’s videos? What’s your favorite video? Is there a specific specimen you would like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below.

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