DemLabs blog

Photo of Leisha Evans taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters from Wikipedia

A powerful image can tell a full story without a single word.

Organizers, however, often lack the skills needed to shoot such videos. WITNESS and Video4Change meet this need. They provide training resources to shoot powerful videos whether at a rally, protest, town hall or police action. Here are some of their recommendations.

Assess your data and internet connection at the event.
Have a trusted contact's info stored or handy.
Password protect your phone - avoid TouchID.
Charge your batteries and free up storage space.
Encrypt or delete sensitive data if there is risk of confiscation.Ensure a good shot
If safe, move closer to record details - avoid zooming in.
Keep the sun and any additional light to your back.
Keep your shots steady and hold for 10 seconds.
Get in close for good sound.

Film the details
Document police or protester violence.
Film identifying details like police badges, license plates, weapons, etc.
Also film hateful chants, signs, threats, etc.
Make the video easier to verify by filming street signs and landmarks.

Film the action
Get a variety of shots to show protest activity and the size of the crowd.
Anonymize protesters by filming feet, backs or with blurred focus.

Tell the story
Add context and capture personal stories through interviews with consenting marchers.
Ensure those you film are aware of how and where the video will be used.
Discuss potential safety risks.
If anonymity is needed, film their hands, cover their face or use editing software.
Protect your media
Store the original files in a safe place.
Share a copy with a trusted friend via email, text, or hand off the media card.
Always consider your own and others' safety before sharing the video publicly.Source: Witness

Revisiting your impact statement 
Return to your aims and objectives to guide your edit. Bear the audiences in mind, including how they will access the film. This will help to determine the length, style, tone and creative choices of the film.Consent after editing 
Editing can have significant impact on how a person or situation is perceived, and the way a person or situation is represented may change throughout the editing process. Provide contributors with an opportunity to view an edited version of their footage — final consent can be sought once a rough cut of a finished video has been produced. Letting them decide whether they are still comfortable and willing to be included is a vital stage in the process.

Copyright and Copyleft
Apply a Creative Commons license to your content. Creative Commons licensing — a public copyright license that allows for free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work — offers different options for being able to share a video online, while offering protection in terms of how it can be used (e.g. non-derivative, non-commercial usage).

Action planning
As a result of the filmmaking process and screening events, there will be ideas of what should happen next. Create space for recording ideas, and for planning and implementing action. This could include further screenings, or action that is inspired by the film.

Source: Video4Change

"Democracy Dies In Darkness", says The Washington Post. Skilled organizers can dispel the darkness with their videos.
Co-Founder, DemLabs
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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.