How To Film Protests: Video Tip Series for Activists at Occupy Wall Street, in Syria and Beyond

Posted on April 30, 2012 by Chris Michael

The thousands of human rights-related videos being created and shared – from raw documentation of human rights violations in Syria to the Occupy protests and the range of police abuse and misconduct therein – illuminate the role that citizen video is playing to not only inform us but also to motivate us to take action.

Now more than ever we need to ensure that the footage that we capture as activists incorporates essential information like the exact date, time and location so it may best be used by the media, as evidence, and for advocacy.

Additionally, we need to pay special attention to the unique safety and security risks that we face as filmmakers and activists, as well as risks to those we capture in our footage. For example, in Syria we’ve seen the general practice of filming protesters from behind to ensure they are not identifiable when footage is played back at a slower rate.  This is exactly what the Iranian government did during the Green Revolution in order to identify protesters, frame by frame.

Watch and Use Our “How-To Film Protests” Video Series

To support activists who we cannot train and work with directly, we’ve created this five-part video series with support and insights from a wide range of video activists, including allies in Syria. Each video is approximately two minutes long, and will soon be available in Arabic.

Watch these five videos in the series:

  1. Prepare to Film
  2. Choosing The Right Equipment
  3. Filming Protests in a Team
  4. Capturing Quality Image and Sound
  5. Conducting Interviews

This series, along with our Video for Change tips, incorporates the best practices we’ve developed with over 300 partners in 80 countries over the past 20 years.  They also work to address the unique real-life challenges we’ve discovered in the last year working with and training exceptional activists – particularly those throughout the current epicenter of #video4change – the Middle East and North Africa.

Whether you’re filming tomorrow at the May 1st Occupy Wall Street protests or just want to be prepared to best use your camera if you are in the wrong place at the right time, watch these how-to videos to be prepared to capture good footage that will be engaging, informative and could be used potentially for advocacy and evidence.

Let us know how you’re using the tips, and what you would add to make them even better by adding comments to this post.

5 Additional Video for Change Resources

  1. Video for Change Toolkit: Develop a Plan for Your Advocacy Video
  2. Top 10 Tips for Filming Protests and Police Activity:  Occupy Wall Street Edition
  3. InformaCam+ ObscuraCam: A Mobile Phone Application that Blurs Faces While Filming and Helps You Make Your Subjects Aware They are Being Filmed
  4. WITNESS’ Video For Change Curriculum: Remix to Create Your Own Training
  5. How to Film a Revolution: A video guide by Occupy Wall Street activists

See even more resources in the Training section of our website.

Be Sociable, Share!

Switch to our desktop site