This is part of our blog series highlighting a new set of Video For Change Best Practices, also available in Arabic. Please share these with your networks and help make them better by leaving comments below or tweeting to @WitnessChris or @RajaAlthaibani. Thanks!

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Regardless if you are uploading unedited or edited footage, it is essential to provide the following information so your footage can be found and coordinated with other footage. Before uploading, do a search for related videos and news to help select useful title and tags – always tag your videos when sharing them online! Select a Creative Commons license when uploading so others can remix your video for advocacy purposes, and so it can be collected and archived by others.

Tips for Sharing and Uploading Your Video

  1. Title with intention: Keep titles brief and descriptive. Add date, location and time. Use words that are commonly searched and relevant.
  2. Always describe your video: Include date, location and details of what happened BEFORE, DURING and AFTER recording. Consider starting with a URL for viewers to find more info, e.g. – 20 January 2012 – Homs, Syria –then the full, detailed description of the video and any relevant websites.
  3. TAG YOUR VIDEO: Always add these tags -> date, time, city, and specific location. Use relevant tags and common tags found in related searches.
  4. SAFETY or SECURITY CONCERNS? If you think faces need to be blurred or feel the video may harm someone’s case or dignity, think twice before uploading.
  5. SAVE AND NAME YOUR VIDEO: Do not rely on YouTube or other sites to save and preserve your footage – it may be taken down and valuable technical information is lost in the upload. Save original footage to your computer and back up to an external hard drive. Name your files in a structured way so you can quickly find and search for footage days, weeks or years later. If you are storing video you did not record, work to determine and document any information you can – who recorded it, YouTube account, date, time, location and any related information.

Remember: Always save your footage to a safe and secure back-up device and use a system to make your media searchable. If you have evidentiary footage, ALWAYS save the original and unedited version separately and include detailed source information of who shot the footage.  See our Video for Change Training Curriculum resources for more details and step-by-step guides.

Last Tip: Translate your description and add additional non-Arabic to have your video more findable and useful by non-Arabic speakers. You can quickly copy and paste your description into to enable more people to see, understand and share your footage. It is worth the extra three minutes.

5 Things to Check Before Uploading

☐ Yes, there is a descriptive title with the date, time and location in it.

☐ Yes, there is a detailed description of what is in the video, with information of what happened before, during and after the video.

☐ Yes, there are tags to help people find the video.

☐ Yes, there is a website link or links in the description for viewer to learn more (either about the specific incident, like a news article, or related information and videos).

☐ Yes, there is a Creative Commons license or instructions on how others may or may not use the footage.

Special Considerations for Evidentiary Video

With each video, you should keep a document that tracks key, essential information related to the video. In addition to date, time, location and any descriptive information about what is in the video and the context, you should follow these steps.

  1. Document the source: You must be able to identify the source of your video footage, meaning the person who did the recording and their institutional affiliation, if any, as well as the date, time and circumstances of the recording. Use code names and words if necessary. If you do not know or have this information, note as much detail as you can – For example: YouTube user name, date of upload and any related information and videos from the incident.
  2. Never edit the master: If you are saving your master copy digitally, save it in a dedicated folder with essential information to accompany it and mark it is Master-Do Not Edit’. Then, you can copy the master file and create a “submaster” to edit with. If it is a tape, keep your master copy in a safe, climate-controlled
    environment (ideally with steady temperatures of 68º Fahrenheit and 30% humidity), and make a copy of the master that you can keep and edit with.
  3. Track everywhere the footage goes: You must be able to establish the tape’s whereabouts, and who had access to the footage at all times since the time it was recorded. This is the “Chain of Custody” and will support the evidentiary use of your video.

This video reviews some of the tips above:

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