Using your mobile phone to film human rights abuses is not always as simple as pointing your camera and hitting “record.” WITNESS wants you to have the know-how to film safely and to effectively capture events as they happen.
Check out How to Film With a Mobile Phone for a quick guide to best practices when filming with your phone. Other useful tips and practices can be found in our Video as Evidence Basic Practices and the Filming Protests and Police Abuse Guide.
See below for WITNESS-tested equipment and apps that can take your mobile filming to the next level. And please remember before filming to always consider the safety risks to you, and the safety of potential bystanders and victims of abuse you may capture onscreen.
Disclaimer: The majority of this equipment is formatted for iPhones and Androids. See product descriptions on distributor sites for more information on compatibility. A product feature on this list does not mean an endorsement of the manufacturer, developer or retailer by WITNESS.
Microphones and Sound Equipment
Match high definition with high quality audio- especially when filming in crowds or busy areas. Even in low-lighting, audio can help expose incidents of abuse or serve as a way for interviewees to share their story while concealing their physical features.
Rigs and Stabilizers
Phone rigs allow you to stabilize your video while providing space for the attachment of additional equipment (mics, lights, lenses). The addition of a rig allows you to create steady high-quality video.
You may want to consider the variety of affordable attachable lenses for a more polished video quality. When filming for human rights, a clear image is key to identifying perpetrators, location, and sequence of events.
Capturing detail is pivotal in human rights footage and lighting can help by improving the quality of your video. If you are planning on shooting in locations that may be low light or at night, you should consider adding a mobile filming light to your rig.
Recording high volumes of video will quickly drain your phone battery. To ensure you do not miss the chance to capture important information, we recommend that you keep a portable charger on hand to re-charge your phone as needed.
Original, compelling, and verifiable footage helps investigators, justice systems, and storytellers speak truth to power. Apps like ProofMode* can help make sure that you can verify your video’s authenticity, establish a chain of custody, and preserve original files. After securing original files and creating a copy, you can use editing apps to create powerful narratives for storytelling and advocacy.