Documenting Human Rights Violations in Challenging Environments

While you probably know how to use a video camera, you might not know some of the best practices journalists use to produce quality video recordings. Following these simple guidelines can mean the difference between an amateur video and a professional-quality recording.

Guideline Strategy
Record the date & time
  • Include the date and time on the video itself (written in text over the video).
  • State the date and time while you’re discussing your topic.
  • Film a newspaper, watch or mobile phone that explains the “when” to your audience.
  • Keep track of your shots with specific time and location to help you to easily save and edit your media.
Record the location
  • Film a landmark or street sign.
  • Explain where you are filming through narration.
Establish Context
  • Narrate essential information, including the 5Ws+H (see earlier lessons for explanation of this crucial concept).
  • Explain your issue and angle.
Record the Details
  • Capture relevant details from a scene that explains what is happening, who is present, etc.
  • Narrate your video to explain context and add noteworthy facts.
  • Capturing people’s faces can be a positive addition to a video, but can place subjects in danger—make sure your video recording will not undermine the safety of these individuals.
Film with Intention
  • Try to keep the video steady – use slow camera movement to allow your audience time to understand a given scene, and to make sure you don’t make your audience dizzy.
  • Get as close as possible to the scene while maintaining your safety.
  • Record each scene for at least ten seconds for editing purposes.