Documenting Human Rights Violations in Challenging Environments

While video cameras provide the most high quality footage, sometimes it is safer or more feasible to film with your mobile phone. If that’s the case for you, then here are a few tips to make the most of your mobile filming experience:

Basic Techniques

  • Know your device: Try filming ahead of time to practice.
  • Keep your hands steady and pan slowly – focus on filming.


  • Choose the highest quality setting your phone can handle. Each phone is different, so practice with it to determine how you can maximize your quality and ensure the phone has the needed memory capacity to capture an event.
  • Set your settings to save your media clip to a memory card, not your phone (Buy a large memory card!).


  • Film short videos.
  • Focus on key actors and events.
  • As best you can, capture the who, what, where, when and why.
  • If it is safe, get in close. Your image and audio will be better.
  • Conduct interviews with witnesses to get context of what is happening.
  • Record yourself in the moment describing what happened and as many details as possible from where you are at. Include the date and time, as well as what you are feeling.