Video Production: Filming a Story

Posted November 12, 2008 from Kenya

Joanna Duchesne, with additional writing by Liz Miller, Sukanya Pillay and Yvette Cheesman

This chapter invites you to start fi lming with your camera as soon as you can—the more you practice, the easier it will become. You will learn about technical aspects of your camera and equipment, different types of shots, and tips on how to fi lm stable, well-composed, and compelling images. The chapter will steer you towards preparing your own video project, and show you how to film sequences and interviews, develop characters, and build a story. There are also exercises designed to help you try out what you have learned. Don’t wait until you are confident—your skills will develop as you work.

In some cases we talk about the grammar of film and video, and conventions that are used, for example, in framing shots. Think of these as a writer would grammar—in general you should abide by them, but once you know them, you will also be able to break the rules effectively.

To produce social advocacy video, you must play many roles. As you prepare to shoot, you must think accurately and objectively like a human rights monitor, technically like a camera and sound technician, sequentially like an editor, as well as like an advocacydriven storyteller. However, you don’t need to do all these jobs—remember that most films are made with a team, and are not completely individual efforts. When you are filming, if possible have people to help you with logistics, sound, and camera (and translation if necessary), and consider hiring an editor to bring a fresh eye to the project.

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