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Guide for activist videographers

Last update: Mar 11, 2022

In this guide for videographers, you will learn how to shoot videos for activist movements. Recording videos of protests is a great way to share your message with a wider audience on social media, YouTube or television broadcasts.

This page is an adaptation of the article written by Joao Dujon Pereira in 2020 published on Action Skills.

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Shooting for social media

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Shooting for news media

Media agencies rarely run a story longer than 1 1/2 mins for their news feeds, so there for they do not require a lot of footage in order to edit their story.

What shots to share

News agencies require very generic type of shots these including:

  1. Master Establishment Shot.
  2. Close Ups of people involved in the lock on/action.
  3. Any sensational footage (security interaction, violence, police searching).
  4. Pieces to camera from the the protestors locked on, explaining why they are doing it.
  5. Cutting off the lock on by police rescue.

If you are not sure of what video to add, quickly look at some news footage to get an idea.

The best thing to do following an action, and as soon as it is feasibly possible is to go through the video rushes and select between:

  • 8-10 videos of between 10- 20 secs. The 10-20 secs is crucial as it allows top and tailing for the editing. If you have a large video file, select the best part of it that shows the story. If you have a piece to camera it can be longer, but use discretion.
  • Donโ€™t add anything that you think they will not use, and make sure you pick the best quality footage you have.

Media codecs & exporting

  • Donโ€™t mix interlaced and progressive footage into the same file. If you have two (2) different source footage make two (2) different exports.
  • Always export sequence footage out as exactly the same as the codec you filmed. If it was filmed at 1080p export as 1080p, if filmed as 1080i export as 1080i, if filmed as 720p export as 720p.
  • When exporting, export as .mov NOT as .avi. It is ok to export as H.264 but in .mov file.
  • Export with a bit rate higher than 12,000mbps (this is broadcast requirement)
  • Place one (1) sec of black between each video file in sequence, to allow media agency to cut each section cleanly.
  • Check audio in each file. If there is an audio (people speaking which is considered dubious or could be utilised in a negative way, remove audio from the video)


Do you have experience with video editing? Add some tips & tricks for your fellow rebels here!

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