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7 Tips to Ensure Your Video Is Usable in the Long Term

December 3, 2011 Projects, Resources No Comments

In collaboration with Witness, Activist Archivists have compiled a set of tips for video activists can take to ensure their work will be discoverable over time.

Tips for Making Your Videos Discoverable and Usable in the Long Term

 1. Collect details while filming. Turn on date, time, and location capturing features on your camera, or film a piece of paper with this information written on it. Record noteworthy pieces of information like street signs, clocks, badge numbers, or state them verbally on camera. Record names and consents on camera or in a separate document, if safe to do so.

2. Keep your original raw footage, unaltered. If your video might have legal evidentiary value, keep your original raw footage, even after it has been uploaded. Organize your offloaded material (e.g. by date and/or creator), but do not delete or alter the original filenames or directory structure. Make a backup on a separate medium. Keep this material secure.

3. Make your video discoverable. If safe to do so, upload copies of your video or share as a torrent. The key is to make your video findable by others. Make your titles descriptive (e.g. name of event, date, location). Tag your video with OWS, OccupyWallStreet, and other keywords — search for videos like yours to see what tags others are already using.

 4. Contextualize it. Your uploaded video is more useful if people know what it’s about. Use description fields to describe what happened before, during and after the event depicted. Include names, dates, and specific locations. Add a URL for a relevant website leading to further information.

5. Make it verifiable. Enhance the verifiability of your video. Tag and describe your video (points 3 & 4 above) so that it can be easily compared with other documentation of the same event. Consider upload sites that allow you to upload/share untranscoded files (e.g. torrents, Internet Archive), or that allow you to be contacted (e.g.Vimeo).

6. Allow others to collect and archive. Share your uploaded videos using a Creative Commons license. Archives around the world are scraping videos from upload sites for safekeeping, but usually only ones they can legally collect. Consider depositing your original raw footage with a trustworthy archive. If your video has evidentiary value, a trusted archive can help maintain a reliable chain of custody.

7. Or archive it yourself. There are many benefits to working with an established archive, but if you want to do it yourself: 1) Save the original footage or the highest quality output, 2) Document the footage/videos with descriptive information, 3) Organize your videos by date or source, 4) Make back up copies on quality hard drives, stored in separate locations, 5) Check your saved files at least once a year. See the Library of Congress’s Personal Archiving site for more information.

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