This article was originally published in 2010.

So you’re running an arts project that has lots of participants, artists and you – the organiser – and you want some way to use digital video to document the process. It can’t mean a whole bunch of extra work though right? It has to be relatively easy and pain free… we’ve got some ideas!

Idea 1: Two minute interviews

Each day/workshop assign someone as the interviewer (it could be you).

At the end of day, each participant has 2 minutes in-front of a camera to talk about what they’ve been doing. They can say whatever they like, the only rule is that the video runs for exactly 2 minutes!

Make sure you’re extra careful about file management of the videos. Create a folder on your computer called “2 minute interviews”. At the end of each session, save all the videos to a folder with the date, eg “2009-02-19” (year-month-day) and rename each video to the participants name. Eg jane-smith.avi

Equipment

Best to use a camera that you can easily transfer the files to a computer with. Something that records onto flash memory or a hard-disk. Something like a Flip or even a better-model digital still camera that has a movie mode (and a mic of course!) (editor’s note: wow this article really is from 2010! Just use your phone!)

Pros

  • easy to do, no special skills required
  • casual, informal
  • Can give an insight into the perspective and attitudes of everyone involved
  • Gives everyone in the project a voice

Cons

  • projects with lots of participants will mean that the interviews could take up quite a bit of time at the end of the day
  • file management, there’ll be a lot of video footage at the end of your project. You’ll need a clever way to publish it or archive it (check out our Video Publishing guides for other ideas)

Idea 2: Hotseats

The hotseat performs as a daily diary with simple questions asked. It is performed at the end of each workshop with all participants and co-ordinators/artists.

Step by Step

  1. On the first day, decide upon 3 pertinent questions that you can ask each day. (ie What did you do today? What did you learn today?)
  2. Decide upon one additional question to ask only on that day. Each day, one day-specific question gets asked. This can be more fun and less formal than the other questions.
  3. Setup camera and frame subject. An interviewer stands to the side of the camera.
  4. Press record.
  5. The interviewer asks the agreed upon questions, the three that are asked everyday and the one new question for the day. The subject answers.
  6. Stop recording once the final question is answered.

Idea 3: Video Diary

Kind of similar to 2 minute interviews but only for organisers and project co-ordinators / artists leading the project. These are longer videos which consist of the subject alone, looking into the camera giving a wrap-up of the week. What were the highlights, what were the challenges, what’s happening next, what are you looking forward to.

Perform these once a week, at the end of the week.

15 – 30 mins long.

Equipment

  • A laptop with an inbuilt web cam is perfect for this kind of documentation because you can record your entries in private or if you’re on the road

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