By Dan O’Reilly-Rowe, 2009.

Being in a group with people that you don’t know can be intimidating. Adding a video camera to the mix can make for an uncomfortable situation for just about anyone. This simple activity can be done at an early stage in a group’s formation (ideally at the end of your first session), and is designed to help participants introduce themselves to each other, voice their hopes and fears for the group’s work together, and begin getting comfortable with recording and being recorded.

Goals

  • Participants and educators learn about each others hopes and fears for the group.
  • Participants get comfortable with being in front of and behind the camera.

Participants

Unlimited.

Equipment/Resources

  • Video camera
  • Tripod

Duration

30 minutes

Activity

  1. Begin by acknowledging to the group how difficult it can be to begin working with a new group of people, and how common it is for people to have anxieties about appearing on camera, and that some people also have anxieties around working with technologies.
  2. Affirm that it is the role of the educator, but also of group participants, to support each other through this initial phase of coming together as a creative team.
  3. Explain that in this activity each person will have the ability to decide how they will be represented on the camera, as they direct another participant in shooting 2 short statements.
    • one describing their hope for the group (or for their own participation in the group).
    • one describing their fears for the group (or their participation).
  4. Give the group some time to consider what their hope and fear will be.
  5. Participants stand in a circle, with the camera set up on the tripod in front of one facing the person standing opposite.
  6. The first person in front of the camera tells the person opposite them how they want to be framed. They might choose to have their whole body, or just a part (an eye, their mouth, a hand…). The camera person should follow their direction precisely, and turn the flip monitor around to get approval before recording.
  7. When ready, the camera person records first the “fear” and then the “hope”.
  8. Everyone in the circle then moves one position to their left so that a new pair are in front of and behind the camera.
  9. Save the footage until later in the program to use as a baseline for evaluation that can be used to assess the program or to play back for the group later in the the program to reflect on their own growth.

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