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Guide for Volunteer Videographers

If you’re planning to shoot video on a Jane’s Walk, here are some things to bear in mind:

What are you trying to show?

•   Get an idea of what you’re trying to convey, and come up with a shot list. Look at other videos you like, and notice what shots they use, what angles, what ‘transition’ pieces. Write these down and take the list with you on the shoot.

•   You want to capture the “vibe” of the walk—people having a good time! Get faces, reactions, smiles, laughter. Closeups are usually a nice and easy way to create a fun, intimate moment. They’re easier to shoot with a longer focal length (i.e., a zoom lens), so you’re not holding a camera right up to people’s faces, but you can manage with just about any equipment.

•   Make sure you capture the fact that this is a walk: get shots of people walking by the camera, wide shots showing the settings, people next to relevant signage, etc.

Stability is key

You may find yourself wanting to move around—following the walk, moving around people, etc. While you’re shooting, this won’t look too bad, but when you watch the footage after, you’ll see it’s basically unusable. Unless you’re a glidecam operator or have some sort of stabilizing rig, you’re going to be much better off with stable shots. Hold a frame for 5 to 10 seconds, then reframe. People talking, people laughing, people listening, people walking by the camera...you can pan, but don’t walk around with the camera.

Getting a variety of shots helps with the edit

Getting a variety of shots—closeups, medium shots, wide shots—in each setting will allow you to cut between footage more easily. A few “b-roll” or “artsy” shots help, too (e.g., feet walking by, racking focus in different ways, etc.), so long as you don’t miss the basics: capturing people having a good time (or whatever the mood is that you’re going for).

Sound is also key

If you want to capture people talking on the walk, you’ll need to ask them to speak loudly. Ideally, have key speakers (like the walk leader) fitted with a lav mic (a small clip-on microphone). This may be a challenge, but it’ll make a world of difference in the finished video to have a crisp, clear voice. If you want to capture voice, this is worth thinking about and preparing for as much as possible.

Lighting is complicated

—because there are so many variables. Try to ensure you don’t have extremely different light levels in one shot. For example, avoid having someone standing in the shadow in an otherwise bright frame, or having a light source in the background (backlighting) that’s washing out the sky or making the person too dark. If you’re not sure, just try a few different angles to make sure you have something that can be usable later.

Talk to your walk leader and/or City Organizer to find out how they would like you to submit your video. They may prefer that you use a file-sharing service such as Dropbox, share it with them on a hard drive, or post it on YouTube or Vimeo for them to repost.

If you post your video online, please also let the Jane’s Walk Project Office know, via stories@janeswalk.org! We love seeing videos from walks around the world, and sharing them on our blog and social media feeds.

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Guide written by Karim Rizkallah This guide was produced by the Jane’s Walk Project Office. For more information about Jane’s Walk, or to find a walk near you, visit janeswalk.org. You can contact us at info@janeswalk.org.