What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.

Aaron Siskind

Our goal is to communicate your youth club’s message through a young woman’s story. Here are some tips that may help you during the filmmaking process to make your video more impactful.

Remember that most young African women or youth workers have never been filmed before other than to record videos for TikTok or family members. It’s new and can be uncomfortable, knowing that strangers will be hearing our stories and seeing into our lives.

Make women and girls comfortable

If you are going to film someone, you need to spend time with them to plan what they will say and practice with them. You may already know her, or you may be a visitor to the youth club. Spend time getting to know her – this might take hours, and if you expect her to tell you about her life, you should be prepared to answer questions about yours! You need her to feel comfortable with you and for her to trust that you will portray her at her best – it is an intimate moment, and she will shine better if she feels confident in front of the camera, and convinced about what she is saying.

Making her powerful

Camera shots and angles are how you set up your camera during filming. They are extremely useful because they help convey the emotion of the woman you are filming and communicate the significance of the location or object being filmed. In an interview, you will likely use either a Close-up or a Medium Close-up. These shots are useful because they highlight the facial expression of the storyteller and bring out the emotions that you intend to show.

Close-up: Shows the person’s face from her forehead to her chin.
Medium Close-up:  Frames a person’s head and cuts off around mid-chest.

In these two shots, your camera would be still. This is the best way of making your film look good. A great way of keeping your camera steady is using a tripod, which also means you can stop filming and start again, keeping the camera in the same position. If you don’t have a tripod, you can always tape your phone to something – a pile of books, or a blackboard, for example – and get a similar effect. You can get shots with a moving camera, and this can be a great way to show a neighbourhood or activity, but this takes time and practice to get right – you don’t want your audience to feel dizzy!

Reflection Questions

  1. Have you filmed your youth club before?
  2. Look at the film you made. Who do you think it appeals to?
  3. Considering the tips above, how would you improve it for the future?

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