Thomas Harding, 'The Video Activist Handbook'

IssueMarch - June 2002
Review by Julia Guest

This book provides a very readable approach to making film. It lays out in clear terms the technical process of filming, editing, and getting your work seen.

It covers the dynamics of working with both people and film in campaign groups with honesty, raising the debate of when to film, for what purpose, and when not to film. It highlights the importance of the video activist, dedicating their activism to creating footage or a finished film and looks at how the process can affect the individual.

Anyone picking up a camcorder for the first time will need this book, it enables effective video making in 300 pages. Any filmmaker thinking of working closely with a campaign group will learn something. Everything in this book is a culmination of anecdotes and insights from years of experience in making activist films.

On the practical side, it examines the difference between editing styles and techniques for different purposes: for empowerment; for the news; for investigative work; for fundraising; and for video evidence. It gives examples throughout of where and how these different techniques have worked effectively.

This second edition also covers the latest technology in digital film making, with a section on broadcasting film over the internet, something which clearly must be the most exciting development for any campaign film to be seen at any time, anywhere in the world.

Topics: Media, Technology
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