Civic Media How To’s – Reposted from WITNESS’ Video for Change Blog

Why You Should Watch this Video

On Sunday December 11, 2011 The New York Times published an extensive article illustrating the role of livestream technologies in the Occupy Wall Street movement. The following day, seventeen mediamakers, including members of theGlobal Revolution livestream team were arrested. Since then, police have increasingly targeted members of independent media and citizens with cameras and media-making equipment, seemingly in order to quell future representations of police brutality and to suppress further momentum of the movement.

Still from "How To Film A Revolution"

What does this all mean? One possible answer points to the power of citizen media asserted throughout the movement. Citizen-created media has been critical in sharing police brutality and the Occupy movement’s agenda with the public since its start on September 17, 2011. In fact, the mainstream media has progressively relied on videos and photographs produced by citizens and livestreamers at Occupy protests, illustrating its powerful role in agenda setting among the public.

The need for training videos that guide citizens to safely and effectively film at protests is greater than ever. Cameras are everywhere and understanding how to use equipment to collaboratively protect civil liberties and share a message is imperative.  Challenges to human rights in Egypt, Syria and Occupy Movements around the world – for example – rely on that initiative.  The question now becomes, what are the best tips and techniques we want to share and how do we draw on the attention and focus of audiences to relay that information. The video below is one powerful example. Watch it to understand the importance of civic media and to learn how to cooperate with other citizens seeking to protect our rights.

While watching, consider any missing tips and techniques and how the video works to keep your attention and join the discussion below.


Video Facts:

  • Title of Video: How to Film a Revolution
  • Date Posted: December 27, 2011
  • Length: 4:59 minutes
  • Who made it:  Independent filmmaker Corey Ogilvie and Producer Andrew Halliwell
  • Location: USA
  • Human Rights Issue: Police and Military Brutality

Goal: This video seeks to illustrate how citizens can safely and strategically use cameras in situations of state violence.

Primary Audience: The audience is every citizen with a camera, which happens to be most of us now.

Message:  If we, as citizen journalists, coordinate and strategize our safety and filming positions in places where it is legal to film officers – like the police do their enforcement positions – we will be safer, and our content will be better.

Content/Style/Voices: Demonstration video; Voiceover with archival footage and how-to animation.

Join the Discussion: What tips and techniques do you think are missing from the video? For instance, in our own top ten tips for filmmakers at protests we covered topics concerning informed consent and preserving battery life. What techniques does the video employ to draw your attention and keep you focused on the subject matter?

Check out my previous interview with Josh from Global Revolution to learn more about livestreaming and the powerful role of media at Occupy Wall Street.


Chris Rogy is the Tools & Tactics intern at WITNESS. He is a Master’s student focusing on Social Media and Social Change at the The New School. His current projects include a new media documentary called “Re-Fusing Refuge” about the deportation of Cambodian American refugees and a participatory research thesis that develops radio drama practices with community leaders in rural Cambodia.

Categories: Reflective Posts


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