Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guide For Camerapersons Documenting The Bersih Rally

Guide For Camerapersons Documenting The Bersih Rally:
Prepared by Anna Har, KOMAS

A. Safety of equipment:

  1. Make sure you are prepared for rain, loads of running, water and tear gas.
  2. If you stand with the crowd, you and your camera will surely be sprayed and you will not get a clear shot of what's happening.
  3. Protect your camera body from water – if you don't have a water proof cover make your own protection with a durable plastic bag and masking tape – jst poke holes for the lens and view finder.
  4. Bring along dry cloth specifically for wiping your lens
  5. Your camera bag shud be able to withstand water and hard knocks

B. Confiscation by police and threats from other people

  1. Do not flash your cameras directly at people who may potentially try to take it away from you
  2. Find a strategic location and then only bring out your camera
  3. If they do confront u or stop u – leave camera rolling even though u put camera down, what ever u get on audio may proof useful and valuable as well.
  4. Once u think u have shot something valuable – change tape – pass the tape to your friend for safe keeping
  5. If police confiscate your camera they have to give you a written record in writing of what they took and take note of the name of the officer.

C. Designate someone to be beside u all the time if possible

  1. This person can hold u steady u whilst you  shoot in a situation where there is a lot of movement, carry your bag, tapes and umbrella and alerting you of particular scenes and danger around you.
D. What to document?

Depending on your objective – apart from personal documentation look out for scenes that may be revealing of :

  1. police abuse/action
  2. strength of crowd/movement(give idea of the amount of people there and how far the crowd stretches to)
  3. good audio of chants(20-30 secs long)
  4. soundbytes from various people on the ground about what's happening.
E. What is a good shot or usefull shot?

  1. Can see clearly what is happening – not shaky, not too zoom in/close up, clear audio, or someone describing on the scene what is happening.
  2. Wide shots from a stable position is always better than a zoom shaky unclear shot when loads of things/action are happening.
  3. A good guide to what is a good shot is a shot that needs no explanation when you show it to someone who wasn't there – i.e. e visual speaks for itself.
  4. You need like 10-20 secs of good useable footage of each scene – no need to follow and record 30 minutes of the same thing.
  5. For example if u have visuals of people getting arrested - you don't need to document every single of the people getting arrested. Just try to get one scene which u feel satisfactorily captures the situation and then move on to another scene. Unless its the arrest of somone significant. Remember even if u shoot 20 arrests only one or two will be selected by ur editor to be posted up. 
  6. Try to document from various points of view – police, leaders of rally, pasukan amal, crowd, women, children, representations of different people who are there. Can also include onlookers, taxi drivers, observers from the side. 

F. Remember that your main aim is to GET THE FOOTAGE YOU WANT AND SHARE IT WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. And u can't do that if you are arrested, your camera is not functioning or your footage is not usable.

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