In terms of promoting or advocating for a cause, there a variety of ways to go about this. Often times, people use popular tools such as the internet, TV commercials, flyers, and even public marches. These usually require a large budget and considerable resources in order to be successful. However, the people at the North Carolina Justice Center have a low cost and accessible solution for spreading awareness of a cause: video advocacy. This is an incredibly powerful, yet relatively easy tool to use. Video making allows for anyone with a camera and editing skills to create effective promotional material that can be used over and over again. In video advocacy, creativity meets with technology to form an effective means for promoting socially relevant causes that matter in our world.
In order to make videos, there are certain kinds of equipment that are required. The obvious and most essential piece is the camera. When searching for the right camera, one should make sure it has both a microphone input jack for external microphones and the ability to record high definition video. The latter is especially important as in today’s world of modern technology; people are expecting high quality video on a regular basis. To have standard definition may decrease a person’s inclination to watch.
The next piece of equipment is the microphone. This is important as it enhances the audio of your video, mainly the voices of a speaker featured in your video. Often times in an advocacy video, a speaker will be featured to shed light on a particular topic. Therefore, what he/she has to say is especially important and needs to be heard clearly. In conjunction with this, a microphone bracket mount is also needed. Having a microphone properly and securely mounted on a camera is vital as it ensures wherever your camera is pointed at, the audio will remain clear. An L-shaped bracket mount is recommended since it can carry a heavy load.
A tripod is another vital piece of equipment as it provides a stable platform for a camera to shoot footage without any shaking. Purchasing a high quality tripod will pay for itself in the long run as you will not have to constantly replace it. And finally, a camera bag should be purchased. This allows for a safe storage of all of your equipment, so that it may be used later.
Video Gathering Goals
Video advocacy requires specific goals to aim towards to. These usually come in the form of important issues facing this country. Many of these goals include:
- Gathering stories from ordinary people into the mainstream media to illustrate a particular issue. This includes allowing these people to simply voice their opinions on policymakers, disasters, and laws.
- Transforming ordinary people with good stories and interesting backgrounds into extraordinary advocates. A great example of this comes from how the NC Justice Center focused an advocacy video on health care reform. They choose to interview a small business owner and explore the effects on how the new health care impacted his business. From this, the video was able to capture the business owner’s input on what he thought should be done in Congress to fix the many problems associated with the reform.
- Holding policymakers accountable for what their actions. An example of this can be found in how the chair of a powerful legislative committee announces a public hearing on an important issue. However, when more people are set to sign up, they may be turned away. With this in mind, a special advocacy video is made to bring awareness to this problem. This later gains widespread attention and forces the committee to allow for people to sign up.
- Interviewing leaders of organizations. This serves to both gain the trust of these organizations and be a means in which organizations can have their voices heard in ways that would otherwise be hindered (mainstream media). For instance, a prominent figure such as a former head of Medicare and Medicaid may wish to discuss his opinions on the matter of health care reform. However, mainstream media outlets do not allow him lengthy interviews to fully express his views. With an advocacy video, this can give him the opportunity to do so.