An Occupy Wall Street Tutorial: “How to Film a Revolution”

By Chris Rogy, WITNESS Tools & Tactics

This post was originally published on WITNESS’ blog. Read it here.

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 the Global Revolution livestream team were arrested.

Since then, police in the United States 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.

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.

Check out my previous interview with Josh from Global Revolution to learn more about the power of livestreaming.

A need for training videos

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 by Corey Ogilvie and Andrew Halliwell from December 2011 is one powerful example. What tips and techniques do you think are missing? For instance, in WITNESS’ 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?


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.


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