This WITNESS Video Advocacy Training Guide incorporates some of the best practices and lessons learned by WITNESS and its allies over the past 18 years. It was created to help human rights defenders and activists evaluate and plan how best to integrate video into their advocacy work.

Please let us know if you find this guide useful – and give feedback on what is missing or could be better.

What Makes Video Advocacy Unique?

You might be asking yourself “what are the similarities and differences between regular filmmaking and ‘video advocacy”?  Both mainstream filmmaking and advocacy-filmmaking draw on power of clear and engaging stories that intrigue and interest their audience.   The differences come down to why you make the film, how you intend to use it – and how purposefully and deliberately you do that.

WITNESS’ use of ‘advocacy’ throughout this guide refers to a process to bring about change in policies, law or people’s behavior.  So, video advocacy is about using visual media as a targeted tool that will engage people to create change.  Video advocacy is optimally used together with other advocacy activities, such as press conferences, newsletters, brochures, lobbying (a focused effort to have government authorities or elected officials take some action that you want them to take), etc.

5 Pillars of Video Advocacy

  1. Video for a specific purpose, not about something – have a clear, SMART goal for your video
  2. Know your audience – whose eyes, not how many eyes, is what matters
  3. Know the action you want your audience to take
  4. Choose the best message and messengers to move your audience to action
  5. Choose the right time and the right place to ensure your audience sees your video

How to Navigate this Guide

This online video advocacy guide is rooted in these five pillars of video advocacy, and works to implement them throughout the following sections of our guide:

  1. Plan: Design an optimal strategy for your advocacy video
  2. Equip: Choose the best equipment to meet your video needs
  3. Film: Before you start filming, review key tips and techniques to ensure you get best the footage you need
  4. Edit: Review the range of free and online editing platforms, and see their user-friendly guides to start editing
  5. Share: Now that you’ve created a fantastic advocacy video, review these tips to help ensure your target audience sees it!

What’s First? Creating a Great Plan!

If you’re looking a particular post or the overview of this online guide, check-out the Site Map.