Project documentation films are useful in documenting the progress, challenges, implementation and affect on the communities or project areas. They are useful with donors, looking for extension on funds, building out pilot projects to new areas, interacting with the communities that were participating. In a project documentation film it is useful to start this EARLY in the project – not just as an after thought as a project is coming to a close.
What to capture
It is important that as your project is implemented that you capture events, activities, before and after and people’s comments and reactions. Here are a few examples:
- The situation before you start your project – what does the location look like, what are comments from the community, what are the comments from the project manages. What are the specific challenges you are addressing in this project? Why was the project started?
- The initial planning phases of the project – planning meetings, maps, investigations, surveys
- Project milestones – presentations, visits from donors, opening of some facility or start of a new phase
- Evaluation phase – near the end of the project. Get comments, footage and still shots of project interventions, interviews with community members and stakeholders, project managers
How to capture
Here are a few things to include in your planning. I am including still camera as the initial method as the effective use of a still camera is a good first step for documenting your project. Good, high quality and high resolution photos can be used as part of your project documentation film.
- Develop the concept and plan for the film at an early stage so that you identify opportunities for photography and filming that illustrate the project methodology, challenges, solutions and impact.
- Buy one or more cameras for your field staff. For a still camera, the camera must takes at least 8 mega pixels resolution and is easy to operate with basic instruction. A tripod is a useful addition and also a light reflector.
- Get basic camera handling training to your field staff – care and operation of the camera, how to protect it from the elements, storing photos, types of shots that will be useful, how to frame best shots, lighting considerations.
- Develop a work flow and methods for storing and labeling photos and footage throughout the project. You must be able to find and identify the photos and footage that you plan to use in the film.
- Get an ongoing relationship with a film production company that will visit the project for the specific milestone events or other key points in the project
The Change Agenda: Faisalabad City District Government. Strategic Policy Unit (SPU) Education, governance, infrastructure, information systems. DFID funded project. 2002 – 2007
Coastal Communities: A delicate balance exists between the mangrove forests that line the Sindh coastline and the fishing communities that inhabit the region. Most of the communities are fishing villages, but a lot of their day to day living also involves the use of wood and other items from the mangroves. WWF Pakistan.
Eckova Productions offers services to NGOs, donors, civil society organizations in planning and implementing films for project documentation. We offer workshops on Film Planning and Strategy for management level individuals in the development sector. Eckova has technical workshops for field officers and project managers in the use of still and video cameras for document projects. If you are interested in either of these workshops for your organization please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the details.