GUIDE TO PRODUCING A BEST PRACTICES VIDEO
INTRODUCTION:

The Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme (BLP) is committed to documenting and disseminating successful initiatives which improve our living environment. Twelve of these initiatives will be awarded the 2014 Dubai International Award for Best Practices in improving the Living Environment.

The aim of the Award is to identify solutions to critical social economic and environmental problems. At the same time the Award is designed to document best practices in different media, print and audio/visual, so that they can become part of a larger knowledge base on strategies for sustainable development.

The audio/visual documentation of best practices is undertaken with a view to further raising public awareness of these examples, through broadcast television and through other audio-visual media such as VHS video and delivery on the Internet. Given the multiple uses of such audio-visual documentation, it is important that the material should be of optimum quality both technically and substantively.

This document sets out guidelines to help participants produce video programmes about their initiative and is organised as follows:

Production Specifications
Production Strategy
Annex 1: Technical Quality and Specifications
Annex 2: Production Quality
Annex 3: Script Guidelines and Briefing
Form For Overall Script Briefing and Sample Form
• Form for Sequence Briefing and Sample Form

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding these guidelines:

Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme

UN-HABITAT
P.O. Box 30030
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254 20) 624981, 624343, 625059, 623342
Fax: (254 20) 623080 / 624266

Email: bestpractices@unhabitat.org

PRODUCTION SPECIFICATIONS:

Duration:

5 or 10 minutes or 15 minutes.

Originating Format: Betacam SP (preferred choice)
Hi 8 Umatic High Band

Disseminating Format: Beta VHS digital format for CD Rom
Language: Original language on International Track or in English if possible.

Description:

The video should describe your initiative as comprehensively as possible. It should contextualise the initiative within the larger framework of sustainable development. Though the video can show people explaining the project it should focus on how the initiative affects individual women, men and their families.

Copyright:

Habitat retains the right to adapt, reproduce and disseminate the video for the following non profit purposes:

- Television specials,
- Promotional videos,
- B-Rolls and Public Service Announcements;
- Other UN-HABITAT video compilations and documentaries and in digital format for CD ROM.

PRODUCTION STRATEGY:

A production strategy designed to document Best Practices should take into account the following concerns.

First, the technical quality of the footage must be of the highest possible standard. The preferred choice is Betacam SP. Failing this other acceptable formats include Umatic High Band, or the newer Hi8 formats including Digital Hi8. The advantage of such originating footage is that the programmes can be re-edited and sent to broadcasting stations. Footage shot on domestic VHS cameras have a limited use. For a more detailed breakdown of technical quality and specifications see Appendix 1.

Second, the production quality of the programme itself is critical. It is recommended, funding permitting, that a professional journalist be employed to tell the story of the initiative. It is often possible to approach local TV stations to co-produce a feature documentary about an initiative for broadcast. See Appendix 2 for some criteria for selecting local production houses and/or how to encourage co-productions with local TV stations.

Third, whether the video is being made by a local production house or TV station, the most difficult part of the task is deciding on the content of the programme. To help you design a draft script a set of "script guidelines" are offered in Appendix 3. The point of this briefing is to help you clarify your thoughts. The guidelines are also designed to help you to think of more imaginative ways of telling the story.

Appendix 1: Technical Quality & Specifications

1.1 The video documentation of Best Practice must be done on professional equipment. This allows for multiple uses of the footage, from broadcast to training videos.

1.2 The preferred choice is Betacam SP PAL (If necessary NTSC can be used).

1.3 Failing the availability of Betacam, high quality 3CCD Hi8 or Digital Hi8 cameras could be used.

1.4 In both cases it is essential that the sound equipment is also of the highest quality. In the case of interviews, lapel mikes should be used. In the case of workshop footage, good directional microphones are recommended. Alternatively, a line input can be taken directly from a PA system.

1.5 It should be noted that to help UN-HABITAT make different language versions, it would be best to send the tape to us in two versions. One with the mixed language track. A second with an international track, in other words with separated tracks, one for music and effects and one for commentary and voice overs. This allows us to dub different language versions.

Appendix 2 Production Quality

Choosing a crew or organising co-productions with local and national television stations

Whereas technical quality is easily solved, the selection of the crew is much more difficult. In order to help select the best crew, some strategies and suggestions are included below:

2.1 Before choosing the director or production house it is imperative to ask them for their CVs and a demonstration reel i.e. sample footage of past projects. This is established practice and project managers should not hesitate to ask for a demonstration reel. Seeing a documentary made by the director says more than any CV.

2.2 It may be useful for you to get recommendations. Start the search by enquiring from other non-governmental organisations and UN agencies about who is good at making community videos or documentaries on development issues.

2.3 Another option is to contact the local/National TV station. In this case you may want to discuss the prospect of doing a co-production. The TV station may include inserts about the initiative as part of a news magazine programme. Alternatively, they may decide to do a full scale documentary on urban issues.

There are a number of possibilities. For example, in order to help persuade station managers, you could try to encourage the TV station to become part of the Best Practices media campaign. In other words UN-HABITAT would be willing to arrange to let the TV station have access to any number of our documentaries on urban issues. The TV station could be sent more documentaries about Best Practices after the Award-recipients have been announced.

2.4 Finally it is worth noting that in order for the local director/crew to understand the quality of work that is expected, it may be useful for you to show the local crew or TV station a couple of recent productions by UN-HABITAT. Contact UN-HABITAT for a VHS copy of such programmes.

Appendix 3: SCRIPT GUIDELINES/BRIEFING

The task of the Project Manager is to give the production house a script briefing. This briefing/synopsis is a good working document for discussion.

The briefing should be in the form of an outline with descriptions of each sequence and the conceptual points to be made. It would help if for each sequence, there were suggestions about locations, and the most articulate people to interview.

To help the actual process of organising these ideas a sample form is attached. This could be photocopied and filled in. There is also a filled out form as an example of how to prepare a script.

It should be noted that in addition to this kind of briefing the Project Manager should try to think of some dramatic visual options which can help make the video documentary exciting. For example:

- Is there a particularly attractive festival which could be filmed for background effect?

- Are there any good uses of public spaces: football matches, open air concerts etc.?

- Are there any good traditional or modern bands who would be willing to do the sound track?

- Is there a source of old archive footage or photographs of the area before it was changed?

All such ideas are useful and help make the project and the video documentary much more interesting.

FORM FOR PREPARING AN OVERALL SCRIPT BRIEFING

1. WHO IS YOUR MAIN TARGET AUDIENCE?

2. IN ONE PARAGRAPH GIVE AN OUTLINE OF THE MAIN AIMS OF YOUR INITIATIVE AND THE ISSUES IT ADDRESSES:

3. IN ONE PARAGRAPH GIVE AN OUTLINE OF THE MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS OF YOUR INITIATIVE:

4. IN ONE PARAGRAPH GIVE AN OUTLINE OF THE MAIN OBSTACLES THAT WERE FACED BEFORE OR DURING THE INITIATIVE:

5. IN ONE PARAGRAPH GIVE AN OUTLINE OF THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM YOUR INITIATIVE:

6. IF APPLICABLE, IN ONE PARAGRAPH GIVE EXAMPLES OF HOW THE EXPERIENCES OF YOUR INITIATIVE HAVE BENEFITTED OTHER COMMUNITIES IN YOUR CITY/COUNTRY:

7. DO YOU KNOW OF ANY OTHER VIDEOS WHICH WOULD BE USEFUL RESOURCES?

8. ARE THERE ANY OTHER INTERESTING RESOURCES IN YOUR TOWN: OLD PHOTOGRAPHS AND ENGRAVINGS OF THE TOWN? AN OLD MUSEUM? INTERESTING PEOPLE WITH ORAL HISTORIES TO RECORD? SPECIAL FESTIVALS? PLEASE GIVE SUGGESTIONS:

Sample Overall Briefing Form for a Video entitled "CITIZENS TOGETHER"

Target Audience:

The overall target audience is the general public. However, it is important that policy makers and planners get to hear about these strategies to improve the city. In other words, the documentary needs to be targeted at the concerned citizen.

Main Aim:

The main aim is to show how the city can be improved if old strategies of providing housing, for example, give way to strategies of enablement; to stress the necessity of encouraging new partnerships between the local authorities, the government and local communities.

Good Video Resources:

Excellent video exists showing master plans and top down approach from the 1960s. It is called........

Good General Resources:

A great time to film is during the annual carnaval fight. That is when the city really belongs to the citizens.

The local TV station or museum has wonderful archive footage of slums and slum clearance.

FORM FOR PREPARING SEQUENCE BRIEFING:

1. SEQUENCE NUMBER:

2. DESCRIBE THE MAJOR POINT OF THE SEQUENCE & WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SHOWN:

3. ELABORATE THE CONCEPTUAL POINTS TO BE MADE:

4. SUGGEST SOME APPROPRIATE VISUALS/LOCATIONS. PREFERABLY CHOOSE THE MOST DRAMATIC LOCATIONS.

5. SUGGEST SOME INTERESTING PEOPLE TO BE INTERVIEWED EITHER BY NAME OR THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO COULD BE INTERVIEWED.

Sample Sequence Briefing Form for Video Entitled "Citizens Together"

Sequence one: Introduction to the city of _______

Basic statistics, a brief history and geography.

Conceptual Point:

Rapid growth of this once elegant historical town.

Visuals/Locations:

View from the hill of the city
High street
The old historical buildings at ....
Possible Interviews:

Old man Mr H..
Old woman in the old town Mrs Y
Old town planner from the 50s.
Sequence Two:The current problems which are emerging

Problem one: Rapid growth
Problem two: Squatter settlements
Problem three: water sanitation
Conceptual Point:

The difficulty to plan for the exploding populations. The prevalence of unplanned settlements etc.

Visuals/Locations:

Workers pouring in to work at 6.00 a.m. from Street ...

View of squatter settlements from...

Traffic jam at... at 6.00 p.m.

Broken water main at ....

Interviews:

Current Town Clerk...

Business person ...

Market lady...

Slum dweller....

Sequence Three: Earlier attempts to overcome and their failures

Conceptual Point:

The failure of earlier programmes to involve many partners, top-down planning etc.

Visuals/Locations: Archive documents

Old project at ....

Interviews:

Mr ... old Mayor

Mrs ....resident of failed project

Sequence Four: Lessons learned from earlier attempts and description of the initiative.

Conceptual Point

Change of attitudes, behaviour and of policies to a participating/partnership approach

Visuals/Locations:

Result of the initiative: houses built, economic activities, greening of space, safety for children.

Interviews:

People where lives and living conditions have improved.

Sequence five: Lessons learned, transfers to other communities.

Conceptual Point:

The initiative has empowered people to act and to participate in social change and has created awareness of new solutions.

Interviews:

Minister, business person for the informal sector.

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