GUIDE TO PRODUCING A BEST PRACTICES
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
• Annex 2: Production Quality
• Annex 3: Script Guidelines and
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
P.O. Box 30030
Tel: (254 20) 624981, 624343, 625059, 623342
Fax: (254 20) 623080 / 624266
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
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.
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.
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
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
Appendix 2 Production Quality
Choosing a crew or organising co-productions with local and national
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
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
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
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
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
Sample Overall Briefing Form for a Video entitled "CITIZENS
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.
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
Sequence one: Introduction to the city of _______
Basic statistics, a brief history and geography.
Rapid growth of this once elegant historical town.
View from the hill of the city
The old historical buildings at ....
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
The difficulty to plan for the exploding populations. The prevalence
of unplanned settlements etc.
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 ....
Current Town Clerk...
Business person ...
Sequence Three: Earlier attempts to overcome and their failures
The failure of earlier programmes to involve many partners, top-down
Visuals/Locations: Archive documents
Old project at ....
Mr ... old Mayor
Mrs ....resident of failed project
Sequence Four: Lessons learned from earlier attempts and description
of the initiative.
Change of attitudes, behaviour and of policies to a participating/partnership
Result of the initiative: houses built, economic activities, greening
of space, safety for children.
People where lives and living conditions have improved.
Sequence five: Lessons learned, transfers to other communities.
The initiative has empowered people to act and to participate in
social change and has created awareness of new solutions.
Minister, business person for the informal sector.