Video Survival Kit

This is the original video activists survival kit published some years ago, it is fairly out of date and should be updated soon but hopefully is still of some use.


The world is going TV mad, never before has ‘100 channels of shit on the TV to choose from’ been so true. With the event of digital TV there will be an explosion of choose, or should I say poison. In the last five years it has been possible for individuals to sell footage shot on domestic camcorders to TV news. The ever-increasing numbers of cable and digital TV stations should be a great opportunity for the Video Journalist/Activist. This guide aims to get the beginner started and I hope also has something for the more experienced.

The first question is what is the difference between a Video Journalist and Video Activist, and douses it really matter. The reality is that most Video Activists are Video Journalists and most video Journalists are, to some extent, Video Activists. They are in fact two ends of a continuum with both using camcorders to cover events. Strictly speaking the Video Activist is using the camcorder as a campaigning tool. They may well be an activist directly involved with the campaign they are filming for. The Video Journalist is allegedly a more objective reporter who is not actually an activist or campaigner. The reality is that there is no such thing as objective news gathering and even the broad-sheets can be very partisan (Both in a left and right wing way). Douse it really matter? That depends if you get arrested doing your job as a journalist or are trying to sell footage (See Selling footage and Legal Stuff).

This guide should be read in conjunction with the iContact Rough Guide to Video which describes using a video camera in more detail. This is the first version of the guide. If you find something wrong, or think there is a section missing please contact us. We are keen to get as many people as possible to help with this guide. The ultimate aim is to make it international therefore people in other countries as well as the UK are needed. This is especially true for the legal section and media phone numbers.