Making videos without a camera

Some of the most powerful advocacy videos that have been created in recent years have been made without a camera. Short three and four-minute videos, such as those made by Avaaz, have reached enormous audiences around the globe through video sharing sites such as YouTube.

One of the leading exponents of this method is Sami ben Gharbia who, with his colleague Astrubal, creates 'mash-ups' using found footage, remixing techniques, graphics, animation and screen captures to produce videos with a focus on human rights advocacy in Tunisia. The fact that YouTube and other video sharing sites have, at times, been blocked in Tunisia is, in part, testimony to the power of such subversive videos.

Sami feels that using video is a great way of reaching younger people who might not be interested in more conventional campaigning techniques, and points to the comments on his YouTube channel as proof of this.

One of the most innovative videos made by Astrubal used Google Earth to track the use of the Tunisian presidential plane to expose how it had been used at taxpayers' expense for unofficial shopping trips and holidays. 

Searching for Open/Free Content

You can find video that is available for re-use by looking for material using open content licenses through the Creative Commons website.

Tips for video creation using existing images:

  • Use well-known icons or images that have resonance in your culture or in popular culture.
  • For simple and effective video use screen capture to record what you are doing on your desktop computer. This way you can, say, build something based on Google maps or Google earth and then animate the navigation of the software. One Free and Open Source option for this is CamStudio.
  • Sami recommends tools such as QuickTime Pro, which make it really easy to animate still images using simple copy and paste techniques and then to add text and filters.
  • If your target audiences have slow internet connections, use more text in your videos and use compression to make the file smaller. (Read more about our tools for publishing video).