3104491807_78ee09b446.jpg

We’re in the middle of a deep-dive process to define how Akvo will use video, with the help of Vinay Gupta, the multi-skilled inventor of the Hexayurt open source refugee shelter.

Photo: We’re now capturing a lot of useful material relevant to multiple audiences. Here I was filming Gautam John of the Pratham Books team, presenting to Jimmy Wales and the Wikimedia Foundation team in Bangalore on 13 December 2008.

For those interested in our thinking, here’s a 20 minute sample from this afternoon of the issues Vinay and I are exploring as we examine the role video will play across our platform. He’s helping me extract my experiences of shooting video in the field, and turning it into a process others can replicate.


How Akvo produces movies from Mark Charmer on Vimeo.

We see movies as a crucial way to make project progress visible online, supporting Akvo RSR (Really Simple Reporting), driving connections between field partners and funders, and helping organisations that use the Akvo platform to communicate both internally and externally. Of course, online video can be a crucial method too for the Akvo team to share ideas and progress both internally and externally too.

But we’ve got to find ways to simplify the process of shooting, editing and sharing movie content. Everyone who’s tried it knows that filming things is just the start – begin editing and hours fly by. Really Simple Reporting needs simple video techniques that can be easily replicated, in ways that support easier story telling in less time, not more. Key here is focusing on the message, rather than the medium.

As Vinay says, “The hard part is still going to be the storytelling. The technical obstacles will go down and down and down, but the storytelling will remain equally hard.”

I’d love to hear any comments you may have. All our eventual processes will be shared as open source material.

Mark Charmer is co-founder and director of communications at Akvo. Filmed on a Sanyo Xacti E1 at the Movement Design Bureau studio, Bermondsey, London. Christmas eve, December 2008.