Facilitation:Cameras and Recording

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Another dynamic to call out and establish guidelines involves cameras and their use. Several points should be considered:


  • If cameras are in use, it is always important to establish whether there are any participants who do not wish to be photographed, and define a process by which the photographers understand who should not be recorded.
  • Cameras and photography are a major distraction, especially while those who are not used to speaking address a group. Consider asking participants to refrain from photographing until later in the day. Photographers moving around to achieve good photo angles are also a significant distraction to both participants and facilitators.
  • Cameras work against the notion of being "fully present"; when participants are aware of being "on camera", group dynamics change, and rarely for the better.
  • Videographers will often assert that the proceedings should be filmed for the benefit of others later. While this is a valid and noble objective, it should be weighed against the inconvenience and occasional annoyance incurred in the course of filming; the primary focus of events should be the people in the room and the quality of their experience. In addition, it useful to assess the likelihood that the recordings will enjoy any kind of actual production and distribution; sound quality is almost certain to be poor, the time and cost involved in turning raw footage into useful video is substantial, and deliverables are unlikely to occur without additional funding and management. Any videotaping that does occur should be agreed upon and well planned in advance of the event.
  • It is important to clarify the intended use and destination of photos and video taken at events. If they are going to posted to the internet, make sure to call out a process whereby those who do not wish their images posted can say so, as well as a method to request that posted content be taken down.
  • Ownership and intellectual property rights of photographs can be a point of contention, especially when not agreed upon on advance. Make sure such ownership, licensing and permitted re-use is clearly defined before the event.