Training in the use of video in Oral History

Oral History Society "Lives in Focus" training at the British Library, London

Tutor Roger Kitchen discussing technical points of recording oral history interview on video
Tutor Roger Kitchen discussing technical points of recording oral history interview on video

We have been delivering a one-day training session in the Foyle Suite at the British Library (London) for approximately 8 years now, and not only are they always well subscribed but the feedback from attendees is always good.

The training workshops offer places to twelve delegates, with sessions often being fully booked.

The one-day session considers the use of a video camera and associated equipment to capture people’s memories in a setting normally associated with audio recording. In it, my co-tutor Roger Kitchen (current Chair of the Living Archive in Milton Keynes) and myself start the day by looking at the pros and cons of recording interviews on video, after which we then demonstrate some of the practical aspects of setting up and recording an interview.

Tutor Roger Kitchen in discussion with attendees on the OHS Lives in Focus training course
Tutor Roger Kitchen discussing aspects of camcorder operation with group members
The session isn’t designed to provide a detailed “how-to” course on video production but rather to give delegates a basic overview of the technology required and a technique that might be appropriate to achieving their aims.

Through the day, a range of issues relating to the use of video in the context of oral history interviewing is discussed and demonstrated and matters such as choosing the most appropriate equipment for your project’s requirements, planning to record, interview technique, post-production logging of recorded assets, techniques for making your material available for others to view and use and archiving are discussed in detail.

Although we don’t demonstrate the editing process (due to practical constraints on the day and the variation in hardware and software systems required for such work) we do discuss in outline the considerations needed to be made in order to embark on this important stage in the process.

One-day Course Frequency

We run at least two of these sessions each year, with each one differing from the last thanks to changing technologies and evolving practices relevant to oral history today. For more information about the course, including details of how to book onto the next session, please visit the OHS Lives in Focus page.

(Images Source: Colin Barrett, Copyright 2015)

About Colin 6 Articles
Creator of video-based content since 1970s - shooting and editing video, writing books and articles about it, training others to do it and all that. Experienced in the use of video in social and community settings.