Villages Connected Blog

Tag team media training by Greg Spira

Twenty media co-op members. Twenty different skill levels in photography & video. Previous media experience as varied as the stunning scenery around Fort Portal.   Backgrounds, ages and education levels similarly ranging all over the map.

Just how do you “train” a group like this in media skills?  Take a tag team approach.

de Villiers working with participants on creating great compositions

Over the last two days we’ve worked with the members of the new Villages Connected Media co-op in building everyone’s skills in taking pictures and video with purpose.  We’ve split the group of twenty into 4 more manageable groups, working intensively on such basic fare as composition, lighting and capturing motion.

VC’s team was picked because each of us had something to share.  Ernie and de Villiers have a strong mastery of the art of arguing over the best way to capture girls running across the screen.  Meanwhile, Greg masters the art of getting his backside dirty while showing off interesting angles to shoot from.

Greg helps participants think through other angles for taking impactful shots

So what do we do?

Let the co-op members build their skills by figuring out what they like about photos and videos.  We went around asking participants what we should photograph, took the pictures they suggested from different angles and perspectives, and talked about the results.

We would have had them take the “practice shots”, but one thing got in the way…

Most of the co-op members’ camera batteries had run out of juice!

When we arrived in Fort Portal we had charged all the batteries before starting.  But we hadn’t counted on low voltage running through Fort Portal’s grid. This sneak-attack meant what we thought were fully charged batteries capable of 200+ pictures turned out to be poorly charged light-weights with barely 30 minutes of battery.

Now that our eyes are open, the problem has been fixed.

Co-op member Sr Angella poses for the extreme close up demonstration

Despite this temporary speed bump, we took out our fancier cameras and worked as a group to support each other in building participants’ photo and video skills..

So, after Greg worked with the members on composing still pictures, de Villiers and Ernie jumped in to ask how shooting video was different.

Ultimately, the group decided what they liked in each medium and made suggestions for improving the shots we took.The participatory training will continue over the weeks to come – hopefully with everyone holding fully charged cameras!

Co-op member Moureen putting the Nikons to the test

This tag team approach to photography and video training has already paid off! Today we received the members’ cameras back for the first time and the results are amazing!

Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing their work very soon!


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Check out this amazing media project in Uganda! I helped support it, you can too!

Comment by Gwen Harmen

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