The Show Must Go On: Video Quest Workshop Moves Online During Pandemic

Participants in the first online version of our Video Quest caption video workshop examined life through the lens of Covid-19 lockdowns.

For her final project, a participant from Tajikistan documented how her family celebrated a birthday with friends and relatives sending well wishes from afar. The Video Quest workshop was reformatted as an online course during the global coronavirus pandemic and participants made caption videos about their lives under lockdown.

In May, the Prague Civil Society Centre hosted the first online Video Quest caption video workshop, with 25 participants joining remotely from across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

As always at Video Quest, participants learned how to make short caption videos tailored for sharing on social media – a format that can generate tens of thousands of views. The training included a crash course in shooting video with a mobile phone, editing and storytelling for social media.

The workshop was adapted to an online format, with group sessions paired with practical tasks participants completed individually followed by one-on-one feedback discussions with mentors. Video Quest mentors are professional journalists and videographers, many of whom are themselves Video Quest graduates. Most participants are early career journalists, NGO workers or civic activists.

“The idea of the course is cool,” said Timur, a participant from Tajikistan. “Filming and editing video are very helpful skills for civic activists, and it’s great that nowadays it’s possible to express your opinion on important issues for your country and you don’t have to be a journalist. Anyone can make these kinds of videos.”

As a final project, participants submitted a completed video, which required them to synthesize all of the storytelling and technical editing skills acquired during the workshop—from shooting, cutting, captioning and mixing with music. With movement limited due social distancing rules, participants filmed stories about life under lockdown in their communities. A panel of journalists chose the best four videos and invited their authors to attend the next offline
Video Quest, which will be held as soon as the public health situation allows. (See winners below).

The Prague Civil Society Centre has hosted Video Quest workshops to enhance the skills of journalists, activists and creatives in our region since 2017. The call for the next online Video Quest session is coming soon.