Since most of my video diary films are part of research projects, they tend to be confidential and can't be shown here. However, below are two that can. They are each quite short (around 5 minutes) and feature only one respondent but I feel they give a flavour of the video diary approach. I've included a few notes with each, but I have a lot of thoughts on both so please call me to discuss the format in more depth.
Alexandra is 23 and suffers from a wheat allergy. She was asked to keep a 10 day diary focusing on how her condition impacts her daily life. Her video is made mostly of her own thoughts and reflections, described to camera throughout the diary period and in a variety of locations.
It is apparent that she sees her condition as a constant and inescapable concern, affecting many seemingly unrelated parts of her life e.g. her relationships with her mother and boyfriend. The diary illustrates some of Alexandra's recurrent emotions and concerns such as an anxiety about being seen to be neurotic, and an anxiety surrounding social situations which involve food. These concerns seem more important to her than the physical discomfort of eating wheat, and clearly influence her behaviour e.g. buying more unhealthy snack food so as not to be left out in cafes. Alexandra is generally relaxed when recording diary entries, which are honest and frank as a result. The diary is recorded in a range of locations which are relevant to Alexandra's daily life. Her entries are contextualised and she's able to record her thoughts as they come to her, within the environment in which they are rooted.
Mat is 22, and his father was an MP standing for re-election in May 2010. Mat was asked to keep a video diary for a 24 hour period over the election day and the following morning. His video is built up of telling snapshots that provide an all-round picture of what election day is like for the family of an MP and what their role within it is.
Using a small, handheld camera, Mat is able to record key moments as they happen. He is also able to record his thoughts and reflections as they come to him, from within the environment that triggered them. In both cases, his entries take a variety of forms - diary entries to camera, short interviews with family members and observational footage - to provide a rounded and layered view of the day. Mat guides us and gives us his personal 'tour' of the day; we begin to see how he perceives and understands his own role and behaviour within the election process. By going on this short 'journey' with Mat we begin to relate to him on a personal level, avoiding mediation of his experience and enabling powerful, face-to-face communication. Mat alternates between giving practical and very personal details about what is happening. We see how the two intersect and affect each other during an emotionally intense day. Underlying the diary is the suspense of whether Mat's father will retain his seat during a famously uncertain election. This rudimentary story engages the audience and holds their attention, leaving them receptive to the other, more personal information that Mat provides.
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