Creating Video

What Metadata to Capture

Key contextual information about your video needs to be captured at the time it is created. This metadata is critical to the video’s authenticity, and to the ability to find, use, and understand the video.

Gather contextual information as you shoot your video.

Gather contextual information as you shoot your video.


The key pieces of information to capture at the point of creation are:

  1. When

    The date and time recorded / created.

  2. Where

    The geographic location of recording.

  3. What and Why

    A basic description – the important details about the event recorded that would be difficult to identify later (e.g. people’s names, the purpose for recording) or that make the event significant (e.g. shelling during a ceasefire, violence against civilians).

  4. Who

    The video’s source. The full name (or pseudonym, if not safe) and contact information (if safe to provide) of the video’s creator.

  5. Security requirements

    Whether or not the identities of the video’s subjects or creator need to be protected.

Other information, such as detailed descriptions or keywords, will be important to making your video more findable and understandable but are not critical at this stage. Additional information can be added later at different stages of the workflow (see “Catalog”).

Video as Evidence Tip

Hash values are another type of metadata that are particularly important for evidentiary video. They can be used to show whether your files have been tampered with over time, so it is valuable to capture them as early as possible in the video lifecycle. Some recording devices may be able to embed hashes in the video file at the point of creation. Otherwise, you can compute hashes after you offload them to a computer (see “Transfer” for more information on how to do this).

  • The most important metadata to capture when recording a video are: date and time, geographic location, basic description, safety and security requirements, and who shot the video.
  • Other information can be added later to aid understandability and findability of the video.
  • There are many ways to capture information, including using camera settings to automatically embed data, or using a separate pre-formatted template like a spreadsheet.
  • Different ways of capturing information have different safety and security risks and logistical requirements.
  • When creating edited videos, output at full resolution, name your video files consistently, and keep your project files.
The Archiving Workflow

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