Lives in Focus:
Recording oral history interviews on video

In response to a growing demand, this one day course, jointly organised by National Life Stories at the British Library and the Oral History Society will give an introduction to the principles and techniques of recording, editing and distributing oral history on video. It is aimed at those with little or no experience and it will take participants in a plain and simple way through the various stages of video production – plan/shoot/edit/share. It will examine the advantages and disadvantages of video over audio recordings, give practical advice on recording techniques, offer guidance on suitable equipment, give an introduction to digital video editing software and techniques, show examples of ways in which video interviews can be shared with others and clarify legal and ethical issues and archiving. The day will offer many opportunities for discussion and hands-on work. Previous attendance on an oral history basic training course, or a familiarity with oral history interviewing techniques, is desirable.


Roger Kitchen is a BL/OHS- accredited trainer with more than thirty years experience of collecting oral history on audio and video.

Course Structure

10.00 Overview of the day, course member and tutor introductions

10.30 Why record interviews on video?
Group discussion with course members – what might you gain from recording an interview
with video as opposed to audio only? Consider the different types of video interview and the
potential role played by each.

11.00 Tea and Coffee Break

11.15 Planning a typical interview to be shot on video
Considering the objective for the video recording process, we look at some
examples of interviews that have been shot according to a tried and tested
formula and note what they all have in common.

12.00 Practical interview recording exercise
We involve course members in recording a short (5 min) interview segment in order to
demonstrate what a “good practice” approach might consist of.

13.00 Lunch (not provided)

14.00 The types of equipment required to record interviews on video
We consider what resources are required to make a video recording of an oral history
interview. An increasing choice exists where video camera technology is
concerned. Choices are determined by the determination of standards and of budget.

15.00 Tea and Coffee Break

15.15 To what uses will recorded interview material be put?
In this segment, we reflect upon the discussion that took place in the
morning regarding the reason/s why the medium of video is employed in this
context. Applications might include:

• capturing an interview as a means of generating an asset for depositing into
a library archive;
• capturing an interview in order to acquire source material for creative video
production applications and outputs;
• both of the above.
A discussion about what you will need to know about recording formats and systems, library
archive standards etc. What does the brief stipulate to you that determines your practice?
Where a level of editing is required, will you need merely to undertake simple tidy-up top ’n
tail trims or is the objective to create complete edited video productions from the recorded
interview materials?
Show a video sequence containing a quick overview of some leading video editing software
packages look like, what they have in common despite differing appearances, what they can
achieve and how a range of outputs can result.

15.45 Archive file formats and storage media
A brief presentation about how recorded clips might be prepared for library archiving.

16.00 Legal and Ethical Issues; Archiving
The legal and ethical implications of gathering and using people’s testimonies on video, plus the use of recordings in a variety of public settings.

16.15 Feedback on the day

16.30 Close

Course prices

Full attendance fee: £135.00
OHS member fee: £98.00

How to Book

Please note:

  • There will be no refunds for cancelled places
  • Due to high demand and in order to ensure that each course has attendees with a variety of interests and backgrounds, a maximum of two people from any one institution may attend each course.

The following OHS training dates are available:

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For all questions relating to training (including further clarification of course content and reduced rate eligibility) please contact our training administrator.

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We apologise if this has happened to you, we’ve had a glitch in the online system and may have missed some bookings. Please contact us if you’ve experienced a problem or not received a booking confirmation email within five working days: Michelle Winslow, Oral History Society Website Coordinator: