The purpose of this wiki is to collaboratively write a guide on how to produce a Global Lives Project shoot. This text is designed as a supplement to the recently produced 9-minute Video Guide also titled "How to Tape Someone for 24 Hours," shot in São Paulo alongside the Brazil Global Lives Project shoot on 21 May 2006 and produced by Ana Nassar, Marcelo Vitali, Eduardo Barros and Jessie Sklair with support from the Museum of the Person in São Paulo.


Welcome to the Global Lives Project! This document is designed to help you prepare for and execute a successful Global Lives Project shoot.

A Global Lives Shoot, or "Day Print," consists of 24 consecutive hours of footage of one person's life. Doing a shoot is not as technically complicated as producing a standard documentary or feature-length movie because there is no staging involved and there are no second takes--this is just a straight shoot of 24 hours in someone's life. However, it is very important that camera operators be skilled and have at least some experience with the camera being used or a similar model.

There are only two actual "rules" that the collective has adopted for these shoots, mainly for practical reasons related to the exhibition itself:

Rule #1: Don't stop the camera -- The camera should only stop rolling to change tapes. If available, try to have a second camera in order to be able to prep one with tape and fresh batteries so as not to miss a single second of the day. The goal is to have as close to 24 full hours of footage as possible. NOTE: There is no need to put color bars at the beginning of the tapes!

Rule #2: Try not to let the on-screen participant go off camera for more than 30 seconds at a time.

Panning and just looking around at objects and other people on the site can definitely add to the shoot, but when this goes for more than 30 seconds, we will risk having the audience in the exhibition not know who the actual subject of the shoot is upon entry into the viewing rooms.

In the case of bathroom usage, illegal activities, or other moments in which the on-screen participant prefers not to be filmed, we encourage camera operators to either shoot a door handle or other stationary object or else to pan around at the surroundings. If the on-screen participant is comfortable with it, taping of, for example, just their feet or just their head while showering or using a toilet makes for a good, uninterrupted shot. If not, so be it.

Aside from these two rough rules, the rest is up to you. Stylistic choices such as camera angles, lighting, interaction with the subject, etc. are up to each director. We will provide information below on what has been done in previous shoots to give you ideas on previous approaches taken, but none of this is intended to be dogmatic and we invite your contributions or questions.

  • The project
  • Exhibition space
  • Eventual online open-source Global Lives Video Library


  • Camera
  • Sound
  • Tripod
  • Support Vehicle


General jobs:

  • Executive Producer (responsible for oversight of all logistical and technical aspects of the shoot, coordinating teams, planning out day's schedule, coordinating equipment, tapes, batteries, vehicle(s), transport of crew members, etc.)
  • [Assistant Producer/Executive Producer - optional]

Individual Teams (3 or 4 teams, each team shooting 4 to 10 hours, structure can be modified to fit needs of each part of day/night)

  • Cameraperson/Director #1 (most experienced, or "lead" camera)
  • Cameraperson/Director #2 (heirarchy optional here)
  • [Director - optional; camerapeople can also be own directors]
  • Technical Assistant/Cameraperson #3 (makes sure that tapes, camera batteries, mic batteries are always ready and charged)
  • Still photographer (could this also be included in Tech Asst./Cam #3?)
  • Producer/General Coordinator (stays mostly with support vehicle, link between shooting team and the vehicle, coordinates route, organizes food for teams, makes sure nothing goes wrong)
  • Driver
  • [Security - optional depending on risk level]


  • Throw a party!

V. THE LIFE STORY INTERVIEW (combine with getting the schedule for the person's day?)


  • Tips on using the camera
  • Tips on sound
  • Tips on managing the team
  • Try not to let the subject leave the screen for more than 1 minute
  • Be creative! Pan out and explore the surroundings. Focus in on everyday objects.
  • Every two hours on the even hour zoom all the way out and look around for a minute.


  • Transcription, translation and editing -distributed collaboration
  • Subtitling
  • Digitizing?
  • Make a copy of each of the tapes


  • Take lots of pictures and video if possible throughout the process of putting together your team, selecting a subject, meetings, and even on the day of the shoot, if a second camera is available.