You’ve most likely run into plenty of diverse cultures besides your own while travelling, at work and on social events, amongst many other settings. All of us can admit that most of these cultures are as unique as fingerprints.
For example, in some places, taking a picture or video of someone is seen as a taboo. Some cultures, like those in specific Asian countries, consider it rude and insensitive to include three people in the same photo. The same applies to individuals, corporate, and other groups/institutions within our society.
As a videographer or photographer, the question you will want to ask yourself right now is “How effective have I been at capturing or taking videos of other cultures?”
Well, let’s find out. To begin with, we’ll look at the roles culture and traditions play in video production in Nairobi, Kenya and beyond.
What Role Do Culture And Traditions Play In Videography In Nairobi?
Superstitions, taboos, values, and religious reasons are among the things you should be most sensitive to when filming persons, events, corporate, or other groups. Failure to take them into considerations may result in your work being rejected and/or face great criticism, not to mention the possibility of your career reputation or brand image suffering. Future potential clients from different backgrounds and cultures may also be unwilling to work with you given your questionable past working with people from other cultures.
All these instances clearly demonstrate why it’s in your best interest to research as much as you can about the culture, people, event and much more before and during the shoot. An additional advantage to this is that you will even know where to go, what to look for and include in your shoot to make it interesting, and so on.
If you are not sure about whether it’s okay to shoot certain situations or people, politely just ask.
Relevance In Post-Production
Even after completing the shooting, there’s still going to be another equally important issue: representation. To begin with, you have to ensure that the story, event, or whatever you have covered completely preserves its cultural integrity.
Often, videographers find themselves depicting certain aspects in derogatory ways, albeit unknowingly. It’s common to hear clients complain that a professional events videographer showed little to no regard to their personal integrity or cultural elements when they finally view the final draft.
A good example is a traditional or religious wedding. Most will use words such as “insulting” or “offensive” to describe misrepresentation(s) of their culture in your video.
So, how do you avoid that? It’s simple: Spare enough time to know and understand the people, group, or event you are representing together with their cultures. That includes the words, songs, language, cultural symbols, and so on. All of them should portray the culture correctly.
If you have doubts, go ahead and ask the right people or do research until you find satisfactory answers/responses to your concerns during post-production. This will help you avoid embarrassing situations like cutting, starting and mixing speeches or placing comments and/or conversations at wrong/awkward points.
As mentioned earlier, there are cultures where you are not permitted to take a video or photo of certain people or situations. Religious ceremonies are a great example.
Some Muslims, for instance, will not permit you to film or take a photo of the women, particularly when they are unaccompanied. The same applies to engraved images and religious artifacts because of religious traditions that prohibits it.
Buddhists too do not permit shooting or photographing of their religious sites or worshippers. And if you ignore it, you could get into a lot of trouble.
Knowledge of all the religious aspects relevant to filming or photographing is what has helped us at Clinet Media to complete events video production and projects of this nature successfully, our most recent being a Hindu-themed birthday party.
Multiple experiences with such work compel us to agree that videographers should take full responsibility of finding out all they can about cultures, religions and their traditions. However uncomfortable this may be for you, always remember that this is about securing the future of your career and also ensuring your client is satisfied.
Shooting in different cultures can be a rich, rewarding, and memorable experience, but before you go down this path, always spare some time to learn about your client or event and to approach the project in question with sensitivity. Good luck!