Strengths and weaknesses
- Allows verbal and visual communication, making it possible to explain abstract concepts and underlying principles.
- People remember more of what they see than of what they hear.
- Helps to standardise technical information for accurate transmission.
- A process that happens over several weeks can be shown in 15 minutes.
- Presenting a technical message from a farmer perspective through video encourages innovation and trust, which increases the chances of a technology being adopted by local people.
- Reaches many people, even across regions and languages.
- Can be used with traditional media (radio, TV) and with
- new media (social networking) and can be combined into farmer field schools or other types of participatory research and extension approaches.
- Not everyone can afford the equipment needed to produce quality videos.
- Video screening may need to be combined with other methods (e.g. field demonstration) to teach new skills and practices.
- Certain operations can only be filmed at certain times of the year (e.g. planting, weeding, harvesting) or may require various visits to the field to film them, increasing the cost of video production and the time needed to produce the video.
BOX 1: Basic Video Production Equipment and Price Range (US$)
- Camcorder (US$400–800), high definition (HD) camera (US$200–2,000), 3CCD camera (under US$1,000), or flip camera (US$100–300)
- Tripod (US$100–500)
- Microphone: Tie-clip omni-directional (US$30–50), or shotgun or wireless (US$50–200)
- Headphones (US$50–200)
- Spare video batteries (optional) (US$50–150)
- Flash drive/external hard drive (US$50–200)
- Computer with editing software (US$300–1,800)
- Editing software (US$50–150)
Sometimes it seems that making the video is the easy part. Distributing videos over a wide area is challenging. You can usually find a shop that will print thousands of copies for you. These may cost as little as US$1 each, but getting them into the hands of farmers will require a distribution plan and partner organisations that work in different areas.
Lack of electricity and viewing equipment at the village level are widely perceived to be problems with videos. However, in recent years more villagers have mobile phones, which they charge on solar panels or at shops in the small towns. Videos can now be downloaded even onto cheap mobile phones. Most villages have at least one TV with a DVD player and a solar-powered battery.