Calgary Democracy Videos

Calgary Democracy videos on YouTube.

We are also compiling a channel of all election related videos online. You may be interested in following the new videos as they are posted there.

About our video project

The fundamental purpose of this project is to support and advance the use of video as a tool for increasing democratic dialogue and democratic engagement.

The initial focus of the project is on producing video interviews with candidates in local elections, and making those videos accessible to voters.

Long term ideas for the project include supporting citizen videos to dialogue with the candidates, and ongoing videos with elected representatives and would-be candidates outside of the election cycle.

Candidate Interview Videos

A project to produce and distribute videos featuring interviews with candidates running in elections in Calgary.

All of our candidate interview videos use the same general format. The videos are restricted to a maximum of 10 minutes each. This time limit was chosen for two reasons: First, most people won’t be able to pay clear attention to a single speaker for longer than that. Second, that’s the default time limit for video uploads to YouTube.

The questions

  1. Please state your name, political party (if applicable), and what office you are running for.
  2. Why are you running?
  3. What do you consider to be some of the key issues and how do you propose to deal with them
  4. Why should people vote for you?
  5. Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Videographer Shooting Guidelines

The videos are shot as a simple “talking head” with no fancy effects, zooms, or other visual enhancements. The candidate should be looking slightly off-camera, in typical interview style.

A nice, sound-controlled, well-lit, studio is the ideal setting — but most of the videos will be shot in less controlled locations. Allow the candidate some choice in their backdrop, but ensure there is sufficient contrast so that they don’t get lost in the background. Also, ensure that the background isn’t too busy so it doesn’t distract from the candidate.

Outdoors, daytime, with indirect sunlight, is optimal. If shooting indoors, or under other lower-lighting situations, ensure there is adequate light for the candidate to show up well on screen.

Be careful of background noise (equipment fans, traffic, planes overhead, etc.). Background silence is not required, but be sure that the candidate’s voice is not drowned out and that the background noise is not distracting.


  • Basic consumer-grade digital video cameras are fine for this project.
  • A tripod for the camera is required to prevent shaky video.
  • A lapel-mic with a foam wind cover is highly recommended to focus the sound recording on the candidate and limit other sources.


The videos include only the candidate — the interviewers are not shown or heard in the videos.

If an interview goes longer than 10 minutes, parts will be edited out until it is under 10 minutes. Other than that, editing is limited to adding titles and captions — we try to present the candidate and their words, unaltered. For cuts, a simple fade-out/fade-in effect is used.

If a candidate answers a question in a way that doesn’t immediately make clear the context, a simple white-text on black title may be inserted immediately before to establish context.


Candidates will be required to sign a release form freely authorizing the distribution and use of the video recording. The form will allow for unlimited redistribution, broadcast and display of the video, or portions thereof.

The videos will be distributed under a Creative Commons license — the “Creative Commons Attribution License” — allowing for free reuse by members of the public, media, community groups, etc.

The candidates will effectively be releasing their words with a license very close to the public domain. That’s in their interest since it will facilitate maximal spread of their interviews — and they presumably want to get their message out to as many voters as possible.


Candidates and their campaigns are welcome to produce their own videos using these guidelines and submit them to be included in our distribution.


  • Internet distribution of the videos will focus first of all on the more popular of video websites — currently, YouTube and Facebook — although the videos may be distributed through any number of other websites, as well. All videos will also be linked/shared through the Calgary Democracy site. The videos will be linkable and able to be embedded for any other websites that want to distribute them (including the candidates’ own websites).
  • DVDs of the videos may be produced, given sufficient time and resources. They would be made available through local community groups, libraries, and the candidates themselves. Arrangements may be made for screenings as well.
  • The candidates are encouraged to make use of their videos, such as by posting them to their own websites.

Contact Us

If you are interested in contributing to producing the videos, or are a candidate interested in being interviewed, please contact the Calgary Democracy video coordinator, Chelsea Pratchett, at