Universiteit Leiden

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Document your fieldwork for social media outreach

23 May 2024

We all know that fieldwork seasons come with an overwhelming amount of tasks, and that
time management is crucial. This leaves very little time to think about live documentation for
social media while in the field.

Our social media team recognises the unrealistic nature of consistently posting about
fieldwork while the season is ongoing, but retroactive posting is just as valuable! If you want
to showcase your research, fieldwork process, and anything else with the general public, we
are here to do just that!

Since we can’t be in the field with you (although that would be ideal!) we have created a little
guide to the most convenient way you can take photos and videos while in the field. You only
need about 5-10 minutes total every working day (not every day, just at your discretion!).
Then you can leave those clips to us to work our magic.

Please send all your footage to redactie@arch.leidenuniv.nl

So how can you help us help you?

What you need:

  • a new-ish version of a smartphone (dslr cameras are amazing, but not necessary)
  • a comfortable amount of memory to store these photos/videos

Resolution and FPS Settings:

  • 1080 HD or 4K resolution
  • 30 fps or 60 fps

4K resolution is ideal, however you can choose not to do this if you’re worried about storage
space, as videos shot in 4K take up a lot more space.

Exposure Settings:

  • if you're shooting in broad daylight, adjust the exposure to be a little lower than the default setting. This will almost always ensure that overexposure doesn’t happen. Overexposure mainly can be seen when looking at the sky through your camera lens.
  • Some smartphones have pretty smart auto adjustments for exposure, so you may not have to do anything other than tap the screen where you see over exposure happening, and it will fix itself.

Orientation and Stability:

  • Take both horizontally and vertically oriented videos/photos. The vertical ones will be used for reels and stories, and horizontal ones can be featured in a documentary youtube video.
  • When shooting make sure you hold the phone as steady as possible, to maintain a crisp focus.


  • Most useful footage would be of a wide overview of the site you’re working on, action shots of people working, and footage of your community outreach days!
  • Extra footage that is always appreciated is shots that show the landscape of the region, and clips that show the local people, culture, food, etc.
  • Any special moments you encounter; whether they are exciting, funny, or even a bit frustrating, would be very nice to have some documentation of.

As long as everyone included in the footage is comfortable, every perfect and imperfect
moment is what makes a very transparent showcase of how research is conducted, and
shows how cool archaeology is!

More resources

For more details of how to take great videos with a smartphone, these two articles include
even more tips! But of course, not all of it is super necessary.

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