Noam Shalev's Posts
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The Israeli – Palestinian conflict creates unique filming opportunities for documentary
film-makers, but it caused tragedies as well. The dynamics of the conflict, the
proximity of the hot areas to major cities and the relative ease of crossing between
Israel and the West Bank or Gaza make it an easy conflict-area to work at, compared
to may other hostile conflict areas throughout the world.
The intensity of news coverage in Israel is probably higher than anywhere else in the
world. Cameramen are everywhere, even in active combats. But unlike the foreign
producer who films such event, the Israeli cameraman and producer know where to
stand and how to react to changes in their position. They understand what the crowd is
shouting, they recognize the fighting parties’ targets and are careful not to be caught in
middle-ground. It is utterly important to trust the person leading you to the
confrontation: make sure he can be on both sides; verify he knows the area and has
contact persons to gather information from; make sure there is a way to leave the area
safely and quickly in case the circumstances become too dangerous.
There are three golden rules in filming violent clashes in Israel:
1 – make sure that your crew is easily identifiable as camera crew. All crew members
must wear helmets and bullet proof vests with large “press” stickers on them. Make
sure the vests are not green – your crew may be mistaken for IDF soldiers!
Mark your vehicle with “press” or “TV” stickers. At checkpoint – do not proceed until
you are told to and do not film without permission – that may cause long delays and
confiscation of your tapes.
2 – Make sure that those who are using guns know about you and the purpose of your
filming. If you can communicate with the soldiers or militants, do so before you
change position; Do not approach a shooting soldiers or militant from the back; Do
not stick a camera in the face of a soldier or militant if that may startle him;
3 – Plan your movements in advance. Make sure you are not crossing any line of fire
when moving between filming points; Ask for the advise of other cameramen near
you – they have probably experienced many such incidents. Leave your vehicle on or
near a main road facing the direction you will use to leave the area.