Documentary Filmmaking 2023-24
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
The Documentary Filmmaking module is designed to provide university-level students with a comprehensive understanding of the art and techniques involved in creating impactful and thought-provoking documentaries. Students will explore the rich history, diverse genres, and ethical considerations of documentary filmmaking, while gaining hands-on experience in the production process.
Throughout the module, students will be introduced to the key components of documentary filmmaking, including concept development, research, scriptwriting, cinematography, sound design, editing, and post-production. They will learn how to translate ideas into compelling visual narratives that inform, engage, and inspire audiences.
The module will emphasize practical learning. Students will work collaboratively in teams to develop their documentary concepts, conduct research, and plan their productions. They will also have access to professional-grade equipment and editing facilities, allowing them to gain proficiency in camera operation, lighting techniques, sound recording, and non-linear editing software.
Ethics in documentary filmmaking will be a focal point of the module. Students will examine the responsibility of filmmakers to represent reality truthfully, the impact of their work on subjects and audiences, and the ethical considerations when editing footage or incorporating reenactments. They will be encouraged to reflect on their role as storytellers and the potential social, cultural, and political implications of their documentaries.
By the end of the module, students will have produced their own short documentary film, demonstrating their mastery of documentary techniques and storytelling. They will have developed skills in research, interviewing, cinematography, sound design, and editing, and gained an understanding of the collaborative nature of the documentary filmmaking process.
Overall, the Documentary Filmmaking module equips students with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to create compelling and socially relevant documentaries. It empowers them to use the medium of film to explore and shed light on complex issues, engage audiences, and contribute to the broader discourse on real-world events and human experiences.
During the first half of the module students will be given formal instruction in both documentary theory and media practice. This part of the module will examine the ways in which theoretical viewpoints influence the work of practitioners. It will also give students instruction in some basic media production techniques. In addition, the workshop sessions held during the first part of the course will allow students to undertake pre-production work on their final projects, in consultation with the tutors.
During the second half of the semester, the emphasis of the module will shift, and the timetabled sessions will be used to provide advice and guidance to students on the developments of their documentary film projects.
-Threshold (-D / 40%>)Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows: Generally accurate but with omissions and errors. Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning. Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions. Draws on a relatively narrow range of material.
-Good (-C / 50%>)Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: Good structure and logically developed arguments. At least in parts draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student. Assertions are, in the main, backed by evidence and sound reasoning. Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.
Very Good (-C / 60%>) Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: Very good structure and logically developed arguments. Draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student. Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning. Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.
-Excellent (-A / 70%>Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways: Has originality of exposition with the student's own thinking being readily apparent. Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study. Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions.
- Critically interrogate the process of media production in relation to media production theory
- Demonstrate advanced technical skill in one aspect of documentary media production
- Demonstrate an advanced ability to discuss and analyse the collaborative nature of documentary media production
- Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the processes by which documentaries are produced
Logbook Or Portfolio
Portfolio including short film (or other documentary media) of between 5-10 minutes in length, and associated paperwork. Paperwork will normally consist of a project proposal, H&S risk assessment, audience/market strategy and group working statement. However, this list is not definitive, and students may vary elements of the portfolio in consultation with their supervisors, during the semester.
Essay on the ethics of documentary film production