Introduction to Documentary Film Production (Section 1)

4801-501:
Discipline: Media Studies
Instructor: Wagner
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 08:00
End: 09:15
Field Work: Day 1 | Spain Download Syllabus

Before he was a filmmaker, the man known as the “father of documentary filmmaking” was an explorer. In 1913, Robert Flaherty brought a camera along on a journey to the Hudson Bay region of Canada. The result was Nanook of the North, widely regarded as the first documentary film. Following in Flaherty’s footsteps we will learn the art and craft of the documentary film and apply those skills to the creation of films documenting life in our ports-of-call. Emphasis will be on production and post-production concepts, including directorial point-of-view, camera style, scene coverage, story construction, editing rhythm, appropriate technology and the filmmaker-subject relationship. Instruction in, and the practice of, these production techniques will be complimented by consideration of the history, traditions and ethics of documentary filmmaking especially as they relate to the documentation of other cultures. Note: Students must provide, and be skilled in the use of, their own digital video cameras and editing software.

Special Requirements:

Introductory coursework or experience in shooting and editing motion pictures. All students must own, and be able to operate, their own digital video cameras and editing software.

Field Work

Country: Spain
Day: 1

Our Documentary Film Production Field Lab will utilize the vibrant neighborhoods of El Raval and Barri Gotic in Barcelona, both situated within walking distance of our ship. With the help of an interpreter/guide, we will shoot an ethnographic-style documentary scene over the course of the morning. We will consider issues such as the filmmaker/subject relationship, scene conceptualization and structure, shot selection and coverage, lighting and camera angles and movement. Around noon, we'll go to a local restaurant serving local fare for lunch and an additional filming session using the restaurant and its food as a documentary subject. We plan a mid-afternoon return to the ship.