Documentary Video Boot Camp
This is the resource page for my Documentary Video Boot Camp course. Below you’ll find links to handouts, presentations, and reference materials related to the class.
The next time this class will be offered is during the Winter inter-session during January, 2014. Check with MassArt Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) online or call 617.879.7200 for more information and/or to register. For questions specific to the class itself you are encouraged to contact me directly. Early registration is recommended because the class always runs and sometimes fills with a waiting list . The next time the course will be offered is during Winter Inter-session, 2014.
MPFV225 Documentary Video Boot Camp
June 3-7, 2013, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 1.5 credits. Offered through MassArt Professional and Continuing Education. Instructor and course designer: David Tamés. Note: the class includes an optional editing lab on Thursday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
The Documentary Video Boot Camp is a one-week, immersive, hands-on experience in which you’ll learn the fundamentals of video documentary storytelling in an intimate and focused setting. You will develop a basic understanding of shooting techniques, picture composition, sound recording, lighting, interviewing, and editing. We’ll also cover a brief survey of history and ethical issues. The core of the class is a series of hands-on exercises exploring traditional, personal, and cinema verite approaches. Through exercises, screening, discussion, and critique, you will be exposed to a range of aesthetic, storytelling, and technical issues related to the production of documentary videos and build confidence to apply them to your own work.
Documentary Video Boot Camp is designed to accomodate students with no prior experience with video production as well as students who already have some prior experience but want to hone their visual storytelling craft and technical skills. You are encouraged to bring your own camera, I’ve got experience using a variety of cameras including iPhones, consumer camcorders, prosumer camcorders, and D-SLRs in my documentary work so I’m happy to accommodate a wide range of cameras in the class. In fact, dealing with multiple camera types has become a reality of contemporary documentary production. If this is your first time shooting video, we’ll have consumer camcorders available for you to use. If you’ve already done some shooting, you can try your hand using a prosumer camcorder.
The class will require your full attention during the week, so plan ahead. In addition to the the five class meetings from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., there are readings you’ll be expected to do in the evenings and there’s an optional editing laboratory on Thursday night which is optional but highly recommended for students without prior editing experience.
Handouts (required reading)
- Syllabus (PDF, includes schedule for the week and description of assignments)
- Visual storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary by Nancy Kalow, published by The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (PDF, link to external site, read on Monday night)
- Notes on the Interview (PDF, handout, read on Tuesday night)
- Notes on Editing the Documentary (PDF, an outline for further study)
- Some notes on the micro-documentary process (PDF, handout, read over the week-end following the boot camp)
- Self assessment and follow-up notes (PDF, handout, read over the week-end following the boot camp)
Handouts (optional reading, good for both review and further study after attending the boot camp)
- Interview Lighting Slides (PDF, presentation slides)
- Interview Lighting Notes (PDF, notes to accompany slides above)
- Sound for Documentary (PDF, handout, covers sound and sound gear fundamentals)
- Sound Recording Slides (PDF, presentation slides)
- Sound Recording Notes (PDF, notes to accompany slides above)
- Art of the Interview Slides (PDF, presentation slides)
- An entry-level documentary starter kit (link to blog post)
- Prosumer starter kits (PDF, currently in preparation, will be available after the summer class at some point)
- Canon VIXIA HFM300 consumer camcorder (PDF, link to external site, read this if you plan on using the “standard issue” HFM300 consumer camcorder in class, otherwise read the AG-HMC150 document)
- Panasonic AG-HMC150 prosumer camcorder (PDF, includes glossary of camera terminology, a working draft, please get back to me with your feedback for improvements, read this if you plan on using the Panasonic HMC150 prosumer camcorder, otherwise read the VIXIA HFM300 document)
Additional Readings and Resources (on this site)
- Documentary Proposal Template (PDF, 46 KB)
- Release Forms (PDF), also available as a zip archive which contains the forms in the form of individual PDF files: DVB-release-forms.zip (ZIP archive)
- Wireless Microphones (PDF)
- Documentary reading list (PDF)
- One Hundred Documentary Films (suggested viewing list, PDF)
- Resources for Documentary Filmmakers
- Notables of the Noughties: 35 documentary films, 2000-2009 (blog post)
- Sixty-seven excellent documentaries available through Netflix (blog post)
- Ten Documentary Films (blog post)
Additional Readings and Resources (on other sites)
- Fair Use & Copyright (Center for Social Media, American University School of Communication)
- Interview Basics (Adam Weiss)
- Getting Interviews to Tell the Story (article by Hermine Muskat in New England Film (July, 2007) about the interviews in Remembering John Marshall)
Legacy Documents (we no longer use the DVX100 camera in this class
- DVX100 Camera Basics (PDF download, covers DVX100B and includes a technical glossary)
- Suggested DVX100 settings and information links (link to blog post, also applies to DVX100A and DVX100B)
- DVX-100A Gamma Curves Chart (link to blog post)
Some of these documents are released under the terms of a Creative Commons Share-Alike, Attribution, Non-Commercial license, others are Creative Commons No-Derivatives, Attribution, Non-Commercial license. You are free to share and reuse these materials under the terms of the respective license of each document. Please link back to this page (http://kino-eye.com/reference/dvb/) for attribution. If you have any questions or require permission for commercial use of these materials, or to create derivative works from documents licensed as no-derivative, please contact me.