Documentary Video Boot Camp

The Documentary Video Boot Camp is a one-week, immersive, hands-on course I designed and taught nine times at MassArt between 2009 and 2013. I stopped teaching the Documentary Video Boot Camp at MassArt when I began teaching full-time at Northeastern University in the College of Arts, Media and Design.

The course lives on in various forms. I’ve taught a two-day version for O’Reilly media focused on the use of mobile phones. During the Summer of 2015 I taught a three day smartphone movie making camp at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in conjunction with the  Boston International Kids Film Festival. In addition, during the Summer of 2014 and 2015 I taught a  one-week version for middle-school  students at Somerville Community Access Television in conjunction with the Boston International Kids Film Festival. I would be happy to develop a version of this course for your organization, contact me for more information.


Documentary Video Boot Camp, January 2009, Photo by Anne Marie Stein

Course description. Documentary Video Boot Camp covers the fundamentals of  documentary storytelling in an intimate and focused setting designed to help participants develop a basic understanding of shooting techniques, picture composition, sound recording, lighting, interviewing, and editing. The course also includes 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, participants are exposed to a range of aesthetic, storytelling, and technical issues related to the production of documentary videos and building the confidence to apply them to subsequent work. The course accommodates students with no prior experience with video production as well as challenging students who already have some prior experience to hone their storytelling craft and technical skills.

Course materials. The handouts and resource links for the Documentary Video Boot Camp are no longer available on this page, however, a lot of the material originally developed for the class is making it’s way back on to the site in the form of blog posts. Perhaps you’ll find something interesting on our home page or by visiting the index of reference pages and resource guides available on this site. You may also contact me if there’s a specific handout or reference you’d like to obtain.

Photo by Anne Marie Stein.