Documentary Video Boot Camp

The Documentary Video Boot Camp is a one-week, immersive, hands-on course I designed and taught nine times during winter inter-session and summer sessions at MassArt between 2009 and 2013. I’ve also taught a two-day version of it for O’Reilly media focused on the use of mobile phones. I would be happy to develop a custom version of this course for your organization, contact me for more information. This page was originally developed as a resource page for the course.

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

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

Original course description (long version).  Documentary Video Boot Camp covers the fundamentals of video documentary storytelling in an intimate and focused setting designed to help students develop a basic understanding of shooting techniques, picture composition, sound recording, lighting, interviewing, and editing. We’ll also include 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. The course is designed to accommodate 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.


Handouts (required reading)

Handouts (optional reading, good for both review and further study after attending the boot camp)

Additional Readings and Resources  (on this site)

Additional Readings and Resources (on other sites)

Legacy Documents (no longer used)

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 ( 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.