Explore the camera’s unique and pivotal role in nonfiction storytelling

Date:  Jun 17-23, 2018
Levels:  Beginner, Intermediate
Workshop Fee:  $1295
Max Class Size: 14

Additional Dates Offered: Sep 2-8, 2018

Today’s audience has become very sophisticated in their appreciation of the visual art of filmmaking. Expectations by audiences are for a high level production quality in all visual forms of storytelling, including documentary film. This workshop provides students with an understanding of how photography and cinematography tools and skills are adapted to address the unique demand of non-fiction filmmaking.

This one-week course is for emerging and professional documentary filmmakers and cinematographers who want to explore the technical and creative role that the camera plays in documentary production. Through screenings, analysis of documentaries, examination of camera style, and a close look at technical and storytelling solutions, students will become experts at defining what makes a convincing documentary. Throughout the week the class will examine the importance of anticipating technical and logistical choices before the shoot. The workshop covers storytelling, shot design, sequencing and continuity, blocking and camera moves, composition, POV, and lens selection.

The mornings are spent in the classroom for discussion, critiques, and screenings. The afternoons are dedicated to research and fieldwork as the students find and shoot a short documentary, and gain practical experience handling the camera in a variety of situations. Scenes are edited for review and critique.

Notable former students include Academy Award-winner, Laura Poitras, director “Citizenfour” (Best Documentary, Oscars – 2015)


I came away knowing 500% more than I knew coming in

– Matthew Johnson, Washington, DC

Documentary camera was both humbling and empowering as a whole new way of ‘seeing’ & perspective opened with regards to filming and as we were given unusual opportunities to practice new skills with encouraging feedback

– L. Stager, Searsmont, ME

Image Credits: Devin Altobello, Sophie Gibbings

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Instructor: Hilda Mercado, AMC

Hilda’s credits include feature films, commercials, documentaries, and television series shot in the United States, China, Kuwait, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico. She has an MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and also honed her talents in workshops at Maine Media. Her cinematography credits include the CBS documentary TV series 48 Hours, Dead Silent, I See You, Alivio, Let Them Eat Cake, A Guy Walks Into a Bar, and Sebastian. Her credits as a camera operator include I Tonya, Stranger Things, The Nice Guys, Good Girls, Shots Fired, Hap and Leonard, MacGyver, and South of Nowhere.