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

There are no available registration dates at this time.

NOTE: 2020 DATES FOR THIS COURSE HAVE BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19. Many courses have been Moved to an online format. VIEW THOSE OFFERINGS HERE 

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

In addition to being available as an individual workshop, this course is also Part of the 4-Week Documentary Intensive

Image Credits: Devin Altobello, Sophie Gibbings, Header Image:  Skip Klein

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Instructor: David Wright

David is an Emmy and BAFTA award winner who has worked in over 60 countries as a cameraman, producer and photographer. His work takes him everywhere from the streets of New York or Hong Kong, remote corners of central Africa, and the Australian Outback, to the Arctic and Antarctica. His clients include major television networks such as National Geographic, the BBC, PBS, and Discovery, as well as VSOD clients such as Curiosity Stream. Originally from the UK, he started out at Oxford Scientific Films (OSF), then moved to Australia. Now based in the US, David regularly shoots assignments throughout North America and internationally. In addition to working on BBC’s Frozen Planet, he lived in the Norwegian Arctic for two years while shooting a film on polar bears for National Geographic.