Short Course Ethnographic Documentary.

By Posted in - News on October 17th, 2021

For 2022 we will run the course in person with provisional dates between 13 and 24 June. Course booking will open first of all for the members of our waiting list. Please use the form below to join it and be notified.

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The course usually takes place in mid-June and is addressed to beginners who want to learn the technicalities of camera use, editing and sound recording, applied to the specific perspective of ethnographic documentary and visual anthropology. Over the course of two weeks, you will learn how to shoot, make and edit films using a range of professional and/or easily available equipment. The course will include classes in visual methods, in using film and sound in research, the analysis of different documentary genres and instruction in audiovisual media across a range of platforms for disseminating research and achieving impact. Participants have come from all over the world and have previously included leading international academics, people from arts and scientific disciplines, teaching and NGO backgrounds, MA and PhD students, and University of Manchester staff. The course will include classes and workshops by Granada Centre staff such as Paul Henley, Rupert Cox, Angela Torresan and Andrew Irving. Equipment will be provided by the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. No previous filmmaking experience is required. We’re happy to announce that for 2020 (the sixth consecutive year) the total fees for the course have remained as follows:

  • Students and concessions (unemployed, University of Manchester staff): £950
  • Standard fee: £1150
  • Professors: £1350

The course was one of the most well-organized and informative courses I have ever been a part of. Not only do I come away from it with technical and theoretical knowledge, but the contacts, colleagues, and friends that I have made will be a part of my life and career for many years to come.

Shalini Ayyagari - Assistant professor in Ethnomusicology, University of Pittsburgh

Take a look at a gallery of images from previous editions of the course:


I highly recommend this course! In only two weeks I feel like I have learned the basics of filmmaking and would feel comfortable using these in a research project.

Samuèle Remillard-Boilard - PhD candidate, Sociology, University of Manchester
  These are some additional details about the content of the course:  
  • Introduction to ethnographic film with Angela Torresan, lecturer at the GCVA
  • Using a high definition digital camcorder: framing, exposure, file formats, handholding and using tripods
  • Setting up a healthy workflow: file management, backups, logging
  • Practical exercises with the technique of editing in camera
  • Sound recording with single system and double system, microphone types, placement techniques and related issues
  • Shooting of a short documentary over the weekend in teams of two
  • Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro in the edit suites of the Media Centre of the University of Manchester
  • Screening and feedback of footage shot by participants
  • Advanced camera techniques with award-winning filmmaker Phil Cox.
  • Collaborative and experimental methods with Andrew Irving, senior lecturer and director of the GCVA
  • Advanced sound recording with industry professionals
  • Promoting and distributing your work: new channels for direct digital distribution and reaching a broader public
  • Screening of documentaries and collective discussions

Great course! I believe that filmmaking practice for research is quite useless without theory. The short course provides both to a high standard.

Martin Wood - Professor, School of Management, RMIT

This is an example of a short documentary made during the course by first-time filmmakers Gillian Evans and Nicolau Arco Netto:


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