ANTHGS20: Practical Ethnographic and Anthropological Filmmaking Module
Interdisciplinary Module, Autumn Term 1 for 15 credits, to audit and for non-university
graduates for certification
Senior Tutor: Vikram Jayanti
Additional Tutor: Richard Curling
This course offers practical training in the skills of documentary digital video under the rubric that,
"We live in a world of
moving images and to communicate our ideas we need to be as fluent in the use
of sound and imagery as in the printed or the spoken word".
that was once technically remote, is now universally accessible, even for a
researcher with a mobile phone. The latest digital still cameras now shoot high
definition video and synchronous audio. Every researcher and fieldworker has
the tools to hand. This course enables researchers to use them with skill and
creativity to bring their academically informed genius to life with a vision that
can reach out to a wider audience. Thinking filmically is a different mode of
analysing and imagining the world that goes beyond text. Rather than being
explicatory, it takes on the revelatory function of exploring the sensorial
dimension of the human condition. How do we think? We think verbally, in sound,
kinaesthetically, dynamically, in abstract terms and visually. The visual has
become a primary tool of teaching, archival recording, visual analysis,
creative interpretation, communicating and engaging with a broader public.
We offer a unique hands-on 'practice-based' training in documentary film for
credit as part of a masters degree (15 course credits) to graduates in
anthropology, humanities, social sciences, and to suitably qualified applicants
from other subject areas. Students will be trained in the technical and
creative skills of video and digital technology to represent and document
social and scientific research to broadcast
standards under the guidance of a teacher who is both a trained anthropologist
and an award-winning and experienced industry professional guiding them through
both the practical skills, aesthetic and ethical approaches to visual
The course will entail a Laboratory Fee on top of any fee for a UCL Masters degree to cover the cost of tuition and equipment. Places are reserved by paying a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the fee. If you are not from the anthropology department please ensure with your course tutor that s/he agrees to you taking this course before making any payment.
UCL Masters' students from School of Historical and Social Sciences and from the Arts and Humanities Faculty who take the course for credit will be charged a £1,025 Laboratory Fee. £475 will be paid by their degree to the account of ANTHGS20. (Non Home/EU Masters' students from these faculties will pay £275 and have £1,225 paid by their degree programme).
UCL Masters students from other faculties will need to seek our help to determine whether their degree programmes can help subsidise their fee.
Any UCL student not taking the course for credit (e.g. PhD students) will need to pay the full £1,500 Laboratory Fee.
Students from outside UCL may take
this course at the full rate, but they should be able to secure a transfer from
their home institution to UCL worth an appropriate proportion of their total
fee – in the same way as UCL students can.
Outside masters students from another university can only receive credits from this course if this is negotiated and agreed beforehand with their course tutor.
Anyone taking this course 'not for
masters credit' will receive a screenable show reel of their film and a
certificate of attendance, in the same way as all non-university
individuals participating in this course.
Students will have full access to the UCL Anthropology Audio Visual Lab with 15 Adobe Premier Pro enabled edit machines as well as camera kits (shared one between two students) for the duration of the course.
Students using Department of
Anthropology cameras are responsible for any loss, damage or repair
costs. Any failure to reimburse the department will result in a debt to
UCL with the standard consequences.
You will acquire the technical skills needed to complete a 15-minute video
project to broadcast standards using the cameras, workstations and facilities
in the department's visual laboratory. Students will acquire practical,
analytical and intellectual skills in using moving image and sound recording
equipment and discover how new technologies create new methodologies.
This course, led by Senior Tutor Vikram Jayanti, focuses on the single-person
multi-tasking and observational style of filmmaking in which students shoot,
record sound, edit and director their own film, responding to an undirected
actuality and learn how to structure shot footage. It differs from the more pre-scripted and
televisual style of filmmaking in the Term 2 Documentary Filmmaking course, in
which students can team up with others to produce a joint project with different
students exploring the skills of directing, camerawork, sound recording and
During the course students will examine and deploy a range of the technical, stylistic, aesthetic, and representational dynamics involved in video construction. By doing so, you will become more informed as well as practically experienced commentators on the 'truths', 'fictions', styles, genres, ethics and modes of filmmaking. You will recognise the potential of film to document research, and have explored issues of representation and audience reception. Structure of the Course:
- This being a practical course, the reading load focuses on technical handouts and equipment manuals. The usual reading requirement is exchanged for the compulsory hours each student spends on practical work and editing their own project, estimated at a minimum 100 hours and a maximum of 150 hours for a 15-minute film.
- The tutor and assistant are available to students outside term-time during the vacation break to assist and comment on the final editing stage of student's video projects.
- The course is assessed 80% on the student's final 15-minute video project, devised, shot and edited during the course, and 20% on a Project Diary.
- Weeks 1-3 of the course focus on hands-on exercises and appraisal sessions aimed at preparing the student in manual control of camera image, synchronous sound and techniques of sequence building and shooting to edit.
- Weeks 4-5 concentrate on synopsis, treatment, location, characterisation, narrative structure, scripting, storyboarding, logistics, legal and ethical responsibilities, narrative structure, aesthetics, character and location research.
- Weeks 6-8 are concerned with developing editing skills using the student's own digitised footage, through assembly, to rough cutting and on to fine cutting and picture lock.
- The final 9th week deals with outputting, DVD authoring and finding an audience.
- During 5 weeks of the subsequent vacation and the last four weeks of post-production training (weeks 6-9) student should be working on the rushes/footage that they have successfully filmed. The possibility also exists for the student to shoot and complete the post-production editing during the Christmas break and the first weeks of the spring term having already gained proficiency to work alone.
further information please contact Richard Curling, firstname.lastname@example.org
For further details on the course please check the information available in Moodle.