Short courses


Shooting Documentary: an Introduction

  • 24 hours
  • 3 days over 3 weekends


On this three-day course you'll learn the camera skills you need to shoot and create documentary films.

The course is taught through a series of hands-on exercises that increase in complexity over the three days.

You'll have access to professional camera and sound equipment for the duration of the course, as well as access to the edit suite following the course.

The course runs on three consecutive Saturdays, from 11am to 5pm.

The course is led by editor and filmmaker Romain Beck.

This course is run by the Open City Docs School, based in UCL's Department of Anthropology.

Course content

Through a series of camera exercises you'll learn the following filmmaking skills:

  • hand-held shooting technique using a professional video camera
  • how to use a tripod
  • intelligent use of automatic controls
  • getting good sound for interviews
  • filming a sequence
  • filming uncontrolled action
  • filming for the edit

The course tutor will take you through the editing process with raw material and explain why certain choices were made in bringing together a scene.

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for beginners. 

There are no pre-requisites required to apply for this course.

Benefits of taking this course

Taking this course you'll:

  • be taught by a professional documentary filmmaker
  • have access to professional camera equipment
  • have unique access to a filmmaker and her editor, who'll guide you through how footage can then be used in the edit
  • have access to use the media lab and editing software at UCL after the course has finished

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you'll have an understanding of how to:

  • use a hand-held professional video camera
  • get good sound 
  • film a sequence
  • film uncontrolled action

You'll also have an understanding of what it means to 'film for the edit'.

Cost and concessions

This course costs:

  • £300 - full price
  • £270 - external students
  • £250 - UCL students

Course team

Romain Beck - Tutor

Romain Beck - Tutor

With a background in fine art and theatre, Romain started out as a film editor nine years ago. He's worked mostly with documentary filmmakers and artists. His recent work includes the video installation Landlessness shown at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, Disastro (Jihlava Film Festival and Whitechapel Gallery), and the feature length documentary Larryland. He also edited the festival favourite short documentary, the Watchmaker (SXSW, Hot Docs, DokLeipzig) which won awards and is on various online platforms.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01