Short courses


Sound Recording for Documentary Film

  • Tuesday evenings (7pm to 9pm)
  • 4 weeks


This online evening course will give you the skills you need to capture great sound for film, and deal with problems that can occur on set.

You'll learn about equipment and recording techniques, such as booming and radio mic setting, as well as what constitutes a ‘good’ sound recording.

The course is delivered with the understanding that documentary films can be produced under a range of conditions and budgets.

Sessions are held on Tuesday evenings, from 7pm to 9pm, over four weeks.

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

Who this course is for

This course is open to all, whether you're making a film solo and need specific advice to improve the sound on your project, or want to start your journey towards working as a sound recordist.

Course content

Session 1

  • What are we trying to achieve as documentary sound recordists? What constitutes a ‘good’ sound recording?
  • Before you’ve picked up your kit: Understanding the requirements of a specific job, locations, relationships with crew and contributors, and being prepared.
  • Making your editor happy: What can we provide to our editor to make sure that the sound is as good as possible in the edit?

Session 2

  • Working as a one-man band:  Advantages and disadvantages, kit, camera settings.
  • Working as a sound recordist: Kit options, mixers/recorders and their various features, working effectively with other crew members, booming technique.

Session 3

  • Radio mics: frequencies, settings and placement.
  • Microphones: polarities and uses of each.
  • Contact microphones and hydrophones.

Session 4

  • Tips for filming in specific scenarios.
  • Q&A: An opportunity for your to present a specific situation and discuss the best approach with the group.

Cost and concessions

This course fees are:

  • £220 - full price
  • £180 - students

Course team

Will Davies

Will Davies

Will is a freelance sound recordist and has worked on a large range of projects, from feature films to reality TV. He trained in sound recording at the National Film and Television School (NFTS). In 2014 he co-founded Whalebone Films, an award winning documentary film production company.

Working as part of a small production team means Will works in many disciplines within filmmaking. As well as recording sound, he has co-directed, produced and edited a number of documentaries which have had success at festivals around the world. This breadth of experience across the process of documentary filmmaking makes him well placed to teach sound recording to others who anticipate working as part of small teams, or those who want to appreciate how a documentary sound recordist can work in a way which is of greatest benefit to their director and the project.

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