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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Documentary Video Production
Module Code CM5996
School Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Tom Burke
Semester 2: Tom Burke
Autumn: Tom Burke
Module TeacherNo Teacher Assigned
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This modules aims to equip students with an advanced understanding of video production techniques and methods with specific application to the documentary form. Location camera and sound work, use of artificial and natural lighting along with strong post production skills are framed with an emphasis on self reliance and independent capacity.

Learning Outcomes

1. Conduct interviews in a studio based environment with artificial lighting and multiple sound sources
2. Become proficient in the use of professional grade digital cinema cameras with an advanced understanding and control of the variables of digital image production.
3. Become proficient in using external and onboard microphones to record picture synchronised sound in a variety of non-controlled (non-studio) environments
4. Gain an appreciation of cinematography techniques vis a vis natural lighting sources and incidental lighting sources available in any shooting location.
5. Using Adobe Premiere Pro (or similar non-linear editor) to edit, mix and grade video footage to a professional level of finish
6. Produce an auto-ethnography featuring each student constructed via interviews, broll and personal archive materials - photo and video
7. Become proficient in interview techniques in a production setting with focus on building rapport, guiding conversations and gaining valuable building blocks of storytelling
8. Gain the ability to reflect critically on which filmmaking techniques and styles can best be applied to tell a particular story.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture12Linking Theory to Method
Seminars24Studio and lab based filming and editing sessions guided by the lecturer
Assignment Completion40Assignment 1
Assignment Completion60Assignment 2
Independent Study54No Description
Directed learning60No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Module Delivery
This module is delivered via a series of lectures and workshops and resource based learning and demonstrations.

Digital Cinematography
Advanced training to a professional standard on the Sony FX6 and FX3 digital cinema cameras incl. use of prime and zoom lenses. Fully manual control of image creation variables - focus, aperture, depth of field, colour space, frame rates, data rates, file formats.

Studio/Artificial Lighting
Shooting interviews in a controlled studio based environment with total control over studio lighting rig and mobile lights including colour temperature variations.

Natural Lighting
Practical demonstrations of using available and natural and incidental lighting to achieve the desired aesthetic results in any location based environment.

Field Sound Recording
In parallel with CM555, demonstrating the professional practices of gathering professional quality audio in studio and location based environments. Use of different microphones for specific circumstances, microphone placement, noise reduction, frame awareness etc.

Post Production
Advanced skills development in non-linear digital video editing using Adobe Premiere Pro or similar NLE software. Excellence in use of the software as well as the semiotics of storytelling via non-linear editing.

Colour Grading
Using Lumetri Colour, Film Stock presets and other nested colour tools within Adobe Premiere to alter the look and feel of original footage to meet aesthetic needs of the story.

Digital File Creation
Mastery of file export protocols in Adobe Media Encoder, Apple Compressor, DCP-O-Matic etc ensuring students can export their final work to any screen format in any resolution and any data rate from mobile to broadcast to the cinema screen.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ProjectProduce a final edit of an auto-ethnography based on interviews shot during class in Weeks 1-6.60%Week 12
Practical/skills evaluationComplete a re-edit of an existing piece of documentary work which is both technically proficient but also alters the meaning of the original piece.20%n/a
PresentationAn oral in class presentation outlining the arc, narrative elements and stylistic approach to the main auto-ethnographic assignment.20%Week 6
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Brian Winston: 2006, Lies, Damn Lies and Documentaries, 1st,
  • Walter Murch: 2001, In the Blink of an Eye, 2nd, Silman-James Press,
  • Gross, L: 1988, Image Ethics: The Moral Rights of Subjects in Photographs, Film and Television, Oxford University Press,
  • Kevin McDonald and Mark Cousins: 1998, Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary, Faber and Faber,
  • Kvale, S & Brinkmann, S: 2008, InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing, Sage,
  • Levin, G.R.: 1971, Documentary Explorations: 15 Interviews with Film-makers, Garden City, New York,
  • Nichols, B: 2016, Speaking Truths with Film: Evidence, Ethics, Politics in Documentary, University of California Press,
  • Rabiger, M: 1997, Directing the Documentary, Focal Press,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MADPMasters in Documentary Practice

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