Video



Directing Your Documentary: Making Choices


Making documentary films involves more than just pointing your camera at a subject or recording an event. Your film is a historical document that not only tells the story of your subject but reflects you as an artist. Directing a film means making difficult choices, from initial story concept to first screening. Documentaries are similar to narrative fiction films; both are based on a series of tools and techniques. This course will focus on helping participants choose how best to tell their story, design their production, develop their aesthetic, and capture their story on film. Through the screening of selected film clips, readings, in-class instruction, and weekly assignments, students will gain an understanding of the art of directing a documentary while developing the skills they need to fulfill their vision. (16 hours/All Levels)

Randolph Benson is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Filmmaking. His film Man and Dog has appeared in film festivals worldwide and has garnered numerous awards, most notably a Gold Medal in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Student Academy Awards. His work has been featured on HBO, Bravo, the Independent Film Channel, numerous public television stations, Canal Plus–France, Telewizja Polska S.A.–Poland, and KBS-Korea. Benson received an Eastman Kodak Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Cannes Film Festival and a First Appearance Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

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VI110FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 001
Benson 9/4 - 10/23 Tu 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM $265.00 View

Documentary and the Three-Act Structure Workshop (Onsite and Online)
At heart, documentarians are storytellers. Telling stories that people want to watch means engaging audiences in your narrative, which requires an understanding of their needs and desires and of the tools developed over time to answer those needs. This class is designed to provide those tools. In this class, students will view and learn to dissect narrative films for the elements of traditional three-act structure, the most common storytelling format in the industry, and then apply those lessons to their own work. By understanding how and why this structure creates memorable and tightly paced Hollywood films, students will be able to apply it to their own nonfiction work. In melding the sensibilities and conventions of documentaries with an easily identifiable narrative structure, students will not only identify ways to adapt their subject matter to the appetite of a story-hungry contemporary documentary audience but also learn how to deliver commercially viable documentary films for today’s selective environment. (5 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This is a hybrid on-site/online class. Distance students will participate via teleconference.

Josh Dasal has taught at CDS since 2010. He is an Emmy- and Silver Telly–winning director, producer, screenwriter, and video marketer. A master’s graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, he has created projects and/or consulted for Discovery Channel, PBS, Sony Screen Gems, and director Wes Craven. He has taught filmmaking courses at UNC-Chapel Hill and Missouri State University, and his films have screened at venues like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, and USC’s First Look Film Festival. He is the owner and chief creative officer of Kaboonki Creative, a video production and marketing firm based in Raleigh.

Additional information:
To participate from off-site, a late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully.

There will be a one-hour break for lunch.


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VI152FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 201
Dasal 10/20 - 10/20 Sa 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM $145.00 View

Hybrid Documentary: Fact Through Fiction


Hybrid documentary can cut to the heart of truth through a lyrical blend of fact and fiction—using performance, reenactment, animation, poetic interpretation, and other methods to visualize the invisible (the past, the future, the internal, the imagined). In this course, we will study short and feature-length hybrid films, discuss process, and work toward developing your own film. (6 hours/All Levels)

Ligaiya Romero is a documentary filmmaker and visual artist working with collective memory and the decolonial imagination. She is a video producer and editor for The Argus Project, a transmedia documentary on police violence and citizen counter-surveillance. The project was supported by Tribeca New Media Fund and presented at Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes in 2016. Ligaiya has worked with the New York Times, CNN’s Great Big Story, Refinery29, Verse Media, and the New York Times’s The Daily 360. Her work has been recognized by the SXSW Interactive Awards, the Webby Awards, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Photo District News, College Photographer of the Year, and the New York Photo Awards, among others. She was previously a documentary producer and editor at MediaStorm. She is currently a fellow at Firelight Media's Documentary Story Lab, and a member of the Queer Producers Collective. She is working on a photography book about inherited memory, hidden histories, and her family.

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VI208FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Romero 10/12 - 10/12 Fr 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM $165.00 View

Introduction to Documentary Video Editing


How do you craft footage into a story—better yet, your story? We’ll analyze documentaries to learn basic editing conventions and study the effects of stylistic choices. Then, through in-class exercises and weekly homework assignments, we will try it out for ourselves. Using Adobe Premiere Pro, students will edit the same supplied footage to create their own take on the “same” story, which they will share with each other in class. (20 hours/Beginning)

Durward Rogers is a filmmaker with an interest in scientific and technical documentaries. He started practicing film photography at the age of nine and has used Photoshop and digital cameras since they were first released. Before earning his Certificate in the Documentary Arts, Rogers spent twenty-five years as a computer graphics engineer, working on such projects as the world’s fastest graphics supercomputer and the original Xbox. He is currently working on a film about climate change.

Additional information:
Some homework assignments may require the use of CDS facilities between classes.

Please bring a portable hard drive.

There will be no class October 31.

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VI106FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 104
Rogers 9/26 - 11/21 We 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM $295.00 View

Introduction to Documentary Video Field Production


This course offers students the basic skills necessary to gather footage and negotiate technical problems in the field without compromising quality. Learn how to plan and organize a project, choose the best location for a shoot, work with available light, select the right microphone for the right situation, set proper audio levels, and “shoot in sequence.” We will also discuss proper framing and composition techniques and the advantages of hand-held vs. tripod shots. (15 hours/Beginning)

Simone Keith is an educational video specialist with North Carolina State University. Her mission is to help people think visually and be intentional in using video to communicate with their audiences. Simone started her career as a broadcast news videographer and editor and has received three regional Emmy awards for her work on In the Garden with Bryce Lane. She currently teaches video production classes at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and collaborates with local filmmakers on various documentary projects. Simone is a native of Brazil and a chocoholic. When she is not watching a film, she spends her time gardening, traveling with her husband, and playing with her latest toy, a drone called FlyingCow.

Additional information:
Students may use any video camera available to them. However, a camera with an external microphone jack, a headphone jack, and the capacity for manual control of exposure and white balance will be ideal for this course. Video camera tripods (not photo camera ones) are also recommended. Please contact the instructor with any questions about equipment.

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VI120FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Keith 9/10 - 10/15 Mo 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM $265.00 View

Now what? Creative Distribution Strategies for Your Documentary
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you’re a documentarian, you’ve most likely devoted countless hours to your project, until, at long last, you have a finished product. Now what?

In this course, we will cover strategies for securing completion funding, including grants, institutional support, and crowdfunding platforms; venues of distribution, both traditional and non-traditional; marketing to distributors and various digital platforms; and partnering with a nonprofit to find the right audience. We will hear from guest speakers on how to get projects in front of audiences, and students will define their target audience and develop a marketing strategy to present to their classmates. (6 hours/All Levels)

Keith Barber worked for many years in film and television production in Los Angeles, and as a freelance journalist and newspaper editor in North Carolina. In 2012, he enrolled in the MFA program in Film & Media Studies at UNC-Greensboro. His thesis film, Ordinary Injustice, tells the story of Kalvin Michael Smith, a Winston-Salem man who spent twenty years behind bars for a crime many believe he did not commit. Barber graduated from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s in radio, television, and motion pictures.

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VI209FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Barber 11/3 - 11/3 Sa 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM $165.00 View

Outside the Borders: Filming Documentaries Abroad


Filming abroad—whether it’s contract work or one’s passion project—calls for a different mindset than filming domestically. One must minimize equipment carried; understand political/social/religious differences and protocols; arrange for an in-country “fixer” to handle logistical challenges; and anticipate disruptions like power outages, noise, and transportation glitches. This workshop provides tips and best practices, based on the instructor’s experience filming short educational videos for international nonprofits in Bangladesh, Jamaica, Kenya, and South Africa, and personal passion projects in Ecuador, Egypt, Panama, and Spain. (3 hours/All Levels)

Kim Best worked for twenty years as a science/medical writer and editor for daily newspapers and an international nonprofit. She learned video production at the Center for Documentary Studies, earning the Certificate in Documentary Arts in 2010. In short videos, she shares the work and successes of international nonprofits, highlights worthy causes and individuals, and tells offbeat tales. See her work at kimberlybest.com.

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VI213FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Best 11/10 - 11/10 Sa 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM $95.00 View

Smartphone Filmmaking (Online)


In the palm of our hands, we have more filmmaking power than D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, or Sergei Eisenstein ever knew. This course will cover the practice and possibilities of shooting video with a smartphone. We’ll show you how to put together a smartphone video rig, which can include external lights, microphones, stabilizers, and lenses. We’ll also touch on the foundations of filmmaking, including pre-production, shot composition, building a soundtrack, and editing. By the end of the six weeks, each student will have made a short smartphone video as a class assignment. Whether you use an iPhone, Android, Huawei, or Samsung, this course will help you take your smartphone filmmaking to the next level. (12 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This course is offered in an online format and will not meet at CDS but will instead take place in regularly scheduled virtual sessions.

Emmy and Cannes Lions award-winning producer Hal Goodtree has worked for the NFL, the New York Times, and with screen luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Cindy Crawford, and legendary documentarian Albert Maysles. His latest project, a documentary about American Tobacco, earned a #1 rating in prime time when it was broadcast on WRAL in December 2014. His work has been awarded an Emmy, a Cannes Lion, and most recently, Best Short Documentary at the 2015 Longleaf Film Festival.

Additional information:
A late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully in virtual meetings.

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VI208oFA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Virtual Classroom
Goodtree 11/5 - 12/10 Mo 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM $275.00 View

The Documentary Video Portrait


What makes a good video portrait? What does it mean to represent someone, and how do we do that? Should we try to transmit a universal feeling through a single person? Should we only create portraits of people and places about whom we have positive feelings? What are the best techniques and tools to use? These are some of the questions we will address in this class.

The desire to produce images of others has been with us since the prehistoric paintings on cave walls. In the video portrait, we are looking not only to capture a concrete resemblance, but also the inherent spirit of the person or place. While we will view excerpts of documentaries and discuss structure, point of view, and technique, the main emphasis will be to learn technical skills, develop aesthetic awareness, and actively participate in the art form by preparing to shoot a portrait video.

This course will challenge students to develop a critical eye, to deepen their appreciation of the documentary form, and to look at the relationship between truth and fiction. It will impart technical, interpretive, and practical tools, not only for the study of documentary portraiture, but for one’s everyday media consumption. (12 hours/All Levels)

Wendy Smith is an independent film/video maker who studied documentary and ethnographic film with Jean Rouch, the renowned New Wave filmmaker, in Paris, where she lived for fourteen years. She has produced numerous films, both fiction and documentary, as well as the 16mm portrait Perry in His Garden, which went to the Cinema du Reel film festival and the Cannes film market. Since her return to the U.S., her documentary work has become more experimental, incorporating digital processing, computer graphics, and animation. Smith is currently doing pre-production work on cross-cultural representation and transnational identity for a video documentary called Dwelling in Displacement that looks at how political exiles and expatriates cope with loss of homeland. This piece will be the third in her trilogy on memory, identity, and home, which began with Home Sweet Home and The Road Home.

Additional Information:
Please bring a bag lunch both days.

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VI215FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Smith 10/27 - 10/28 Sa Su 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM $230.00 View

Video Projects


The Audio, Photography, and Video Projects courses provide documentary artists the opportunity to work with award-winning professionals in small group settings. Each term, CDS invites three established artists to teach the Projects courses, which are designed for individuals who are working on projects and seeking creative guidance. The courses are designed around the specific needs of participants, who share excerpts from their works-in-progress.

Students may take the course for credit more than once. Certificate students are required to take a Projects course in their chosen concentration before enrolling in the Final Project Seminar; in this case, the objective is to emerge with a nearly finished version of their project, ready for a final polish.(12 hours/Advanced)

Jim Haverkamp is an award-winning filmmaker and editor based in Durham. His credits include the short films When Walt Whitman Was a Little Girl, It Had Wings, and Armor of God. Haverkamp has also worked as an editor on several feature documentaries, including Monster Road, Doubletime, and Rarefied. Haverkamp has served on the selection committee and awards juries of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and he is co-organizer of Durham’s Strange Beauty Film Festival.



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VI300FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 211
Haverkamp 9/11 - 10/16 Tu 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM $335.00 View