Documentary Film Production

Victoria University of Wellington

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Documentary Film Production

  • Host University

    Victoria University of Wellington

  • Location

    Wellington, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Film Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    40 pts in FILM at 200-level

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    6 - 8
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    8 - 10
  • Overview

    A critical and practical study of documentary filmmaking. Documentary Film Production aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the forms and styles of documentary. The course will focus on stylistic and structural aspects of the documentary form as a basis from which to inform the productions produced within the class. Please note that in order to be considered for this limited entry course, your enrolment application must be submitted by 1 December in the year prior to enrolment.

    The course explores the theory and practice of documentary film production in a practically orientated format. The first 6 weeks entail intensive training on equipment and pre-production development. The second 6 weeks of the course allows time for supervised production and post-production of a short documentary film. In addition to the inclass practical training, students will be expected to conduct research and training in their own time and with other class members. The course?s practical sessions will cover camera work, sound recording, basic lighting set ups, interviewing techniques, camera movement and post- production training.

    Students will be expected to collaborate on several assignments and to fulfill assigned roles within a production crew.

    The major assignment in this course is a short documentary at a maximum 15 minutes in length. Students will be assessed on their particular role within a production crew and are expected to thoroughly research their assigned role and demonstrate their creative, intellectual and technical ability within the scope of their assigned position.

    Course Learning Objectives
    Students who pass this course should be able to:
    1) demonstrate knowledge of the history and diversity of documentary cinema, including its narrative and stylistic conventions
    2) develop critical, creative and communication skills
    3) enhance technical skills in core aspects of film production
    4) demonstrate artistic and craft abilities in one or more of the following areas of documentary film production: direction, cinematography, sound, editing, or post-production
    5) demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.

    Documentary Analysis Presentation 10%
    Story Pitch and Two-Page Proposal 20%
    Story Treatment 25%
    Documentary Short Film 45%

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.