Exposed! A Practical Guide to Self-Shooting Documentary

New Dates TBC

Exposed! A Practical Guide to Self-Shooting Documentary

Date: (awaiting dates)

Duration: 5 days
Times: 10am-6pm
Capacity: Max. 8 participants
Fee: £900 *Fee includes equipment hire

Do you know how to shoot but never quite get the results you are looking for? Are your shooting skills rusty? Do you need more confidence when shooting?

Do your rushes always cut together perfectly in the edit? Do you know how to shoot a scene as it happens in front of you to get good coverage? Do you always shoot the right material to tell the story?

Are you a self-taught self-shooter and want to consolidate your doc skills? Are you a Researcher/AP who needs to improve your self-shooting to step up? Are you a Director/Producer who needs to shoot your next project yourself? Are you an industry professional in another field moving into docs?

In this intensive 5-day workshop, award-winning filmmaker Zillah Bowes will help you take your documentary self-shooting to the next level. The workshop will be based on a series of enjoyable, practical exercises at LFS and in the local area in Covent Garden. You will be encouraged to stretch yourself in a collaborative, positive environment and will receive plenty of feedback on your progress.

Zillah pic

The workshop features:

  • Technical training in camera and sound.
  • Practical, exercise-based learning.
  • Latest broadcast equipment for participants’ use.
  • Creative approach to self-shooting.
  • Emphasis on storytelling.
  • Setting up tripod-based interviews.
  • Shooting extra material to enhance interviews.
  • Shooting an observational scene handheld.
  • Following dialogue handheld.
  • Informal interviewing in a scene.
  • Individual and immediate feedback on exercises. 
Equipment will be allocated to participants in pairs, with each kit expected to contain:
  • Sony PMW-300 / PMW-200 Camera
  • Sony 32GB SxS Cards
  • Sennheiser EW100 G3 Radio Mic
  • Sennheiser / Sony Directional Top Mic with Mic Stand
  • Manfrotto 504HD Tripod 

Each participant will receive a copy of their edited course exercises in the weeks following the course.

"Before this workshop I was afraid of using my camera. I didn't know how or where to start with it and didn't have the confidence to get out there, but after the exercises and Zillah's advice and encouragement, I have." Rosie Morris, participant May 2014. Read full testimonial

Course Schedule:

Day One

  • Shooting better images/sound – technical demystification!
  • Holding the camera and handheld operating.
  • Practical exercises.

Days Two and Three

  • What is observational shooting and why is it so hard?
  • Access and building relationships.
  • Shooting things that change & don’t change, people talking and scenes.
  • Practical exercises, feedback and Q&A.

Day Four

  • Should I just turn up?! Prepping and setting up an interview.
  • Using the tripod.
  • Shooting extra material to tell your story.
  • Practical exercises, feedback and Q&A.

Day Five

  • What could I have shot? Editing observational and interview sequences (demo on Avid).
  • Summary, extended Q&A and close of workshop.

Tutor profile: Zillah Bowes, Writer, Director

Zillah is a filmmaker and writer. She studied at the National Film and Television School before working as a cinematographer, then as a director. Her debut as a director, SMALL PROTESTS, was nominated for a Grierson Award, and won the Current Short Cuts Award and Best Documentary at the London Independent Film Festival.

She has worked as a director on several documentary series for BBC and Channel 4, among others, and has collaborated regularly with Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed on films and music videos. As a cinematographer, her feature films include ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS, which won the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.

Zillah won The Wordsworth Trust Prize in 2017 for END OF AUGUST. She was shortlisted, among others, for the Manchester Poetry Prize in 2018, judged by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the Alpine Fellowship in 2018 and the Wasafiri New Writing Prize in 2016. She won a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales in 2017 to develop a film series using her own writing.

She is currently developing several fiction film projects as writer/director and completing her first poetry collection. She has taught at the National Film and Television School and several other institutions as well as the LFS.