Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Documentary Production
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Development Portfolio  25%
Semester Assessment Final Film  50%
Semester Assessment Production Portfolio  25%
Supplementary Assessment Development Portfolio  25%
Supplementary Assessment Final Film  50%
Supplementary Assessment Production Portfolio  25%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key production processes in documentary film-making;

Employ a range of research techniques in order to create, develop and present a film idea;

Manifest technical competence, aesthetic judgment and an appreciation of the interdependence of key production roles;

Recognise the ethical dimensions of professional media practice;

Critically reflect on the creative process and produce work which is informed by, and contextualised within, relevant theoretical issues and debates.

Brief description

This module offers students an opportunity to apply some of the technical and creative tools acquired during Part 1 with a view to creating increasingly independent work culminating in a group documentary film production. The module may be of interest to students interested in documentary and complements critical study options in that field of study.

The module is organised around a series of student-centred projects set by the coordinator and involving such activities such as: project-oriented writing assignments; practical research assignments; exercises in visual story-telling; individual and group presentations, discussions and evaluations; practical camera and sound exercises. The first semester concentrates on project research and development, the second focuses on realisation and the key roles in the production team. Each semester culminates in several team projects.


This module explores the conceptual, aesthetic, ethical and technical issues raised by documentary film practice. Emphasis is placed on the creative process, rather than product; critical reflection is encouraged, both individually and as a dialogue within the group.


As the module is primarily project-driven, learning is empirical and covers the following topics:

1. Approaches to selection of subject, theme and style
2. Research methodologies
3. Archives: research methods, rights and technical issues
4. Journalistic, observational and narrative-driven traditions
5. Visual story-telling techniques
6. Writing and revising a treatment, pitching ideas
7. Production: finance, commissioning, schedules and budgeting
8. Planning and organising a shoot
9. Recce, location and interview methods
10. Ethical and legal issues
11. Camera and sound recording techniques
12. Directorial techniques
13. Advanced editing

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Technical work required numeracy. This will not be assessed.
Communication Oral and written communication skills are developed through exercises, seminars, pitches and feedback on written work. There is some assessment of this skill within the project assessment and the creative portfolio and project assessment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Documentary filmmaking is a continual process of self-assessment and the final project includes a self-assessment.
Information Technology Competence and familiarity with information technology is expected, particularly in the research period, but this is not formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning This module has value not only for those with concrete career aims in the media industries but offers all participants opportunities for personal development - see items 1 to 7 above. Guest lecturers from the industry (item F3) can also provide specific career advice.
Problem solving Filmmaking is a continual process of problem-solving. Students are tested on this individually and as part of a team.
Research skills Students undertake research as exercises and in the development of the final project.
Subject Specific Skills See Subject Benchmark Statement for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies (2008)
Team work Although not directly assessed, the majority of media production forms involves a high degree of team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6