The School of Media and Communication (SMC), Pan-Atlantic University, is conducting a film production course on three levels. The Video Documentary Production Course is for the first level, which holds on May 15th - 30th, 2017. To be a good documentary filmmaker, one needs to develop a robust skill set within the creative, technical and editorial requirements of the medium. This foundation course in documentary filmmaking will provide the skills required to: develop a distinctive documentary idea and test its effectiveness as an engaging film; decide on the professional way to film and light the story, edit the finished film into a story that works dramatically and emotionally.


Theories in Documentary Filmmaking: Underpinning any art is an intellectual base and this course will not be an exception. We will explore the different theories of documentary filmmaking from American cinema verite style to the Canadian direct cinema and Avant-Garde cinema among many others.

Art of Documentary Filmmaking: This module will explore some of the best documentaries produced around the world; we will look at new trends in documentary storytelling and narrative structures. Participants will get to understand the process of putting together a compelling documentary.

Narrative Structures: Narrative structures are the holy grail of editing; every narrative should have a beginning middle and end but not necessarily in this order. But the question remains, how do you tell a story in a way that is engaging, intriguing and amusing? This module will explore the different genres in film/television and their respective conventions and how these conventions affect the way narratives are woven together to create stories with depth and a defined point of view.

Visual literacy & Continuity: Visual literacy is a key part of storytelling. What is key to any video is whether a narrative makes sense to the viewing eye. Also, the sequences of shots pulled together to create a montage must propel the story forward in a way that makes sense to what the audience has seen previously. This module will focus on types of shots and how they are used to create a narrative and protect continuity

Video Production: The basis of video production remains still photography, and understanding the principle of photography becomes key. This module will explore and dissect the principles behind the functions of a camera from aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, sensor sizes and their relationship to lights etc. Also, a very important part of photography is lensing. The right choice of lens adds significant actionable visual perception, and the wrong choice of lens adds no more value than the obvious. The key job of any visualist is to create aesthetics and managing perception is key to this process. Lenses are the weapons of any story teller. This module will explore the various types of lenses and their visual effects.

3 point Lighting: Lighting is key to video, and understanding the principles of lighting goes a long way towards enhancing the aesthetics of any picture. This module will explore the principles of three point lighting and their importance.

Sound: One of the most difficult parts of documentary filmmaking is getting great sound. Far too often we film in noise polluted areas due the inability to control of incidents as they occur. This module will explore principles of recording good sound, best associated equipment and how to troubleshoot noise pollution.

Video Editing: Apart from learning how to operate editing software, which is the obvious thing to learn in an editing module, we will also learn video formats and their associated level of compression, whether H264, ProRes, Raw, 4K. This is key because it influences the editing workflow. Are you working with just one file format on your timeline or are you using footage with different file formats and how do you approach this while maximizing quality:

Developing your idea: This module brings together everything that will be taught in the above modules and applies them in the process of developing a documentary idea. Not every idea will work as an interesting documentary with sufficient depth to become a compelling watch. So, understanding how to select ideas to develop into documentaries becomes key.

Learning Outcome: By the end of the programme, students (in their production groups) should be able to apply a thorough understanding of inter-related production practices to the making of an original screen documentary.

For Whom: University graduates and all those interested in pursuing a career in video documentary production.

Date: 15 – 30 May, 2017

Course Fees: N320,000 per participant. Cover course materials, tea and lunch.

Certificate: A certificate of participation will be awarded to participants who attend all the modules and fulfill the requirements of the programme.

Venue:  School of Media and Communication (SMC), Pan-Atlantic University, Main Campus, Km 52 Lekki-Epe Expressway, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos

Enquiries and Registration: Further information on all SMC programmes and activities can be obtained online @ or by calling

Isaac – 0803 346 0440

Opeyemi Gazali – 0806 638 5629,  0805 812 7207

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