Open City Documentary Festival

Shooting Documentary: An Introduction

Oct 19 — Nov 2
The course runs on three consecutive Saturdays, from 11am to 5pm.
£300 / £270 Students/ £250 UCL students

Learn the camera skills needed to shoot film in the documentary style, with filmmaker Isis Thompson.

On this three-day course students will learn the camera skills needed to shoot and create documentary films.

The course is taught through a series of hands-on exercises that increase in complexity over the three days.

Students will have access to professional camera and sound equipment for the duration of the course, as well as access to the edit suite following the course.

The course runs on three consecutive Saturdays, from 11am to 5pm.

Course content

Through a series of camera exercises you’ll learn the following filmmaking skills:

  • hand-held shooting technique using a professional video camera
  • how to use a tripod
  • intelligent use of automatic controls
  • getting good sound for interviews
  • filming a sequence
  • filming uncontrolled action
  • filming for the edit

The course is led by filmmaker Isis Thompson, who will go though the editing process with raw material and explain why certain choices were made in bringing together a scene.

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for beginners.

There are no pre-requisites required to apply for this course.

Benefits of taking this course

Taking this course you’ll:

  • be taught by a professional documentary filmmaker
  • have access to professional camera equipment
  • have unique access to a filmmaker and her editor, who’ll guide you through how footage can then be used in the edit.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you’ll have an understanding of how to:

  • use a hand-held professional video camera
  • get good sound
  • film a sequence
  • film uncontrolled action

You’ll also have an understanding of what it means to ‘film for the edit’.

Cost and concessions

This course costs:

  • £300 – full price (external applicants who are non-students)
  • £270 – external students
  • £250 – UCL students

If you’d like to be added to this course’s mailing list for future running dates, please get in touch with




isis Thompson


Isis is a filmmaker and audio producer who has made work for BBC and Channel 4, and had films shown at festivals around the world. She also belongs to Kitchen Sink, an established filmmaking collective that seeks to support, provoke and encourage independent filmmakers.
He also has an extended experience in working for television, editing programs for CNN and Manoto.
He was a visiting tutor at Kampala film school for their undergraduate program where he also shot music videos for local artists and campaign videos for NGO.