Core Module Information
Module title: Documentary Practice

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: JAC09122
Module leader: James Blake
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Screen and Performance

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

Description of module content:

In lectures, you will be introduced to key debates in documentary films around the representation of ‘reality’. These debates explore notions of subjectivity and objectivity, ‘truth’ and inquiry, ‘voice’, reality and representation. You will become aware of different approaches to constructing documentary films, and ethical considerations that accompany the choices you make. In workshops, you will learn about documentary camera and sound, research methods, interviewing skills, the art of pitching, and editing for documentary.

You will engage with one or more of suggested themes towards the research and production of a documentary film that interrogates and explores those themes. As a production group, you will work in self-forming crews with specific roles that can be dedicated or rotated. You will cultivate skills in documentary research and conceptualisation, in the organisation of location filming, and in the derivation of a structured narrative from documentary material.

You are expected to engage with technical, critical and theoretical concepts and ideas, and you will analyse documentary films with reference to these ideas. You will inform your documentary practice with your understanding of critical theory, and vice versa.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to
LO1: Critically reflect on key debates surrounding documentary films.
LO2: Examine the relationship between documentary filmmaker and subject.
LO3: Translate research into audio-visual ideas.
LO4: Utilise an appropriate mode of representation.
LO5: Construct a structured documentary narrative.
LO6: Collaboratively produce a short documentary film using technical equipment and editing software.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 002
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: James Blake
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This module firmly embeds theory with practice in order that you understand the context and development of documentary films and key academic theories. This rich understanding of theory will complement practice, and your practice will inform your understanding of theory. Lectures and documentary film screenings will enable you to write an essay to demonstrate your understanding of documentary concepts (LOs 1 and 2). The collaborative production of a short film (LOs 3, 4, 5 and 6) will be supported by camera, editing, research, interviewing and pitching workshops from practitioners. Workshops and tutorials will support the finding, development and execution of your ideas. A critique of the completed films will enable your work to be screened and evaluated by tutors and peers, and will allow you to reflect on your contribution and that of others in the collaborative production. The LTA approach is to ensure progression from broadcast work carried out in Broadcast Journalism 2 and which will enable you to work on the 4th year Major Journalism Project in television documentary to a higher level.

Formative Assessment:
You will be encouraged to maintain a blog through the course of the module on which you will post a record of your research, and notes on any development and production activities. You will receive continuous oral feedback and support on the development of your ideas and practical work in tutorials, workshops, a pitching session, and a class critique. You will have the opportunity to reflect on this feedback in your research/project blog. You will also undertake research, camera and editing workshops to support your assessable coursework.

Summative Assessment:
The module has two assessments. The first is an essay that allows you to explore key academic theories and to consider various possible approaches to documentary practice while critically analysing a documentary film (30% weighting, due in Week 10, LOs covered 1 and 2). The second assessment is a 6-minute documentary film developed from a brief (70% weighting, due in Week 13, LOs covered 3, 4, 5 and 6). You will work in collaborative groups to create structured narrative with an appropriate approach to representing the subject of your film. You are expected to demonstrate competence in camerawork, sound-recording and editing. Your assessment will also take into account your ability to contribute to group work, manage workloads, study independently and meet deadlines.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 12
Face To Face Tutorial 24
Independent Learning Guided independent study 80
Independent Learning Groupwork (Independent Study) 84
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 30 1,2 9 , WORDS= 1500
Project - Practical 70 3,4,5,6 13 HOURS= 00.00
Component 1 subtotal: 30
Component 2 subtotal: 70
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
JAC09122 Documentary Practice