Most Universities these days have great media departments. However, if all the researchers at the school want to film media pieces, department personnel and budgets are often spread too thin.
Upon the suggestion of researchers I’ve filmed with, I’ve developed a workshop called Documenting Science: How to Shoot Usable Video of your Research. Its primary focus is teaching scientists the inexpensive and effective methods of recording their own quality media in the field. I like to focus on using available technology (cellphones, school cameras, etc.) because knowing how to use these tools and how to construct a visual story is what is key. Rather than fighting for high budgets or hiring someone to film, I teach them the methods a filmmaker uses to key in on their subject and shoot an array of footage that can be edited after research is complete to complement their research papers and assist in public outreach.
To date, the workshop has been presented at Universities across the country, including the University of Washington, The Ohio State University, and Penn State.
The workshop can be run in two different formats, either for a large group or a more intense, hands-on workshop for groups of up to 10. In the smaller groups I walk the participants thought my work process as we create a short video to highlight the research story of their choosing. Working with students we go from concept, through production and into a final rough edit. This method gives them a complete understanding of how to visualize and execute a successful production, even when it’s an aside to the task at hand – their field work.
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