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Joint ESRC, NERC and AHRC Beginner's Film Making Course

Joint ESRC, NERC and AHRC Beginners Film making workshop

 As researchers, you have lots of good ideas, and you want them to reach a larger audience. As one Cambridge University Archaeology project with over 60,000 views on YouTube has demonstrated (, short films can be a very effective way of connecting with lots of people and increasing the impact of your research. But unless you have a substantial communications budget, you will not be able to afford the services of a production company to help you bring your ideas to the screen. A more affordable solution is to learn to make films for yourself. And that solution is quite realistic – with training.

The Cambridge ESRC, NERC and AHRC Doctoral Training Partnerships, in conjunction with Cambridge Digital Humanities, are very pleased to offer you an opportunity to learn key fundamental filmmaking techniques, as a first step towards developing your own videos.

This beginner’s filmmaking workshop will help you to start thinking visually and communicate using sound and film. Over two days you will be introduced to different camera shot types, how to construct a basic story, use digital video cameras and sound recorders to shoot your own footage, and then edit a short sequence for export. The workshop assumes no or very little prior knowledge of filmmaking. This is a hands-on practical workshop, working in small teams of two or three people and will give you the foundation to continue your own projects in the future.

During the workshop you will work with dedicated video equipment, but the techniques you will learn can be adapted to film making with smartphones, tablets and other readily available personal electronic devices.

The workshop is led by Sarah McEvoy and Kostas Chondros.  

Sarah McEvoy holds BA Hons Fine Art and an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths University of London and most recently an MA in Art and Design in Education at UCL Institute of Education. Since 2010 she has worked as a freelance artist-educator and film maker, filming projects, workshop and events for museums, charities, arts organisations and Universities and facilitating film and art workshops with a wide range of participants. She also co-ordinates a national training programme for Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Students based at the V&A.

Kostas Chondros holds an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He also holds an MA in Social Exclusion, Minorities & Gender from Panteion University of Social &
Political Sciences in Athens, Greece and a BA in Social Anthropology & History from the University of the Aegean, Lesvos, Greece. Since joining the Personal Histories film production team in 2011, Kostas
has filmed several events and taught camera & film production skills. Additionally, Kostas works in social care and is a freelance filmmaker, mainly documenting improvised music performances. He is also a musician, poet and translator.

The course programme is given below.

The workshop can accommodate a total of 15 students, with spaces available for 5 members of each DTP. Details on how to reserve one of the spaces are given at the end of this mail.

If you would like to reserve one of the 5 spaces reserved for members of your DTP, please write a statement of no more than 200 words, giving your reasons for wanting to take the course, and send it to your DTP’s Training Manager or Facilitator by 5pm on Friday 26th April.

for ESRC DTP students,;

for NERC DTP students,;

for AHRC DTP students,

We look forward to reading your applications.



Day 1 Thursday 9th May, 2019, Seminar Room B, 17 Mill Lane

  • 10.00 Welcome and introductions
  • 10.30 Aims of the session
  • 10.45 Introduction to shot types, camera movements, framing, telling a story, basic rules of camera use, rules of recording sound
  • 11.45 Splitting into groups – interactive demonstration of how to use the cameras and sound recorders
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.00 Filming around Cambridge, practical exercise working in groups
  • 16.00 Return to room to look at footage from all groups
  • 17.00 Feedback session and summary of day 1 intro to day 2
  • 17.30 Finish

Day 2 Friday 10th May, 2019, Phoenix computer lab, Old Metallurgy Annex, New Museums Site

We will be working on apple macs and Final Cut X; we do not expect any prior knowledge of working with either computer or software

  • 09.30 Importing footage onto computers
  • 10.15 Basic editing, creating a 2-minute clip, summary of creating a sequence
  • 10.45 Adding clips to timeline, tools for manipulating clips, using second video track, transitions and filters, syncing audio
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.00 Credits, titles, adjusting audio levels, adding music or narration, exporting footage, saving files
  • 16.00 Looking at each other’s edited clips
  • 16.45 Evaluation and Next Steps
  • 17.00 Finish

Handouts will be emailed after the workshop, and include:

  • Presentation – shot types, how to construct a sequence
  • Editing on Final Cut x
  • Camera functions, audio recording, info about equipment and editing software and model release forms

What you need to take with you

Headphones – preferably the kind you can plug in rather than Bluetooth headphones

Storage device – if you want to take footage you shoot with you after the workshop, you will need a hard drive, USB or SD card that can hold at least 8GB. Video files are large. Please make sure that the device is formatted to FAT32 if you use it on a PC, as we will be using macs. You can check this by right clicking the device and checking the properties. If you prefer, you don’t need to save the footage that you film and can also upload the exported film to Dropbox.