Observational Filming

Short course


This extremely popular and unique course is aimed at self-shooters who wish to become more proficient in their observational shooting.

Participants will learn the principles of observational filming, the technical essentials in camera and sound and will also do a series of exercises to learn how to shoot good coverage in both action and dialogue scenes. They will spend a day and a half shooting and editing a 2-5 minute observational sequence. This will reviewed on the final afternoon with feedback from the tutors.

Other theoretical and practical issues such as film language, legal concerns, ‘crossing the line’, composition and tripod shooting will be included – but participants should expect a lot of practice shooting time during the course.

This course will cover:
- principles of observational filming
- filming in scenes
- getting good coverage in scenes
- smooth camera operating
- exposure control and white balance techniques
- focus control including depth of field
- sound recording when self-shooting in an observational style
- shooting for an observational edit
- editing an observational sequence


Participants will review exercises with the tutor and will be given individual feedback frequently!

For some of the course exercises we encourage you to find subjects and locations in the local area yourself on the day as this is an important aspect of documentary filmmaking; but we do offer advice and support at all times and provide a list of suggested locations.

Cameras are available for all course participants. However, participants' own cameras may also be used, provided that they are compatible with the course requirements. The skills learnt on this course can be applied to any camera or shooting format.

Freelance Rate: £795

Corporate Rate: £1500


How to apply

Application deadline:

If you experience any problems making your application please contact us shortcourses@nfts.co.uk 01494 677 903