Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary

Nancy Kalow

The Center for Documentary Studies’ first e-book is for anyone who wants to make a watchable short documentary using a consumer camcorder, digital SLR camera, or cell phone. Nancy Kalow, who has taught at CDS for twelve years and chairs the selection committee of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, has written a step-by-step and comprehensive guide to making a low-budget video with a one-person crew. The Visual Storytelling approach guides you through shooting and interviewing, editing, and the ethics of telling someone else’s story.

“Making low-budget camcorder documentaries is particularly rewarding because you maintain independence and control over the project. You, the filmmaker, get to decide what to research and how to shoot. You’re the one who spends time with and learns the most from the participants in your documentary. And you decide how to tell the story during the editing process.”
Nancy Kalow, from her introduction

“A good, comprehensive guide to low-budget VJ style documentary production, and its also available to download as a PDF. Thanks to Professor Jason Samuels of NYU-Journalism School for this tweet.”
Glen Mulcahy’s VJ Technology Blog: What’s happening in the world of Video Journalism, Technology, Mobile and Web

“An excellent intro”; selected reading for Documentary Video Boot Camp taught by David Tamés, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Selected reading for Visual Research Methods: Creating Visual Narratives course taught by Nancy Van House and Elizabeth Churchill, UC–Berkeley School of Information

Recommended resource, Channel 4’s BRITDOC Fund

Free downloadable PDF of Visual Storytelling

Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary
Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
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