Documentary II:

Character-Driven Documentaries


Duration: 2 Days
Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Capacity: 15 students
Workshop Fee: $199
Pre-requisites: None
Required Materials: InFocus will provide all cameras and equipment. Nothing else is required, though you may wish to bring a USB drive to take your footage home with you!

This two-day documentary workshop consists of instruction on Cinema Verité, audio, interviewing skills, and studio lighting techniques.

On the morning of day one, learn about observational films, otherwise known as Cinema Verité. Made famous by directors such as the Maysles Brothers, this documentary format is concerned with representing truth and reality by simply observing. It works to remove the filmmaker from the film as much as possible instead of using overt interviews or asking questions.

Audio is just as important as the visuals of a documentary. In the afternoon, build your technical skills with a lesson on audio and an exercise on the proper use of microphones to record clean audio with a camera. Learn about the types of microphones available to a filmmaker and their use. This includes how to use a shotgun microphone with a boom, wireless lavalier usage and placement, and more.

Day two focuses on interviewing and how to draw an interesting story from a subject. Learn how to get a subject to relax and open up, the difference between dynamic and boring interviews, and how to build a narrative around a subject’s stories.

Complete the workshop with more advanced audio techniques, practicing movement of booms and lavaliers to record a dynamic environment.

Subjects Covered

  • Cinema Verité: shooting direct cinema
  • Developing a narrative for observational films
  • Microphone types, uses, and techniques
  • Recording audio and monitoring levels
  • Interviewing skills
  • Identifying a dynamic subject
  • Audio, lavaliers, and booms
  • Mixing and syncing audio


Julia Ivanova is an award-winning Vancouver documentary filmmaker, whose film, Family Portrait in Black and White, won at Hot Docs 2011 as the Best Canadian Feature, played at Sundance and was nominated for a Genie Award. Being a director/editor/cinematographer and an avid fan of international documentaries, she believes in the emotional power of visual storytelling and poetic cinema.

Leslie Kennah has over a decade of experience exploring life through the lens—most prominently working with artistic, non-profit and small business organizations. Her practice as a digital media artist, working with both photography and video, has honed her skills as a visual storyteller. Experienced with transforming conceptual ideas into dynamic and engaging visual content, she is committed to bringing imagination and style to all projects.

Cancellation: Please note we have a strict, full fee 48-hour cancellation policy. If we receive your cancellation notice less than 48-hours before your workshop begins, you will not be issued a refund. A $30 administration fee will apply to all other cancellations.

Rebooking may be done at no cost provided 72 hours notice. Less than 72 hours notice will result in a $25 rebooking fee.

This workshop is for informational purposes only.