Manchester University Press | available July 2020
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This book is designed to accompany filmmakers on location in the pocket of a camera bag. It is illustrated with more than 120 colour images and diagrams and written in an accessible and informative style. Its aim is to encourage exploration through practice and inspire the development of camera, sound and editing skills that can be applied to various modes of documentary and ethnographic storytelling.
Ethnographic documentary is long overdue for a contemporary guide to the field that takes into account the changes since the 1997 publication of 'Cross-Cultural Filmmaking' by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash. This thoughtful and beautifully produced book provides a comprehensive overview that is both philosophical and practical, addressing questions that range from ethics and collaboration to shooting in field settings to digital technology, to foundational questions about the value of such work. The author is a talented and accomplished anthropologist and filmmaker, who even provides the ten commandments (for observational film!) to inspire ethnographic filmmakers - whether aspiring or accomplished - to reach the promised land of field-based documentary work, from pre-production to distribution.
Faye Ginsburg, David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology, Director, Graduate Program in Culture & Media at NYU
Through Lawrence's articulate and comprehensive presentation, Filmmaking for Fieldwork becomes a sophisticated handbook that underscores the purpose, power, and techniques of ethnographic film--a timely and important contribution to visual anthropology and documentary film.
Paul Stoller, author of Adventures in Blogging: Public Anthropology and Popular Media
Designed for researchers seeking new ways to explore their field and media professionals aiming to extend their practice, this filmmaking handbook shows you how to plug into issues at the intersection of documentary cinema and ethnography. Exploring the unique potential for filmmaking to describe lifeworlds and the role of video editing in generating new ideas about human experience, it offers practical and theoretical advice for those making their first films.
Based on over twenty years of teaching and industry experience, Filmmaking for fieldwork aims to inspire the development of core skills in camera use, sound recording and editing that can be applied to sensory, observational, participatory, reflexive and immersive modes of storytelling. Written for a multi-disciplinary audience, this book covers all stages necessary to produce a documentary film, from conception through to preparation, production, editing and distribution.
Table of Contents

About this book
Section 1:  Why make a documentary film? 
Technique
     Describing human experience with filmmaking
     Editing as an analytic tool                                             
     Practice: Processes, events and testimonies       
Approach
     Collaboration
     Observation
     Reflexivity
     Expression
Ethics
     Establishing good practice
     Informed consent and other documents
     Permissions and notices

Section 2:  Preparation
Writing a film proposal
Selecting equipment
     Camera types and terminology
     Sound recording technology
     Peripheral kit
     Editing gear
Establishing control
     Image format settings
     Data storage
     Operating a camera using manual functions
     Connecting sound to the camera
     Signal-to-noise ratio
     Audio format and quality
     Inputs, channels and tracks
Lighting
     Natural
     Artificial

Section 3:  Recording
Fieldwork relationships
     Approaching research participants 
Image
     Moving and positioning the camera
     Composition and the ‘One Shot’ exercise
     Shot types
Sound
     Synchronous sound
     Room tone and atmospheric sound
     Unwanted sound
     Microphone placement
     Recording level and monitoring volume
Operating in key situations
     Processes and events
     Interviews, testimonies and conversations
     Yourself and others
     Planes, trains and automobiles
     Guided tours and walking
     Tables and desktops
     Performances
Archive

Section 4:  Editing
Preparing an edit
     Media management
     Log
     Transcribe
Designing your film
     Paper edit
     Working title
     10-word log line
Beginning an edit
     Creating a new project and saving your work
     Organising bins
     Importing recorded material
     The assembly cut
Rough cutting to find a story
     Beginnings, endings and narrative arcs
     Building scenes and bridges
     Character development
     Narrative signposting
     Incorporating spoken words
     Music
Technique and style
Feedback screening: understanding your work
     Receiving editorial advice
     Work-in-progress screenings
Title, inter-title, subtitle and credit
Fine cutting
     Visual transitions
     Colour and luma correction
Editing and mixing sound
     Dual–mono or stereo
     Track-laying
     Adding sound
     Dealing with unwanted sound
     Audio transitions
     Editing spoken words
     Output levels, consistency and range         
Mastering
     Export and delivery
     Artwork

Section 5:  Distribution
Sharing your work
     Returning a film to fieldwork participants
     Online video platforms
     Websites and social media
     Writing about your work
     Log-line and synopses
     The accompanying statement
Film festivals and screening events
Publication
     Peer review and journals
     Distributors and video-on-demand

Afterword: The journey continues
Acknowledgements
Picture credits
Appendices
i.  Kit list
ii. Forms
     Personal release
     Location agreement
     Intellectual property rights
     Participant information sheet
     Informed consent
iii. Recommended viewing (including films cited)
iv. Further reading (including texts cited and journals specialising in audio-visual research)

Index