Filmmaking For Fieldwork: A practical handbook
by Andy Lawrence
In Press with Manchester University Press | expected June 15, 2020
This book is designed to accompany filmmakers on location in the pocket of a camera bag. It is illustrated with more than 100 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.
Abstract
With an emphasis on how to make films, this handbook is designed for researchers seeking new ways to explore their field and media professionals who want to extend their practice. It shows you how to plug in to issues at the intersection of documentary cinema and ethnography. Central to its themes are techniques for image and sound recording that demonstrate the unique potential for filmmaking as a research tool, capable of describing human activity through its affect and senses, and the role of video editing in generating new ideas about human experience. Its focus is practical and theoretical with a degree of technical advice appropriate to those making their first films. The aim is to encourage exploration through practice and the book adopts a pedagogy that the author has developed over the past twenty years whilst teaching filmmaking to research students and professionals and by making his own films independently for TV, cinema and Internet broadcast. It is intended to inspire the development of core skills in camera use, sound recording and editing that can be applied to sensory, fictive, observational, participatory, reflexive, performative and immersive modes of storytelling. Written for a multi-disciplinary audience this handbook covers all stages necessary to produce a documentary film, from conception through to preparation, production, editing and distribution. Furthermore it achieves what it sets out to describe: a way to combine words, images and ideas on a voyage of discovery.
Table of Contents

About this book
Section 1:  Why make a documentary film? 
Technique
     Describing human experience 
     Editing as an analytic game                                              
     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
     Distributers 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