Make a Short Doc with Help from “Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary,” a CDS E-Book

The Center for Documentary Studies’ first e-book, Visual Storytelling, 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.

As Kalow writes in her introduction, “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.

“I began teaching documentary video after extensive immersion in documentary work in North Carolina, both as a folklorist making videos about local traditions and as a programmer watching hundreds of films submitted each year for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. I came to be passionate about the democratization of documentary filmmaking and wanted to pass on what I’d learned as a practitioner and viewer.”

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Download a PDF of Visual Storytelling here

Nancy Kalow, a longtime instructor at CDS, is co-chair of the selection committee for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Her video documentary Sadobabies was a winner of a Gold Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival and the Special Jury Trophy at the San Francisco Film Festival. In addition to teaching, she is working on a documentary project about “dead media” and maintains a blog called Documentary Starts Here.

Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary is a publication of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and is available for FREE at visualstorytellingonline.org.

© 2011.

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    5 Responses to “Make a Short Doc with Help from “Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary,” a CDS E-Book”

    1. […] “Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary” E-book by Nancy Kalow –. A free online ebook from the Centre for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Its 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. […]

    2. […] “Visual Storytelling: The Digital Video Documentary” E-book by Nancy Kalow – # […]

    3. […] The Center for Documentary Studies’ first e-book, Visual Storytelling , is for anyone who wants to make a watchable small documentary using a consumer camcorder, digital SLR camera, or cell phone. CAMCORDER – Yahoo! News Search Results […]

    4. […] The Center for Documentary Studies’ first e-book, Visual Storytelling , is for anyone who wants to make a watchable small documentary using a consumer camcorder, digital SLR camera, or cell phone. CAMCORDER – Yahoo! News Search Results […]

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