Archival Documentary Editing: From Theory to Practice

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Course Description: 

Following up on the winter semester course “Curated History: Found Footage in Documentary Cinema,” this one-credit spring semester course provides a practical introduction to editing short documentary films using archival footage, offering the opportunity for students to apply in a practical setting the theoretical concepts introduced in the previous course. This course will involve hands-on, practical exercises in film editing, and culminate with the final project, a short, archival documentary film. Following up from the winter semester course, this course will also examine different forms and genres of archival documentaries, analyzing their approaches to editing both sound and picture, as well as reviewing the basics of cinematic language and structure. Forms discussed range from conventional historical documentaries to experimental and hybrid films.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

· Refine a short documentary film through multiple stage of the editing process, to a complete, final version

· Through editing, create a deliberate structure, pace and tone to a short, documentary film.

· Apply a range of aesthetic editing techniques intended to have a range of different effects on a viewer and support a deliberate overall concept and vision in a short, documentary film.

· Work with basic technical proficiency on the Adobe Premiere editing application.

· Critically analyze concepts relating to documentary editing

· Recognize how film editing communicates an argument and elucidates a theme


· Editing Exercise (30% of final grade): students will be provided with archival footage and asked to edit it into a short scene

· Final Project (60%): a 3-5 minute film comprised of archival footage

· Attendance and participation (10%)