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Audio-visual practice as research


There are no classes currently available for registration.


Moving images are ubiquitous. As one of the most pervasive manifestations of the digital age, they emerged within the confines of the cinema and now appear everywhere, on the multitude of screens that surround us. Just as we are surrounded by many forms of the audio-visual, we also enjoy an unprecedented proliferation of digital filmmaking tools. The challenge lies not only in acquiring a technical skillset to communicate by means of a film, but also in employing a critical framework to do it in a thought-provoking and creative way.

This Audio-Visual Practice as Research short course teaches you how to effectively use moving images in the context of academic research. You will examine the genre of the essay film and other types of filmmaking that lend themselves to a research-led approach, such as documentary, videographic criticism, video art, ethnographic film and digital anthropology. You will also learn how to use widely available digital equipment, including Panasonic GH6 and GH5 cameras, smartphones, audio recording equipment and free editing software such as Blackmagic Davinci Resolve, and explore such practical aspects of film production as writing treatments, copyright regulations and distribution.

The course uses a blended learning model, combining individual study of pre-session materials with seminar discussions, hands-on exercises and tutorials. An integral part of the training is discussing your research interests and how audio-visual methods can be used in the context of your specific field of work. By the end of the six-week course you will have produced your own short essayistic film.

In brief, the course comprises:

  • What is an Essay Film?
  • From Ethnographic Film to Video Art
  • How to Film with Whatever You Have at Hand
  • A Brief Theory of the Shot
  • The Art of Film Découpage (with individual tutorials)
  • Filming session
  • Editing Theory and Practice
  • Screening of the finished films and feedback session
  • Presentation on funding and distribution

Audio-Visual Practice as Research is based in our Derek Jarman Lab, a media research and production centre at Birkbeck offering filmmaking training, support and facilities.

This course is non-credit bearing, so carries no credit points.

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    No previous knowledge of film practice is required.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.