The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course explores documentary production and provides students with the knowledge, skills and technologies to devise documentaries for the screen. Students work in teams to develop an original short documentary for submission to a real-world media industry output such as a local, national or international video festival, broadcast, or transmedia environment. The course examines diverse modes, experimental movements and hybrid documentary practices across 20th and 21st century screens, and their social, political and cultural implications. Students develop the ability to analyse diverse forms of documentary storytelling. During the course students must exhibit a professional approach to their crew roles, participants and documentary practice. The ethical relationships and responsibilities between filmmakers, participants and viewers in global screen cultures will also be considered.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): CMNS2160. Students who have successfully completed CMNS2160 are not eligible to enrol in CMNS3160.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Employ documentary storytelling, methods, modes and practices in the production of a short documentary video;

2. Apply professional practices of documentary development and production;

3. Analyse and apply elements of the documentary genre in a project pitch and in production


Students will be introduced to the different stages of documentary production from concept, research, proposal, script, pitch, prototyping, production, postproduction and transmedia delivery and examine diverse narrative and experimental modes and practices for the screen. Topics will include:

  • Research and screen writing skills for documentary video;
  • Ethical considerations and responsibilities involved with working with people to produce a documentary for the screen;
  • Camera, video and sound recording and production, editing and post production techniques;
  • Social, political and cultural impacts of documentary modes and practices within historical and contemporary contexts
  • Crew roles and working with a team.


If you have successfully completed CMNS2160 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

CMNS1230, CMNS1240, CMNS2005 or equivalent digital editing and post production skills for both audio and video.

Assessment items

Professional Task: Development of a Documentary Proposal and Pitch - 20%

Presentation: Documentary Production, Prototype & WIP Presentation - 30%

Project: Documentary Project Post Production & Delivery - 30%

Journal: Crew Role Research Journal - 20%

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Workshop: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory safety induction (equipment usage).

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 2


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 1 Weeks starting in week 1