DIY Documentary Explorations, with Liz Collier

An online talk exploring the varied art of documentary form and simple DIY documentary making techniques, led by documentary producer Liz Collier.


10.30am-12pm: Together we will explore the varied and contrasting art of documentary short film. We’ll watch, dissect and discuss four short films from genres including portrait documentary, participatory documentary, poetic documentary, observational documentary and reflexive documentary. We’ll explore different methods of building narrative, finding story, on-screen subjects and developing and maintaining relationships with those you film. We will examine what questions you should ask of any story you want to tell and how the answers to those questions can be organised creatively and compellingly.

12-1pm: You already have all the equipment you need to create your own documentary in your pocket! We will look at camera and sound functions of smartphones and discuss simple documentary grammar – shots and shot sequences that can help form the foundation for visual storytelling. We’ll look at the process of paper editing – to plan your film on paper ready to take into the edit.

Liz will be providing participants with a resource pack so that you can try out some of the techniques discussed for yourself after the talk. It is recommended that you try out these techniques with a smartphone or tablet with ample memory space to shoot on. This resource pack will be shared with participants during the session.

This session will be taking place online via Zoom. You must book your place via Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link and password. When joining, please ensure that your mic is muted unless you are speaking. These sessions may be recorded for archival and promotional purposes, so please switch off your video feed if you do not wish to be included in this. Please join early to avoid delays (there may be a queue, the host will let you in to the session).

About the artist

Liz Collier is a BAFTA award winning documentary producer and has made films and documentary series for BBC1/2, Channel 4, Amazon Prime and cinematic release. Including Gun No. 6 (BAFTA Best Single Documentary), Delhi Cops, Gunther Von Hagens Crucifixion, 24 Hours in A&E and Keeping Britain Alive. Her films are an eclectic mix but often focus on ordinary people in extraordinary situations and access based documentaries that take you behind closed doors, into situations and worlds that sit outside everyday experiences.