Course Title: Documentary in the Digital Age

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Documentary in the Digital Age

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009

Course Coordinator: Tony Paice

Course Coordinator Phone: 61 3 9925 9838

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: Building 36, level 4

Course Coordinator Availability: Tuesday pm and Thursday pm

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

It is expected that you will have expertise in your intended artistic discipline.

Course Description

This course will investigate the impact of digital technology on the production of the documentary film. Documentaries will be viewed and analysed in an historical perspective with particular emphasis on the issue of convergence, the emergence of new formats for the documentary and the effect this may have on production concept decisions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course will investigate the structure of documentaries, digital production techniques in capture and post-production, and the issues of convergence with new media.

It will encourage you to engage with the creative process that generates a tangible creative artifact; to understand social and cultural context; and to enhance communication attributes that are essential in industry and associated practice. It will encourage critical reflection in a dynamic and innovative manner; it will create understanding of the nexus between theory and practice; and will direct you in experimentation, analysis, synthesis and observation within the chosen discipline.

It will encourage socially aware and responsible judgements around practice; national and international perspectives, cultural differences and adaptive behaviour.
It will help you refine a personal aesthetic and be aware of technical conventions in film and television production; and an understanding of the dynamics of the movement of ideas from conception to realisation.

Specifically, it will include in-depth analysis of alternative documentary structures so that you can identify, research and interpret the role of digital technology in the production of the documentary. It will also include analysis and reflection of ethical issues facing the documentary maker.

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

Review and analyse a range of documentary structures.
Identify and analyse the impact of digital technology on capture and post-production of documentaries.
Analyse and identify new media approaches to documentary production.
Understand and evaluate ethical issues.
Synthesise research tasks into a written analysis.
Develop high level presentation skills for group discussions.

Overview of Learning Activities

Guest speakers.Viewing of selected documentaries.
Viewing and analysis of specific segments of documentaries.
Class led tutorials that include student presentations.

Overview of Learning Resources

Selected documentaries (held by both the School and the Library)

A list of recommended reading will be provided
Key texts: Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film (E. Barnouw). Documenting the Documentary (B. Grant). Introduction to Documentary (B. Nicholls).
Documentary Film (P.Rotha). Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age (M. Le Grice). The Rise and Fall of British Documentary (E. Sussex).

Overview of Assessment

The assessment for this course will consist of an oral class presentation and a written research essay of no more than 3,000 words.