New In-person Workshops!

We are pleased to announce a new in-person 2-Day Video Production workshop. Designed as a stand alone intensive hands-on training course, it is also an option to replace sessions 1-4 of our existing programme of online video training courses.

Participatory Video Workshop

It has been great spending the last 2 intense years developing remote online workshops, training courses and Participatory Video projects, sharing our expertise in video making and collaborative work with dozens of passionate anthropologists, researchers, journalists, academics and aspiring filmmakers from all over the world.

Online courses

We learned a lot and developed a very effective online training programme including 7 courses, all structured in a sequence of modular live 3-hour zoom sessions scheduled to work across a variety of time zones (15:00-18:30 London time, including breaks). Our online programme will continue, allowing people living on most of the planet to attend our courses. We are also excited to meet in person with our trainees, as we have been used to do for over 10 years, offering again the option to share video tools in a practical face-to-face learning experience.

The new 2-Day Video Production Workshop

The in-person 2-Day Video Production Workshop is an intensive course covering in two days all the content of the first 4 sessions of our online courses. Participants will learn how to use various types of cameras and professional sound equipment, how to film high quality video interviews and collect engaging visual stories and impactful video documentation.

The workshop will run at our London Studio in Battersea (SW11), giving participants the opportunity to learn using a range of professional and semi-professional film equipment – DSLRs, camcorders, grip equipment, professional sound recorders and microphones – during the practical shooting exercises. The In-person Video Production Workshop is also a perfect opportunity for those who attended our online programmes to refresh their skills in a fun, practical and intensive 2-day stand alone course.

In person Workshop

Integrated with our online Video Training programme

The in-person workshops integrate flawlessly with all the online courses we already have. All our courses will be scheduled so that participants can choose their favourite mode of attendance: entirely online or a mix of in-person and online. Participants can learn the camera techniques face-to-face in our 2-day Video Production workshop (replacing the first 4 online sessions at no cost) and then attend all the specialist webinars and the video editing part (online sessions 5-8) remotely. If travelling to our studio is not practical, you can still attend the whole course entirely online.

In order to give every participant a real hands-on experience and plenty of time for shooting exercises, our in-person 2-Day Video Production workshops will have a limited number of attendees.

Book now in order to guarantee your place.

Video training for anthropology and social research

Visit our courses pages to explore their content and choose the one that suits you best. All courses below can be attended in combination with our new in-person 2-day Video Production workshop:

Participatory Video Workshop

Video Production for Anthropologists & Social Researchers 

Filmmaking 

Video Marketing 

Video Production 

The following courses can only be attended online:

Smartphone Video

Video Editing

Check the dates for our courses on our Calendar page.

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Same courses – new format!

One and a half years ago life for everyone changed irrevocably. Some of those changes have been worse, but some have been better. 

At Spectacle one of the better changes has been moving all our courses online, and this means they have opened up to students from all around the world. Our original scheduling made attendance difficult in some parts of the world. We were all astonished by our participant from the west of the US who woke up at 2am each day to join classes! 

To make the scheduling more globally friendly, we are now running all our courses including: Participatory Video, Anthropology and Social Research, Filmmaking, Video Production, Marketing, Editing, and Smartphone Video in two different formats. 

The content of the courses is the same in both formats – we encourage you to choose whichever suits your schedule!

Intensive 

This programme is designed for those in or near the UK time zone. If you choose to take one of our courses in an intensive format, all your sessions will take place within a two week period. Some courses are only 1 day, while others are up to 7 days. These sessions all take place during full days running from around 9am- 5pm London time. 

Day/Night School 

This programme is designed for those in a more global range of time zones. If you choose to take one of our courses in a Day/Night School format, all your sessions will be two half-days a week within a four week period. The number of sessions you attend depends on the course you are taking. Some courses are taught in only 1 session, while others are up to 11. These sessions all take place during half days running from around 3pm- 6pm London time. 

The dates of each course in both formats is listed on our website. Each format will be offered three times during the year. If you wish to spread your courses over several programs or times, just email us at training@spectacle.co.uk and we can arrange a schedule together.

Another option is to go bespoke…

Bespoke

We also offer bespoke training either one-on-one or to groups. These can be arranged to fulfil your specific needs. Bespoke training can be built around your project so you can book sessions at your convenience and get the advice you need.


Ecovisions in Malawi


In June 2021, Spectacle had the opportunity to work with Dr. Michelle Nicholson-Sanz and provide video training for the participants in her innovative Young Ecovisions project

Dr. Nicholson-Sanz is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London . 

During the pandemic she launched a call for young people around the world to share their ecovision – an idea for how to improve their environment and engender greater sustainability in their community. Four finalists were selected, two from India, one from Malawi, and one from England. 

Fanny Chidoola from Lilongwe, Malawi whose Ecovision was selected

Dr. Nicholson-Sanz reached out to Spectacle as the second half of this ambitious project began: developing the ecovision of the finalist from Malawi, Fanny Chidoola. In order to realise Fanny’s ecovision, she partnered with Malawian forestry science student Khumbo Matemba. Fanny and Khumbo would be mentored by Dr Nicholson-Sanz to stage a theatrical performance to encourage the stakeholders in their area to realise the changes needed. The performance would be filmed and this material, as well as further footage collected by participants, would become a final short film detailing the ecovision and it’s progress.

As Dr. Nicholson-Sanz lives in Kent, England, the actual filming would need to be done by the participants on the ground in Malawi, and with a limited budget the participants would be making the most of the camera they already had in their hands in the form of a smartphone. 

Participants were able to upgrade the capacity of their smartphone with tripods and additional memory cards. 


Spectacle has been developing a training programme for just such remote smartphone based video research projects. Anyone who has tried knows, it can be difficult to achieve good quality videos on a smartphone, and even more difficult to record footage which can be easily edited. Through a series of participatory workshops, Spectacle worked to upgrade the capabilities of the participants’ smartphones affordably, and offered clear guidance on best practices and filming techniques. 

Participants such as Fanny Chidoola learned to film interviews
Demonstrating how to achieve good exposure using a smartphone 


By the end of the workshop series, the participants felt ready to use their smartphones to record the performances, instruct others on how to get the best results from their smartphones, and already had recorded a good bit of quality footage of self interviews, location footage, and interviews with other stakeholders on the ground. 

Khumbo Matemba reviews framing and technique of a self-shot interview 


We are very excited to see the final short film from Dr. Nicholson-Sanz’s Young Ecovisions project when it premiers. 

If you are running or considering starting a participatory video project, consider the possibilities of Spectacle’s training workshops for your participants or yourself. We conduct our training remotely, in almost any timezone, and using any equipment available from smartphones to camcorders. We have worked with hundreds of academics, researchers, and community organisations and received very positive feedback on our approach and the results that our trainees can achieve with their cameras after just a few workshops. 

Participants such as learned to film location and action shots in their town

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Collaborate on a Participatory Project

 

Participatory Training & Production Hybrid 

Are you an NGO or Community Centre or organisation looking to include your participants in the making of compelling videos addressing their interests and concerns? Why not engage them in a participatory video project? Spectacle has successfully adopted collaborative documentary making models for over 40 years, including award-winning participatory documentaries that have been broadcast on national and international television. We can design hybrid training-production programmes which will give you the best aspects of a collaboratively-directed film combined with professional quality production. 

We offer:

1) Training in shooting and editing film for you and/or your participants

2) Our professional shooting and editing services 

3) A final short film and a fast turn around participatory project 

Why Participatory? 

Because every community is different, there is no single participatory process model. The goal is to create a space which is open to equal participation, sharing, and creating for a community. By giving artistic and editorial control to non-professionals, the final results are vibrant and multifaceted. The participatory video process centres the lived experiences of many people. 

The benefits this can offer from a research standpoint are obvious. Whether you want to understand people’s experiences or just build community, a participatory project can be a joyful experience of co-creation and co-authorship of knowledge and art.

Spectacle has a long history of participatory work. From Germany to Colombia and across the UK we have led, co-led, and facilitated participatory film groups and workshops both in person and online for groups of all shapes and sizes. 

Why Spectacle?  

For over 40 years Spectacle has worked with groups that want to begin participatory projects. From setting up community video groups to facilitating ESRC funded participatory research projects. Further we’ve run workshops for people around the world online and in person and trained hundreds of people in our methods. 

Spectacle is an award winning independent television production company specialising in documentary, community-led, investigative journalism and participatory media. Spectacle’s documentary work has been broadcast and exhibited internationally. We have produced work on commission for clients including Amnesty International, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Council of Europe, Groundwork, the London Health Commission, the NHS, Big Local and the Wellcome Trust.

As well as undertaking productions, Spectacle runs short, sharp, affordable training courses and community based media workshops. We believe our courses are the best around, largely based on the exceptional feedback we have received from the hundreds of people we have trained over the years.

We are a small, socially-minded company, our training and commissioned work income supports our unfunded community based work. 

How do I begin a participatory video project?

We are offering a bundle of services that will guide your staff through a specifically designed programme of training and production based on your video project. There are many options for how we could design your programme together. We can accommodate any time zone where your participants might be located. 

We can offer practical workshops on video making. These bespoke training workshops can be tailored to the needs of the client including: a variety of cameras including smartphones, DSLRs, camcorders, etc; visual storytelling including storyboarding or idea generation; filming techniques guaranteed to generate quality footage.

We can teach you how to teach your participants to film, and how to run your own participatory project. 

Travel permitting, Spectacle can assist you in your real shoot. You will have complementary equipment (second camera, audio recording, lights) and extra crew if needed. 

We can train you on how to effectively use video editing software, sitting together in front of your project to get the editing process started. 

If you want professional editing, we can finalise your video with the possibile option of drop-in editing sessions.

Finally, we can guide you through uploading and promoting it on your social networks and media platforms.

We can facilitate this entire process from beginning to end, give you the skills to run it yourself, or any hybrid in between. 

Read more about our participatory model and past projects.

Contact Us

For more information or to chat about your project and ideas email us at training@spectacle.co.uk 

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Spectacle Launches New Half-Day Training Course

Spectacle is launching a new online video training course! The Day/Night School will run half-day training courses designed for academics, researchers, journalists from all over the world!

The online classroom

Works in Any Time Zone 

Responding to demand ranging from Idaho to New Delhi, Spectacle has designed a video training course at times that work in almost any time zone, and so available to pretty much anyone around the globe – live! 

This course offers half-day training on Tuesdays and Fridays for 4 weeks – that’s 8 half-days total. The initial courses will run from 15:00-18:30 London Time, which means you can enjoy it as an early morning class in Los Angeles, or an evening class in Bangalore. Subsequent courses will shift in time for availability including Australia and Japan. 

Learn storyboarding

Designed for PhDs, Academics and Researchers

When it comes to making videos, the just ‘point and shoot’ method only works if you are extremely lucky. From inaudible audio, to interviewees that clam up as soon as they see a camera, to takes ruined by continuous autofocusing – the pitfalls are innumerable. 

This course is specifically designed for academics interested in incorporating video into their research. Whether you want to integrate visual methods into your research or produce videos to disseminate your outcomes, you will learn all you need to know to turn your research into a short film.

If you don’t have the budget for expensive filming equipment, won’t have a film crew, and need a surefire way to make a final project where the mistakes don’t distract from the message – you need our training course. Spectacle has been working with and training academics in filmmaking for decades so we know the unique needs of research filmmaking. From video techniques to editing and visual storytelling, this course will provide all the skills you’ll need. 

Camera techniques and settings

Skills You’ll Learn

The first 4 sessions are on videography, and the last 4 focus on visual storytelling and editing. You can do all 8, or just choose to do the first or second half.

  • How to operate a camera
  • How to get best results from smartphones 
  • Storyboarding and visual storytelling
  • Talking heads and interviewing  
  • Strategies from filming to editing 
  • The basics of editing using Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Learn about editing as a data analysis method 
  • How to produce engaging videos based on your findings
Learn professional standard editing in Adobe Premier Pro

In the Classroom 

All courses are taught live on Zoom. The course content is split into manageable 45-90 min modules. Each module builds on the last and will cover key concepts and offer practical exercises to develop your skills and confidence in technical and creative aspects of video making.

CONTENT 

The first 4 sessions will cover all aspects of filming, including sound recording and camera techniques. The last 4 sessions will focus on visual storytelling and editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. 

FLEXIBILITY

If you have to miss a session, you can access the recordings for 30 days through private links. You can choose to attend only the filming half or the editing half of the course, or buy the whole package and take a gap between the two halves. 

PRICE

£480 for 8 sessions 

£280 for 4 sessions

Previous Clients

Spectacle has delivered successful training workshops for numerous educational organisations, NGOs, and private companies including: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Anthropology Department, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, Science and Technology Facilities Council, Edinburgh University, Birkbeck College, UCL, LSE, Oxford COMPAS, University of Zurich, as well as hundreds of social researchers, journalists, scholars, and video marketers who have found our methods engaging and inspiring.

Read our Testimonials

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Spectacle Master Class on Participatory Video

Spectacle has been invited to give a Master Class at the Italian National School of Participatory Video and Documentary Cinema.

This is the second year this School has run. The School consists of five intensive online weekends from February 26 to March 27. The public is welcome to join online film screenings. For those that sign up to the school the films will be followed by live debates on different facets of participatory video making. These courses will walk viewers down a path of shared audiovisual production practices, and seek to find together new ways to show reality.

The school will gather over 70 passionate documentary makers who embrace participatory tools and methods. Tutors will include Angelo Loy, Aline Hervé, Marco Damilano, Andrea Segre, Stefano Collizzolli, Davide Crudetti, Martina Tormena, Lucia Pornaro, Aline Hervé, Sergio Marchesini, Alberto Cagol, Sara Zavarise, Giulia Campagna, Maud Corino, and Chiara Tringali

Following a screening of The Truth Lies in Rostock, Mark Saunders and Michele De Laurentiis will discuss the film and invite participants to think about how participatory video can be a journalistic tool for community led investigative documentaries. 

The film will be screened live on Facebook and you can find a link here. 

The School is run by ZaLab is an association of filmmakers and social workers based in Padua, Italy. ZaLab promotes advocacy campaigns aimed to spread democracy and minority rights, especially through a grassroots distribution network.They focus on promoting their documentaries through independent and non commercial distribution.

Spectacle’s Online Training for Oxford COMPAS Researchers

How Universities Researchers are Adapting Online 

Imagine: you’re running an international research network and suddenly – a pandemic hits! All international travel is on hold for up to two years! It’s your worst nightmare. You’ve got researchers who are supposed to be flying in from all over the globe for a week-long retreat or training workshop! What can you do? 

This was the predicament numerous Universities found themselves in, but they found ways to adapt and continue projects – many turned to Spectacle’s Bespoke Training Workshops to help them creatively solve problems. 

Through 2020, video conferencing has become the norm and many researchers are now imagining how important and useful video making or remote online participatory video research could be for communicating their research or archive-based workshops going forward. Maybe we can help you too.  

Oxford COMPAS

This week Spectacle kicks off a bespoke training course for The Oxford Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS). Since 2003, COMPAS has established an international reputation for original research and policy relevance. 

The training we will provide is for the researchers focusing on sustainable cities. Researchers will join online from cities around the world including Oxford, Beijing, Bangalore, Cape Town and Medellin. 

Spectacle’s training will give these researchers the skills to film with a more professional production quality and edit with an eye for narrative flow. Going forward, this will enable them to make short videos to effectively communicate their research to a larger audience. 

Does this sound like the kind of training you or your organisation might benefit from?  

Bespoke Training for Academics

When it comes to making videos, the just ‘point and shoot’ method only works if you are extremely lucky. From inaudible audio, to interviewees that clam up as soon as they see a camera, to takes ruined by continuous autofocusing – the pitfalls are innumerable. 

Spectacle online video training

When looking to make video, academics have unique needs. They aren’t looking to become documentary filmmakers. They aren’t looking to invest in overly expensive filming equipment. They won’t have a large support crew to help with filming. And the need to make a final project where the medium (and mistakes) don’t distract from the message.

About Spectacle

Spectacle is an award-winning independent media company that specialises in documentary, community-led investigative journalism, and participatory media.

We have been leaders in Participatory Video (PV) practice and community engagement for more than thirty years, and offer training and workshops in every aspect of digital filmmaking.

We offer affordable, accessible, and enjoyable film, media, and video training. No prior knowledge needed! Learn what you really need to know to make quality videos with us

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Remote Participatory Workshop in Rostock, Germany

Does the Truth Still Lie in Rostock?

In August 2020, in collaboration with the Rostock based group Lichtenhagen im Gedächtnis , Spectacle developed and ran an archive-based two-day participatory workshop. This project is part of the run up to the 30th anniversary of the Rostock Pogrom in 1992.

The project’s events, which were held online due to the pandemic, included a public premier of a new fully German version of ‘The Truth Lies in Rostock’. The screening was followed by a Q&A with director Mark Saunders, which focused on the participatory production process through which the film was created. For more about the process or the archive footage, see the bottom of this post.

This screening also launched a unique workshop designed to connect Rostock’s past, present, and future.

The Truth Lies in Rostock

This 1993 film depicts the events which occurred in August 1992, at the Lichtenhagen estate in Rostock, in the former East Germany. Over the course of three nights, a fascist crowd assembled. The police withdrew as the mob petrol bombed a refugee centre and the home of Vietnamese guest workers while 3000 spectators stood by and clapped. 

The film uses material filmed from inside the attacked houses and interviews with anti-fascists, the Vietnamese guest workers, police, bureaucrats, neo-nazis and residents. Through these perspectives, a story of political collusion and fear unfolds. 

Thirty years later the question has become, how can the memory of the ‘Lichtenhagen Pogrom’ help fight new waves of fascism in Germany? 

Participatory Video Workshop

This two-day participatory video workshop offered the chance for young adults from Rostock to dig into the film’s questions about the nature of fascism, racism, and the roles and responsibilities of the city, state, and federal governments. 

By working with archive footage and filming a live commemorative demonstration, the workshop was designed to bridge the past and present issues of racism and anti-racism in Rostock. The workshop’s second aim was to offer new skills in media and filmmaking to these young adults. 

The workshop launched the weekend of August 20th. A group of young Rostockers were split in two groups, one working with archive footage, and one filming the live demonstration.

Before the workshop began, Spectacle digitized a portion of our extensive archive footage from 1992. The material selected was of the anti-nazi demonstration that followed the pogrom. This group worked with Spectacle to edit a new short film from the material. 

You can see their short film here: Demonstration 1992

Meanwhile, the rest of the participants went as a small group to film an event which echoed the archive material – the Lichtenhagen Commemorative Bicycle Demonstration. This group of participants learned about filming techniques and edited footage from the demonstration into a short film which focused on the landmarks which have been built to commemorate the events thirty years before. 

You can view their final short film here: Demonstration 2020

Read more about the project from the German perspective.

The Aims of the Project  

  • Provide a safe space for reflection about the events in Lichtenhagen, specifically for different groupings that were involved in the events at the time. This includes, but is not limited to the Vietnamese community in Rostock, some of whom had to fear for their lives and lost their homes in the events, and Rostock residents, some of whom were appalled at the unfolding events and other who were cheering at, or maybe even participating in the attacks.
  • Provide skills training in workshops, teaching participants how to use video cameras, record sound, and conduct interviews.
  • Potentially encouraging dialogue between diverse groups and contributing to a more sustainable community through a process of reconciliation.
  • Preserving the oral history of the 1992 events by creating Zeitzeugen (witness/bystander) documentation for future generations, through the production of a series of films including original as well as new footage. These footage shot in these workshops will be made available online as well as on DVD and can be used to educate younger generations.

The Archive 

Spectacle has an extensive archive of footage from Rostock between 1991-93. The archive grew out of a programme of participatory video workshops run by Spectacle. After the unification of Germany, all the East German media outlets were taken over or replaced with Western media. Spectacle’s series of open workshops were designed to establish an independent, community-based media group in Rostock and to document the effects of unification on the city.

All participants in the workshops were beginners, with little experience in photography or filmmaking. The practical exercises concentrated on how the unification was changing the physical urban landscape. At the close of the first sessions, each participant was interviewed about their experiences as well as their hopes and fears of “Die Wende” the unification of Germany.

One of the objectives of the workshops was to establish a community media group to that end we formed the Jako Media Co-op. Just six months later Jako E.V. and Spectacle would rejoin to make ‘The Truth Lies in Rostock’.

The production process created over 200 hours of footage that did not appear in the final edit of the film. These scenes of daily life in 1991-1993 have become an historic archive of the city at that volatile time. The aim of the 2020 project was to re-work and revisit this archive together with a new generation of Rostockers who were not even born at the time of the pogrom.

Watch The Films

Demonstration 2020
Demonstration 1992

Read past blogs about Spectacle’s Rostock projects here.

Visit our vimeo channel to see examples of Spectacle’s past PV work.

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Learn Video Online

PROJECT RESEARCH, PROMOTION, DOCUMENTATION, DISSEMINATION, OUTREACH

Online Video Training
  • Are you a researcher or activist wanting to learn about filmmaking?
  • Do you need video to document your project or as an outreach tool?
  • Do you want to use video-making to engage your stakeholders online?
  • Does your organisation want to offer online video training to your network?

Spectacle is an award-winning independent media company that specialises in documentary, community-led investigative journalism, and participatory media.Online video training

We have been leaders in Participatory Video (PV) practice and community engagement for more than thirty years, and offer training and workshops in every aspect of digital filmmaking.

We are offering affordable, accessible, and enjoyable film, media, and video training. No prior knowledge needed! Learn what you really need to know to make quality videos.

Previous Clients
Spectacle’s clients include The Council of Europe, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Frantz Fanon Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Arts Council of England, and the Howard League.

Spectacle has delivered successful training workshops for numerous educational organisations, NGOs, and private companies including Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Anthropology Department, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, Science and Technology Facilities Council, Edinburgh University, Birkbeck College, UCL, LSE, as well as dozens of social researchers, journalists, scholars, and video marketers who have found our methods engaging and inspiring.

Over the last 9 months we have run online training courses and workshops for a wide range of clients, including the UK’s Social Research Association, University of Zurich, and the Lichtenhagen Rostock Archive. 

Working with researchers at LSE we have developed a groundbreaking remote Participatory Video (PV) online method to produce a collaborative documentary with a group of migrant women in Medellin, Colombia. 

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VIEW OUR ONLINE COURSES AND BESPOKE TRAINING