Do you supply equipment on the course?

Yes, we supply everything. You don’t need to bring anything, except for a pen and a notebook if you would like to take notes (although, if you forget, we can probably dig out a pencil and some paper too).

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Can I bring my own camera?

In short, yes, but we can't provide model specific tuition during the course, because we wouldn't have enough time to offer this to everyone. If you want help learning to use your camera, we offer one-to-one training that can be booked in two hour blocks. Some people find that a short session on using their own camera complements what they learn on the course.

On the understanding that they won't receive specific, one-to-one training, some people who already have similar cameras to the models we use (generally a Canon DSLR and Sony camcorder) choose to bring theirs along, and to compare the settings and controls to those on the models we teach with. We're happy for you to do this, if you want to.

It's also worth noting that our training isn't specific to the equipment we use, and we hope that most people will be able to pick up any camera after the course and work out how it works on their own.

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I want to buy a camera before the course, what should I buy?

This depends completely on your requirements. We recommend waiting until after the course, or contacting us to book a consultation session with Mark, in person, over the phone or on Skype, please email training@spectacle.co.uk

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How much will I need to spend on equipment to get started after the course?

This depends completely on your requirements, but we can recommend affordable equipment to suit your budget (whether this is a few hundred, or thousands of pounds). To book a consultation session with Mark, in person, over the phone or on Skype,  please email training@spectacle.co.uk for more information.

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I’m a part-time student, do I qualify for the concession price?

No, sorry; we can only offer concessions to full-time students and people who are registered as unemployed.

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I’m a full-time student, but my university is paying, do I qualify for the concession price?

No, sorry; we can only offer concessions to full-time students and people who are registered as unemployed who are paying for themselves, as stipulated in our terms and conditions. As a small company, we choose to offer discounts to low income individuals, but we can't afford to offer discounts to institutions.

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I’m unemployed, but not registered, do I qualify for the concession price?

No, sorry; we can only offer concessions to people who are registered as unemployed, and full-time students.

Many people who take our courses are freelancers, who may be between jobs at the time - if we offered the concession price to people who are unemployed but not registered it would be hard to know where to draw the line.

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I work for a charity, can I have a discount or a free place?

No, sorry. Except for offering concessions to full-time students and people who are registered unemployed, we can’t offer any discounts or free places; as a small company, we rely on our income from training to fund our own community work and voluntary projects.

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I really want to take your course but can't afford it, can I have a free place?

No, sorry. Except for offering concessions to full-time students and people who are registered unemployed, we can’t offer any discounts or free places; as a small company, we rely on our income from training to fund our own community work and voluntary projects.

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Is there somewhere nearby that I can stay?

Yes. There are many hotels in London, of course, but if you would like to stay especially nearby there are a couple of options we recommend, depending on your budget.

The nearest and by far the cheapest option is The Crown Pub, which is just across the road from us, a few minutes walk away. The Crown offers hostel style accommodation, with dorm beds from £12.99 per night.

Private rooms are also available within walking distance, primarily around Clapham Junction station. Travelodge is an affordable option.

You could also try looking on Airbnb.

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How do I get there?

We're located in the Battersea Business Centre at 99-109 Lavender Hill, SW11 5QL, between Stormont Road and Rush Hill Road. Look out for the blue metal gates between Natural Law and Bliss Barbers. We're in unit 25 on the first floor in Building A, which is on the right, when you walk in.

Buses 77, 87 and 156 stop right outside at Tipthorpe Road bus stop. All three run frequently from Vauxhall underground station in one direction, and Clapham Junction overground station in the other direction. The 77 continues on to Waterloo and the 87 goes into central London, stopping at Trafalgar Square and Aldwych. The 345 connects us to Clapham Common underground as well, before continuing on to Brixton, Stockwell and eventually Peckham.

Clapham Junction is also only about a 15 minute walk away. Nearly all trains out of Waterloo and Victoria go via Clapham Junction, taking about 6-11 minutes.

The London Overground also goes to Wandsworth Road station which is a short bus ride away (77 and 87) or ten minute walk.

It takes about 20 mins to walk from Clapham Common underground, or you can take the 345.

As the Northern line makes a large arc it may be quicker to get to us via Vauxhall tube station.

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Are your premises wheelchair accessible?

Yes, there is a lift and we should be able to accommodate wheelchair users, but please let us know in advance.

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What's the course location like?

We run our courses in our workshop and on location in the local area. This means you'll see an active post production office environment, not an off-site classroom, and you'll get to experience the local Battersea community on practicals and breakouts.

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Can I eat and drink during the course?

You are welcome to bring snacks into our workshop. You can buy coffee, tea, cakes and sandwiches, as well as hot food, at a nearby cafe on Lavender Hill. There are also newsagents, a Sainsburys Local, a Tesco Express and a Caffè Nero nearby, and many other shops just down the road near Clapham Junction. We generally recommend participants don’t bring packed lunch so that we can all eat together in the cafe at lunchtime (sandwiches start at £2.50) and the group can reflect together on what they’ve learned.

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How many people attend each course?

Between 3 and 8. We need a minimum of 3 or 4 to run the course (depending how many claim the concession rate) and limit the group to 8 to ensure that Mark can personally assist everyone, and that there aren't too many people per camera.

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There isn’t a course on the date that I want, what can I do?

You have a few options. You could look on the course page and book the same course on an earlier or later date. If none of the other dates are suitable, you could consider a different course (the two day instead of the four day, for example), you can see all our upcoming course dates on our calendar.

If none of the other dates or courses suit you, you could book one-to-one training, or if you have friends of colleagues who are also interested in training you could put together a small group and schedule a private course.

If none of these options are any good, email us and we’ll make a note of your preferred dates and see if other people get in touch who want training at a similar time, if there’s enough demand we may be able to schedule an additional course.

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How do I know if the course is full?

Unless we state on the course page that a specific date is full, there is space.

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Can I change to another course after I have booked?

Yes, if you inform us more than two weeks before the course date. After this, we will do our best to move you but it may be impossible if this would result in the cancellation of the course, as this would be unfair on our other participants.

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I can’t do weekends, do you offer the ‘weekend’ courses on weekdays?

Currently we don’t, but we are considering it; please let us know if you are interested.

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I can’t do weekdays, do you offer the three day and four day course over the weekend?

No, we like all the days to be consecutive so we don’t teach over two weekends with a break in the middle. However, the 4 day course runs from Thursday to Sun, rather than Monday to Thursday, usually on alternate dates.

We also offer one-to-one training and bespoke courses for groups, which allow participants to choose a schedule which suits them.

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I want to do a weekend course in editing, but there are none scheduled, what should I do?

We schedule editing courses less frequently than production courses because we found we had a smaller uptake. If you want to take an editing course, you have a number of options.

We offer one-to-one training in everything, including editing, and encourage people to book editing this way. Contrary to the name, one-to-one edit training can be split between two or more participants, we charge an additional fee per participant but far less than the initial £65 per hour.

Our four day course includes editing, many people take this course following the weekend production course to recap and build on their production skills and to learn editing.

If neither of the above options appeal to you, email training@spectacle.co.uk and let us know -- we'll make a note of your name and preferred dates and see if enough people get in touch for us to schedule a new course.

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Do you ever teach courses elsewhere?

We travel to workplaces, universities and other organisations to teach when they arrange a bespoke group course and cover our expenses. In these cases, we can usually travel anywhere, including abroad.

Other than this, all our courses are taught in London for the time being.

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Will the course definitely run?

Our courses need a minimum number of participants to run. Very occasionally we don’t reach this and have to cancel a course. If this happens we will give you at least one weeks notice and offer a full refund, or to move you on to another course, or to convert your training into fewer hours of more targeted one-to-one tuition - it’s up to you. If you need to book travel or accommodation please email training@spectacle.co.uk and we’ll let you know if there’s any chance the course won’t go ahead.

For reference, our terms and conditions state: “The minimum number of participants on one of our courses is 3. If the minimum number of participants is not reached within 1 week of the course commencement, we reserve the right to cancel the course. We will not be liable for any extra costs incurred with respect to your attendance of your course. If minimum numbers are not reached we will either a) refund the full cost of your course b) provide an alternative course date.”

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How do I book?

If you're booking on a course, it is best if you submit a booking form and pay via Paypal online - you can do this by clicking the 'Book Now' link on the page of the course you would like to book. If you want to schedule one-to-one training or a bespoke course, or if you get stuck, send us an email to training@spectacle.co.uk or call us on 020 7223 6677.

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Can I book over the phone?

Yes, if you'd like to talk things over with us, or are just more comfortable booking by phone please call 020 7223 6677. You can also ask us to guide you through the process by email, just send a message to training@spectacle.co.uk.

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Can I have an invoice?

Yes. If you pay by debit card, credit card or transfer via Paypal, you’ll receive a receipt automatically. Please tick the box on the booking form if you would like to receive an invoice in addition to a receipt, or if you're paying by bank transfer or check, and we'll email this to you after you have paid. If you need an invoice in advance, please tick the box on the booking form and we'll send you one with details of how to continue with payment.

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Can I have a refund if I change my mind or can’t make the course?

Yes, if you cancel in writing more than two weeks before the course you can have a full refund minus an administration fee of £30 per place.
Before the course - If written notice of withdrawal is received by SPECTACLE less than one week (seven days) before the course begins, unfortunately no refund of the course fees can be claimed. If written notice of withdrawal is received by SPECTACLE more than one week (seven days) before the course begins, SPECTACLE will retain 50% of the course fees. If written notice of withdrawal is received by SPECTACLE more than fourteen days before the course begins, the fees will be fully refunded minus an administration fee of £30 per place.
Withdrawal during or after the course - If oral or written notice of withdrawal is received within the course's duration, SPECTACLE will retain the full amount of the course fees.

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What payment methods do you accept?

We prefer that everyone pay by card or bank transfer through Paypal, as this is the simplest and safest method for us and for you, you do not need to have a Paypal account to pay through Paypal - just follow the link at the bottom of the booking form. However, we do also accept bank transfer or cheque. We ask that you pay within three working days of booking to secure your place, otherwise we might give it to someone else.

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Can I pay on the day?

No sorry, to guarantee that everybody will turn up and pay up we ask that everyone pays in advance.

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Can you travel to my university?

Yes. We travel to universities, workplaces and other organisations to teach when they arrange a bespoke group course and cover our expenses. In these cases, we can usually travel anywhere, including abroad. To discuss arranging a course at your university please email training@spectacle.co.uk

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Can you travel to my workplace?

Yes. We travel to workplaces, universities and other organisations to teach when they arrange a bespoke group course and cover our expenses. In these cases, we can usually travel anywhere, including abroad. To discuss arranging a course at your university please email training@spectacle.co.uk

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I'm hosting a group training course, what do I need to provide?

A large and quiet enough room for the group, and a television with HDMI, SCART or Phono lead compatibility (please note, a projector is not suitable).

We provide everything else, unless you want us to use your equipment, in which case that's fine too.

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How much does a group training course cost?

This depends on the number of people you want to teach, you can see more information on costs on the Bespoke Group Course page, but generally courses start at a flat fee of £1600 for 8 people or less for two days, with an additional sub-charge for every person after that. We also charge expenses - travel for Mark and one or two assistants, depending on the group size, and accommodation if it's necessary for us to stay overnight. Please email us for an exact quote.

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How many people can you teach on a group course?

Generally, between 8 and 20. We can teach less than 8, but for any less people we charge the same standard flat fee as we would for a group of 8. We don't teach groups of more than 20, to ensure that we can give support and training to each individual and so that we don’t have more than 4-5 people to each camera.

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Do you offer one-to-one training?

Yes, the content of any of our courses can be tailored to suit your specific needs and taught one-to-one. You can book any amount of time from a two hour minimum. Please email training@spectacle.co.uk to enquire or make an arrangement.

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What are the benefits of one-to-one training?

One-to-one training is flexible to your schedule and learning needs. Because it's tailored it can be quicker and more efficient, and there's time to ask for detailed advice on your personal situation.

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Can you consult on my project?

Yes, we can also help people who are a little further along the way to producing something. Please email training@spectacle.co.uk to enquire or make an arrangement.

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Which course should I choose?

We offer two standard courses, a short one, our Digital Video Production Weekend Course, and a long one, our Four Day Filmmaking Course.

If you are an individual, someone interested in documentary filmmaking or video journalism, for example you will probably be choosing between these courses. Which course you choose between the two will probably depend on the time you can commit, and how much you want to learn in one go.

The Weekend Course is shorter, cheaper and covers only Video Production. The Four Day Filmmaking Course also includes planning, editing and working on a real project. Both are suitable for beginners and people with basic skills, although some people do choose to do the Weekend Course first and then build on this later in the Four Day Filmmaking Course. Alternatively, some people do the Weekend Course and then organise editing training later, separately.

Our other courses are specialist, in that they are for specific people. The Digital Video Production for Anthropologists and Social Researchers Course is for academics, researchers and students who want to learn filmmaking for field-research. The Video Marketing Course is for businesses, social enterprises or freelance marketers who want to be able to personally or in-house produce promotional video for the web. The Participatory Filmmaking Course is for people interested in applying participatory filmmaking techniques to their projects, for example their work as part of an NGO or youth organisation.

We recommend one-to-one training for people with very specific needs or inflexible schedules, or people who want a bit more attention.

You might want to organise a Bespoke Group Course if you want to train a group of people at your university, workplace or other organisation, especially if it would be more convenient to get us to come to you, rather than vice versa.

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What's the difference between your two day and four day courses?

The Digital Video Production Weekend Course is shorter, cheaper and covers only video production. The Four Day Filmmaking Course also includes planning, editing and working on a real project. Both are suitable for beginners and amateurs, although some people do choose to do the Weekend Course first and then build on this later in the Four Day Filmmaking Course. Alternatively, some people do the Weekend Course and then organise editing training later, separately.

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I work for an NGO, should I do the four Day Course or the Marketing Course?

If you want to learn to make short videos in a documentary or video-journalism style documenting your projects, then take the Four Day Filmmaking Course. If you want to make marketing videos to promote your organisation, take the Video Marketing Course.

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I’m not an Anthropologist or a Social Researcher, can I take the Anthropology and Social Research Course anyway?

If you want to.

There isn't a difference between the practical skills covered in the Anthropology and Social Research, and Weekend Courses, but in the Anthropology and Social Research course the practical skills are complemented by discussion of their application to academic fieldwork. We emphasise that the Anthropology and Social research course is primarily a practical video course, and the social research aspect is secondary.

This means that in some circumstances, it might make sense to take the Anthropology and Social Research Course instead of the Digital Video Production Weekend Course even if you aren't particularly interested in applying video skills to field. For example, if none of the weekend course dates suit you and you're desperate to take the training.

Although we believe Anthropologists and Social Researchers will get the most out of the course, we have had many academics and researchers from other subject areas take and enjoy the course, as well as people from more divergent backgrounds.

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How different is the Anthropology and Social Research Course from the Digital Video Production Weekend Training Course?

There isn't a difference between the practical skills covered in the two courses, but in the social research course the practical skills are complemented by discussion of their application to academic fieldwork. We emphasise that the social research course is primarily a practical video course, and the social research aspect is secondary.

The other difference is obviously the participants, while most come from an academic background on the social research course, the weekend course tends to include people interested in documentary filmmaking, video journalism etc.

We have had people in the past who have chosen to take the standard course instead of the anthropology course because of their schedules, and it's never posed a problem.

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Why are your courses so cheap?

There isn’t a catch! Despite offering some of the cheapest courses around (we offer courses for less than half the price of some of our competitors), our testimonials and high rate of returning participants attests to their quality. In fact, we’re sure our courses are the best around. We teach very small groups (always less than 8), and Mark teaches every class himself.

As a company, our focus is not on making huge profits at the expense of individuals. We feel that video should be accessible to everybody, and believe that if we can train people at a fair price we should.

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Am I too old for your courses?

No! We teach people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds, we believe that video can be made accessible to everybody, and put the onus on the teacher to ensure that everyone feels comfortable on the course and leaves feeling confident.

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Am I too young for your courses?

We have taught people of all ages in the past, including children on special, tailored courses. But on our standard, public course we ask that if you are under 16, or want to bring your child who is under 16, you get in touch beforehand and we'll consider on a case by case basis.

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Do I need to speak English?

Yes, the course is taught in English so you do need to be competent. However we have had many participants who don’t have English as a first language and none have had trouble understanding — it’s fine to ask for things to be repeated.

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Will I get a certificate to prove I completed the course?

We can give you a letter evidencing that you completed the course if necessary, however this is not accredited by any body.

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