Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: Research, planning and filming

Five young film-makers are making a short film about British hurdler and Olympic hopeful Zara Hohn.

They meet expert documentary filmmaker Cassius Rayner to research the film and plan their shoot, which includes getting to know their main character and working out the key story.

Together, the group writes a shooting script, shot list and a list of questions for Zara.

The group shoots at Zara's training centre on an affordable high street camcorder and tripod.

They compose an interview shot and conduct the interview, then film a series of shots of Zara as she trains, using different angles and shot sizes.

This clip is from the series Making Media.

Teacher Notes

Organise an introductory discussion of what a documentary is.

How is it distinguished from a fictional film? Do documentary makers use the same techniques as other film makers?

Working in small groups, students could interview each other about an interest they have.

Practice the composition and framing of an interview and other shots that could be used with it.

The class could then evaluate the effectiveness of framing, composition and camera angles in their work.

Students could work in groups or on their own idea for a three minute documentary about the local area or an issue.

They could identify what research they need; who to interview; what questions to ask; where, what and how to film it.

Ask them to create a detailed shooting script. If possible, shoot the documentary that they have planned.

Evaluate what they learn in the process.

Curriculum Notes

These films will be relevant for Media Studies KS3, KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 or Higher in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 and Higher in Scotland.

More from the series Making Media

Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: How to build a website
Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: How to conduct an interview
Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: How to edit a film trailer
Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: Editing a film
Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: The finished film
Media Studies KS3 / GCSE: How to shoot a music video