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Filmmaking for Scientists

Organisers: Universities of Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg & Neuchatel (CUSO), University of Zurich & ETH Zurich (Life Science Zurich, GRACE), and University of Basel (GRACE)

Partners: Zoo Zurich

Trainer: Dr. Samer Angelone MORE INFORMATION

Links to workshops Filmmaking for Scientists

ETH Zurich (Hochschulkommunikation) 2022

Zurich University and ETH (Life Science Zurich)  2014  2015  2016  2017  2019

Universities of Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg & Neuchatel (CUSO)  2016  2017  2018 2019 2020 2021  2022

Basel University (GRACE)  2017  2018 2019 2019 2020 2021 2022

Paul Scherrer Institut  2018   2019   2020

University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO) 2019  2020

Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center 2017 2020 2021  2023

Workshop Description

A major challenge for us as scientists is to communicate complex concepts and detailed content in ways that are appropriate for a wide audience. Films are powerful tools of scientific communication and can be used in a number of different contexts: for example in ethnographic research, for the multimedia thesis and the public defence, or in outreach, to bring the general public into closer contact with scientific research. And hence scientists can benefit from the inspirational, educational, and motivational power of films to communicate their knowledge and expertise.

The technical skills for filming and editing, as well as developing a strong narrative, lie outside our training as academic scientists. In this workshop, participants will learn about camera, audio, lighting equipment, and how to use film editing software, together with how to write, design and carry out the basics of making a documentary. This practice-focused workshop will include filming a short documentary film.


Workshop content

  • Camera and lighting (using different Canon and GoPro cameras).

  • Screenwriting and storyboard (using examples from fiction and documentary films).

  • Film editing (using Premiere Pro CC program).

  • Filming a short documentary film.

  • The topic of the short documentary film will be decided by the participants (following their interests) under the supervision of the trainer​


Learning outcomes

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to prepare their own films, including script & storyboard, camera & lighting and editing.


Pedagogical methods, logistical aspects

The workshop will be based on preparing a short film. The whole workshop will be working together to prepare this short film, and the participants will learn all about filmmaking while they prepare this short film. Specialist equipment (including professional cameras, lighting materials, computers and software) will be supplied by the trainer.


Intended Audience

The workshop is intended for master and PhD candidates, in Social Sciences, Humanities, Exact and Natural Sciences. 
Even when participants come from different backgrounds, the chosen subject to be filmed will include all possible scenes which the scientific filmmakers may face, including filming in the laboratory, during fieldwork or interviews, and in time-lapse. The aim of the workshop is to learn "the language of filmmaking" which is universal for all fields of knowledge.

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