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Classroom in the Wild: Chesapeake Bay

SOC CEF Great Blue Heron

Photos by Bob Quinn/Blackwater NWP

Classroom in the Wild: Chesapeake Bay

March 11-18, 2017

One-Week Course in Environmental Filmmaking at Wye Island NRMA with Filmmakers Vanina Harel & Nick Zachar

SOC’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking is excited to offer students a one-week program during American University's spring break on the Chesapeake Bay to introduce them to the challenges and fun of environmental filmmaking. The program will take place March 11-18, 2017. This course will be limited to 14 students.

This week-long, non-credit class is for both first-time and experienced filmmakers and photographers who have an interest in the environment, natural history and the outdoors. Led by award-winning filmmakers Vanina Harel and Nick Zachar, students will learn how to prepare for and organize a shoot, how to shoot the footage necessary to tell a compelling story, how to manage media in the field, how to edit quickly for a rough cut with a strong environmental theme, and how to use HD cameras, DSLR's and supporting sound gear in outdoor environments.

Students will rotate between positions of producer, director, cinematographer, sound recordist, writer, and editor in order to collaborate on a group project. The instruction will be punctuated by fireside chats featuring guest speakers on a variety of topics pertaining to wildlife and environmental filmmaking. This program will serve as an enjoyable educational experience for aspiring filmmakers, photographers, and anyone interested in communicating environmental issues through digital media.

On-location issues we will cover: Approaching animals safely and how one should approach an animal in a non-threatening way. We will also discuss how to get good clean location sound. What camera do you choose, and which equipment suits the situations you anticipate encountering? What additional equipment can I use to create unique and compelling shots, and how do I pack it in and out? More generally, students will learn how to prepare themselves AND their equipment for wilderness conditions in order to make the most of their filmmaking opportunities, and keep them shooting SAFELY and EFFECTIVELY in the wild.

Read about the 2016 Classroom in the Wild here in The Eagle. Read personal stories from last year's participants here and here. To see photos click here.

For more information, contact Prof. Chris Palmer (202-885-3408 or cell 202-716-6160).


Download 2016 report (PDF)
How-to Videos, by Jennifer Lewis


Watch videos from 2015
Download syllabus (PDF)
Download poster (PDF)
Download 2015 report (PDF)