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SDN Education

DSLR Filmmaking Boot Camp

Instructors: Michael O. Snyder and Sarah Fretwell
Tuesday and Thursday: 6:30 – 9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Twelve classes taught over six consecutive weeks
Tuesday class taught by Michael Snyder. Thursday class taught by Sarah Fretwell
Class begins Tuesday, February 9, 2021 
Course fee: $950   / $150 deposit required to confirm registration

Limited to 12 students

Michael O. Snyder


Class Description 

Designed for photographers who would like to make the leap from still to moving images, SDN’s DSLR Filmmaking Bootcamp is an intensive course that will teach you the essentials of documentary film production from start to finish.

The course is team-taught by Michael O. Snyder and Sarah Fretwell, seasoned photographers, filmmakers, and colleagues at The Blue Earth Alliance.  Both Michael and Sarah started out as photographers and made a successful transition to filmmakers.  They have worked all around the world with clients such as the UN and National Geographic.  The course will distill the complex world of filmmaking down to no-nonsense language and give you the essential tools that you need to make your own documentary film.  The course was carefully designed to teach you what the instructors wish they would have known when they made the leap to video:  the secrets of success and the pitfalls to avoid.

On Tuesdays, students will learn story development and production techniques from Mike.  Students will learn how to think, shoot, move, and plan like a cinematic storyteller.  The six classes will cover story development, production planning, gear selection, camera operation, cinematography, on-site direction, and audio production.  Students will learn how to select the ideal frame rate, file format, audio settings, and other key technical video specs.  Critically, students will learn the essentials of digital storytelling:  how to find and create amazing footage that can be put in service of an engaging edit.

On Thursdays, students will learn editing and distribution techniques from Sarah.  Students will learn the theory, practice, and technical aspects of editing to turn their raw footage into an exciting documentary film.  Using Premiere Pro (students are also welcome use Final Cut Pro X), students will learn the fundamentals of film editing, including importing, building timelines, creating transitions, building tension, audio editing, music selection, and production, creating titles and lower thirds, basic color correction, basic special effects, exporting, and creating a distribution strategy. Students will need access to Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X.

The course follows a practical approach that combines lecture, demonstration, discussion, and critique. Students will be expected to practice techniques and share their work for review during the course.

Michael Snyder

Michael O. SnyderStudents will learn Pre-Production and Production from Michael Snyder, a seasoned professional who combines both a photography and filmmaking approach throughout his projects in the Amazon, the Arctic, the Himalaya, East Africa, Scotland, Siberia, and his home in Appalachia.  Michael has shot video for National Geographic and directed/edited six documentary films, which have taken home numerous awards at film festivals around the world. 

Michael O. Snyder is a photographer, filmmaker, and environmental scientist who uses his combined knowledge of visual storytelling and conservation to create narratives that connect people to the other-than-human-world and drive social change.  He is a Fellow at the Bertha Foundation, a Blue Earth Alliance Photographer, a National Science Foundation Grant Collaborator, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and the co-founder of two environmental organizations.  He holds an MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Through his production company, Interdependent Pictures, he has directed films in the Arctic, the Amazon, the Himalaya, and East Africa.  His journalism work has been featured by outlets such as National Geographic, The Guardian, VOX, BBC, Roads & Kingdoms, The Washington Post, High Country News, Condé Nast, and NPR. His films have been selected to over 40 festivals and have taken home numerous awards.

Snyder grew up on 12 acres of woods in Appalachia and spent much of his early adulthood exploring the remote corners of this planet. These experiences set in motion an ongoing love affair with the wildness of this world and desire to re-connect people to it. Snyder’s projects are often built through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and harness the power of positive storytelling in order to shift the narrative about what it means to live well on this planet without destroying it.

An adventurer at heart, Snyder has hiked the Appalachian and John Muir Trails, cycled across Europe, and ridden trains across Siberia. He has lived around the world including long-term stints in Scotland, Japan, Hawaii, and New Zealand. He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife and two children. www.michaelosnyder.com


Sarah Fretwell

Sarah FretwellStudents will learn postproduction and editing from Sarah Fretwell whose award-winning work explores the lives of everyday people with extraordinary stories and creates the human connection that engages people on a personal level.  

Her work offers individuals a voice for justice, insight for solutions, and the human connection needed for international engagement. Some of her notable work and clients include the United Nations, USAID, Tara Oceans Foundation, The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes, Bloomberg Quicktake, CNBC and Newsy. As a storyteller, she looks deeper into the intersection of the environment, people, and business with one question in mind: “What if the new bottom line was love?

She loves collaboration, working as a team, creating compelling stories, and living outside of the box. Some of her favorite past times include sipping on farmers market green juice, spiking her espresso with superfoods, surfing in Papua New Guinea, hitchhiking through remote jungles of Indonesia, biking Gibraltar peak in Santa Barbara, visiting with Syrian Refugee families in Southern Turkey, and road-tripping through Banff Canada. www.sarahfretwell.com

$950 Total
$150 Deposit to confirm registration
$800 Balance due on week prior to first class

You can pay with a major credit card or with PayPal. If you would like to pay by a different method, please contact us at info@socialdocumentary.net.


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