Documentary script templates: Guidelines for writing effectively

A script template is a structure that defines how the visual, aural, behavioral, and lingual elements of a documentary, video, movie or drama will appear in the post-production stage.

A good template extends an outline that paints a picture of how the final product will look like. Hence, you can prepare, arrange, and proceed with your documentary project.

If you’ve found this blog post because you’re searching for tips on how to prepare a template or shot list for your documentary project, you’ve come to the right place.

Here is our quick guide on how to write a documentary script and script templates to help you.

How Do You Write a Script for a Documentary?

When writing a script, think of it as a guide and prepare to slice, dice, and modify it during your video editing process. A lot of things tend to change during this process. Some scenes and quotes that didn’t seem important during the scripting process may become significant during editing.

There’s no perfect formula when it comes to writing a script for your documentary or film. Just start writing the script and find what works for your story.

Below are some few key points on how to write the perfect script templates for your documentary:

  1. Research: Before you start writing your script or outline, ensure you dig deeper into every important detail. This way, you’ll be able to come up with the best documentary idea.
  2. Prepare a list: Make a list of potential interviews, characters, drama, and basic storylines.
  3. Prepare a shooting script or outline: When preparing a documentary, you can’t have a script until after the video footage has been shot. That’s the only time you’ll be able to piece the story together based on your discovery. However, making a template, outline or shot list in advance will help point you in the right direction.
  4. Be creative: You need to come up with unique and creative ways to spice up your documentary and wow your audience. A great script will include special elements like shot list, time-lapse, stop motion, recreations, background music, and even animation. Documentaries deal with real people and real issues that touch them. Therefore, your script should capture your viewers emotionally.
  5. Decide the style you want: Decide the style, look, and feel of your documentary. You can search for web videos online to get inspiration for your documentary. Netflix is a great place to start.
  6. Get funding for your project: You need to raise enough funds for your documentary. Luckily, due to advancements in technology, you can get multiple resources on the internet. These will help you produce a high-quality documentary on a budget. You can also get funding from like-minded individuals, nonprofit organizations, companies, etc.
  7. State your point of view: Sometimes it may seem hard to present facts and opinions without been biased. As a director or producer, you need to be flexible enough to allow the story to unfold. Even if it will take a different direction than you expected. Deciding in advance what you want your documentary to transmit, can only bear fruits if you present the message to your audience with clarity. This will compel your viewer to connect with your project. Whether they agree or disagree.
  8. Create mini-scenes: Divide your video footage into mini-scenes. That way, your documentary will have interesting mini-stories.
  9. Evaluate the big picture: After reviewing your video footage, you’ll notice that new characters and plots have surfaced. Include them in a way that will make your documentary worthwhile.
  10. Transcribe your video footage: It may be a tedious and difficult task, but worth the effort.
  11. Hero and villain: Determine the heroes and villains in your story.
  12. Create a Roller coaster: Decide on the kind of ride you want to take your audience on.
  13. Start strong: This will help grab your audience’s interest and hook them during the early stages. Creating curiosity and suspense will compel your viewers to continue watching your documentary until the very end.
  14. Making documentary script templates: You can make your script using a 2-column script template. One column for video and the other one for audio.

Do Documentaries Need a Script?

Naturally, all documentaries are unscripted. Since you cannot fully predict how the events will turn out in your documentary, you cannot write your script beforehand. You will only be able to prepare your documentary script template after collecting interviews, research, and data. After the footage has been shot and you have gathered all the facts and materials, you can now sit down and write your script and narration.

A script template will help you create an exciting story from your raw footage. After examining all the raw video footage, you will be able to come up with a good outline for your documentary script template. It may seem daunting at first but as you arrange the clips into sequences, the big picture will begin to unfold and you’ll be able to tell your story the way you want it.


Does Microsoft Word Have a Script Template?

The answer is a resounding yes. You can create documentary script templates on Microsoft Word. However, setting up everything correctly with MS Word is not going to be easy. This is because you’re trying to create your new own scriptwriting program.

Microsoft Word is a very sophisticated program and if you have mastered its advanced features, you can set it up to do many tasks using macros, hotkeys, templates, and other methods. With MS Word, there’s no need for buying scriptwriting software which can cost you hundreds of dollars.

Microsoft Word is one of the most powerful programs and can be used to make professional script templates. You can use macros or create your own custom style and formatting options. MS Word will enable you to produce great script templates for your new documentary or film in no time.

What Are the 5 Elements of a Documentary?

Making a high-quality documentary film requires a lot of planning, preparation, and incorporating all elements of a good documentary.

Below are the 5 elements you need to make a good documentary film:


Narration is the inclusion of a voice over (narrator’s voice) in a documentary in order to help the audience understand what is happening in the documentary. It also provides them with relevant information. Sometimes the Narrator can be visible on the screen. A good documentary narration should have a clear and logical structure to help the viewer to fully understand the subject.


Interviews should be included in order to provide eyewitness statements, expert knowledge, and context to the documentary. However, you need to edit the interviews so that the interviewees’ statements can fit into the logical structure of the narrative of your documentary.

Live Location Shots

Location shots are sometimes included at the beginning to provide a setting for your narrative. They are very important especially when discussing or showing where particular events took place. If it’s a historical event, you can use computer-generated reconstructions to paint a picture in the viewer’s mind of how the location looked like.

Music and Sound

Music and sound are integral parts of many sections of documentaries. They add drama, emotional tone, suspense, and generate a sense of irony to documentary films.


Graphics are visual scenes that appear on the screen but in the actual sense were not filmed. They are widely used in the opening titles, subtitles, translated text, credits, etc. Computer-generated graphics are often used to create images of ancient buildings, extinct animals, and nonexistent objects. You can also use graphics to explain ideas in a visual diagrammatic form.


Next time when making your documentary script template, know that it’s nothing more than just a well-written description of what you expect your audience to see, hear, and experience on the screen. Good documentary script templates should be able to capture the targeted audience’s imagination.

If you are writing a script for the first time, the templates above will assist you in the whole process. This guide was expertly designed to help you come up with a great template for your next project.

Best Clay For Stop Motion: 3 options and how to get started

Clay has always been a wonderful tool for stop motion claymation. Clay animations are pretty timeless, and definitely a point of interest for those who are interested in making their own creative animations. But, which is the best clay for stop motion animation (also known as claymation)?

best clay for stop motion

Best Clay for Stop Motion

There are numerous clays that are used in claymation movies, so your options are not limited to a single type. Popular options are usually oil-based clays, especially those from brands such as Van Aken, Sagent Art, and Puppet Putty. Each of these types of clay has its benefits, which we will not discuss.

1. Van Aken

This is one of the most popular clays for clay animation worldwide. While you would expect this clay to be expensive, it is anything but! The oil based clay is also available in an amazing range of colors, so you can get your creativity to run free.

Interestingly, Van Aken oil based clay is also easy to mix, which enables you to make new colors. If you make lots of claymation videos, it certainly proves useful to save some money by making your own colors.

As with all brands of clay, Van Aken actually changes its ingredients over the course of time. As the ingredients change, it can change some of the properties of the clay, so it is vital to keep an eye on any changes.

Van Aken Plastalina Modeling Clay - Gray, 1 lb, Modeling Clay
  • Van Aken Plastalina Modeling Clay - 1 lb, Gray
  • Gray

2. Sagent Art

Another great option for claymation is the Sagent Art brand. The clay is easy to sculpt and contains that perfect blend of wax and colors that make this a great option for your claymation.

Sargent Art Plastilina Modeling Clay, 5-Pound, Cream
  • Mineral based non-hardening clay
  • Use for flower arrangements, science projects and more!
  • Never hardens or dries out
  • Non-Toxic; Conforms to ASTM D 4236
  • Suitable for all ages

3. Puppet Putty

Even if you are hooked on Van Aken animation clay, it is certainly an option to look at Puppet Putty too. Actually, this clay is designed for claymation specifically. And, the most interesting thing about this option, Puppet Putty is made completely by hand.

It is not uncommon for claymation fanatics to mix their Puppet Putty with Van Aken clay. Doing so makes the clay a little heavier thanks to the Van Aken clay, but it also makes it more flexible thanks to the natural properties of Puppet Putty.

Check them out here

How Do You Make A Stop Motion Clay Character?

Making a claymation character can be quite simple, but also very complicated. Once you have the right clay, and an idea for a stop motion animation character, you can start experimenting to your heart’s content.

One of the first things you need to ask yourself is if you need armature. An armature is basically a skeleton for your character, which can support arms, legs and a head. Not all clay animation characters need an armature, so it all depends on the character you have in mind. Usually, we do not recommend experimenting with armature shapes until you made a couple of clay animation characters already.

The easiest way to make your first clay character for an animation is to use simple shapes. In other words, you will make animation characters that do not have any arms or legs, which would otherwise require an armature. Also, the heads you create for these characters are usually on the body, so be sure to keep the design simple.

If you are unsure about the clay character you should start with, you can find plenty of examples online that can teach you the ropes. Just remember, only try clay characters without the armature to begin with. Once you become more proficient with your oil-based clay and your animation characters, you can look into create your own wire armature for more advance animation characters.

What Clay Is Used For Wallace And Gromit?

One of the best known animation shows that uses clay characters is Wallace and Gromit. As this is an extremely popular animation, many beginners often wonder which clay is used for this particular show.

The unique characters in Wallace and Gromit are made from Newplast. The clay is manufactured by a company in Devon, England. Their clay is used for more than just Wallace and Gromit though, because their clay is also used for Chicken Run and Shaun The Sheep.

When you search for Newplast, be sure not to confuse it with Newclay. This procedure is also made by the same company, but it is an air-drying modelling clay. The company also makes Uro, a heat-curing polymer clay. Evidently, the polymer clay and the air-drying clay are hard-drying and are not as suitable for your animation purposes.

What Popular Movies Are Claymation?

There are a number of movies that are animations with clay characters. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the movies are made by the same people who make Wallace and Gromit.

The Boxtrolls

This is one of the few movies that is not made by Aardman Studios, the people who make Wallace and Gromit. However, it does include a number of famous voices in the form of Ben Kingsley and Simon Pegg. It is also one of the most original approaches to animation with clay characters, so well worth watching for those starting out with this type of animation.


Another release from the people behind our previous suggestion. Once again, the filmmakers took an original approach. Instead of using full clay characters, they used three dimensional printed faces on the clay characters.

Mary And Max

This is undoubtedly one of the movies that is lesser known, despite its rather in-depth story. Mary and Max was made in Australia and brings something completely different than the usual humoristic animation content.

The story of Mary and Max is a bit darker than the average animation story, but that did lead to a true masterpiece and opened up a world of possibilities in the world of claymation. It also touched upon several serious mental health themes, including addiction, loneliness, and mental illness. Any beginner that wants to create something unique should take a page out of the book of this film.

Wallace And Gromit In The Curse Of The Were Rabbit

The Wallace and Gromit films are some of the best-known around the world, so it is no surprise this movie made our overview of must-see claymation films. While the series and films may seem straightforward, there is a secret behind this animation.

Contrary to some animations that are either meant for adults or children, Wallace and Gromit managed to combine both. This immediately explains why the show and the films remained so popular over the years.

Chicken Run

One of the most popular animations with clay characters to date is Chicken Run. Once again, the characters were created by Aardman, which explains the similarities with the Wallace and Gromit characters.

Chicken Run got more attention worldwide thanks to Aardman’s cooperation with Dreamworks. There were also some real famous voice actors in the form of Mel Gibson and Timothy Spall.

Another interesting fact about Chicken Run, it was the highest grossing stop motion film in history. So, beginners and even advanced filmmakers can learn a lot from what this movie brings.

A Close Shave

This is another Wallace and Gromit film dating back to 1995. It became a classic in the United Kingdom and then took over the world. The interesting part about it is that this film is only half an hour long. Despite its short length, new characters such as Shaun The Sheep and Justin Fletcher were introduced to the public.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

That’s right. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a claymation! Of course, this film contains some of the most unique characters ever seen. However, the use of clay was the right choice, as the character’s contortions and unique movements made this film as brilliant as it was. In fact, The Nightmare Before Christmas became a classic in minimal time.

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

If the characters look a little familiar, it won’t surprise you that this film was another creation from Aardman Studios. This was their first film released in 3D too, which made it a bit more special and proved to the world this movie style was still relevant.

Of course, this movie is worth a watch just because of the interesting cast, ranging from Hugh Grant and David Tennant to Imelda Staunton and Martin Freeman.

Where Do I Start?

This is a lot of information to take in, but don’t worry. Even if you just start out with clay stop motion, there are so many helpful tools online to help you get going.

To get you started with stop motion, we recommend designing your main character or characters. You should also look at obtaining a good camera and stop motion editing software to match. That is all you need to start getting creative!

Stop Motion Tips For Beginners: 6 Great ways to get started

Do you love the idea of creating your own stop motion? Are you playing with ideas for stop motion animations? Could you use some stop motion ideas for beginners to get you started? Then be sure to read on, as we are about to disclose some amazing stop motion ideas beginners can take advantage of.

stop motion characters

Stop motion tips for beginners

Find Characters Everywhere

Some beginners do not even attempt making their own stop motion animation, mainly because they mistakenly believe they have to make their own characters!

While characters resembling Wallace and Gromit’s originality is great, you do not necessarily need to make your own characters for your own stop motion animation.

There are countless objects inside your home that could become characters in your stop motion animation. While we do not suggest using perishables, as this would force you to shoot the stop motion animation very quickly, there are non-perishable objects that could become the stars of your video.

From a selection of storage boxes to shoes and different types of brushes, all objects can become a character in a stop motion animation. So, you do not have to come up with your own characters, simply have a look around your house for some simple stop motion ideas.

Use Your Drawing Skills

While stop motion animation made with clay characters is considered as some of the most popular and best-known type of stop motion animation, this does not mean it is your only option.

In fact, animation ideas reach far beyond that, which includes the world of drawing and painting!

Depending on how advanced an artist you are, you could try some animation ideas on different drawing mediums. You could start with something as simple as a whiteboard and some washable pens.

If you are an accomplished artist, you could use paper or even canvas to bring life to your creations.

One of the additional advantages of drawn stop motion animation is that it is accessible to everyone. The method is affordable and pretty straightforward to execute.

On top of that, this is one of the animation ideas children can get involved in as well. So, if you want to include the entire family, drawing could very well be your chosen stop motion animation.

The Paper And Scissors Method

Anyone thinking of making stop motion animation is usually quite creative from the get-go, and this offers a world of additional possibilities.

Another classic method for stop motion animation is the paper and scissors method, where you cut out shapes and put them on a single color background to create something unique.

There are plenty of examples of stop motion animation made from simple paper shapes and cutouts. We also need to mention that this method is great as a school activity too.

If you are a teacher, you could let children create their own characters from paper and add them to the background for a class-made motion stop.

When you use this particular method, be careful with shadows. Shadows can cause a problem for this type of stop motion, so make sure there is adequate lighting and that the camera stands far enough from the background to avoid these shadows.

Get Into Clay

As we briefly mentioned already, clay is one of the recommended methods for stop motion. In fact, it is one of our favorite animation ideas, as there are countless things you can do with it.

When you need some inspiration where clay stop motion is concerned, we can recommend checking out the animation films made by Aardman. There are plenty to choose from, including Wallace and Gromit.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to make clay characters that are extremely complicated. After all, this would be too complicated for a beginner and might cause you to give up on your stop motion animation ideas.

Instead, we suggest starting with a simple character or two to bring your ideas to life.

If you need an example of simple clay characters, we suggest looking at Purple and Brown from Aardman. These characters are clearly very simple, but they still make an amazing animation.

Plan Ahead

One of the most important things to create a successful stop motion projects is to plan ahead. While you may create the best characters and have the best camera to shoot video or photographs, your stop motion will not amount to much if you do not plan ahead.

Planning the photographs ahead of shooting your animation or video can be extremely useful. You will need to plan at least ten photographs for each second of your stop motion.

Evidently, this means you will need to take an astronomical of photographs, but also that you will need a detailed plan for an outstanding stop motion video.

Use The Right Camera Techniques

Stop motion is also about using the right camera techniques. Obviously, you want to obtain a fluid motion from beginning to end, so camera techniques is something you should pay extra attention too. Fortunately, camera techniques are pretty straightforward for stop motion.

One of the first things to do is to use the remote for your camera. Hitting the button yourself can cause the camera to move, so using a remote for stop motion can prevent this tricky issue.

Secondly, make sure your lighting is consistent while you take stop motion video or photographs. Doing so ensures your results are consistent, and create a fluid stop motion going forward.

Before you start shooting your stop motion, make sure your camera settings are set and do not have to be changed while you are shooting. Remember, you will be taking hundreds of photos, so the last thing you need is a problem because of these settings somewhere in the middle.

It can also be useful to shoot some test photographs or video for your stop motion. Once you start shooting, you cannot change any settings, lighting, or other variables. So, you must ensure that your stop motion photographs or video are perfect from the start.

And finally. we also recommend taking more photographs than you actually need for your stop motion. You never know if there is a small error in one of your photographs, and the last thing you want is starting your stop motion all over again. So, just start taking extra photographs for great results and to avoid problems.


Stop motion photography and video is straightforward once you have done it for a while, but it can feel quite daunting for beginners.

Nevertheless, if you follow the tips provided in this overview, you will find that stop motion video and photographs are a lot easier than you thought.

Remember, creating good stop motion is all about creating a unique world and matching characters, but also dedication when it comes to your initial setup and shooting photographs and video.

While it will take a little extra time to make everything perfect, it does save you lots of time later during the editing stage of your video animation.

In conclusion, stop motion video requires a bit of dedication and creativity, but it is certainly something everyone can get involved in.

From kids at school to adults who want to create their own animations, everyone can get involved in this fun and unique hobby. Of course, it could even become a money maker if you find the right combination!

How Do You Set Up Your DSLR Camera For A Stop Motion?

Is this the first time you are using your DSLR camera for a stop motion animation or stop motion photography? If this is the case, then you need some essential information to set up your camera properly. Below, you will all the essential information you need to know about your DSLR camera for stop motion animation and photography.

dslr setup for stop motion

Setting up your DSLR for stop motion

Use a tripod

Before you start shooting, always make sure to use a good tripod. While you may not want to spend the time on your tripod setup, this is absolutely essential for shooting stop motion images.

Of course, not all tripods are made equally, so it is important to do a little research to find a matching tripod for your camera. Obviously, you need a sturdy option, but also one that allows you to adjust when you need to.

With minor adjustments, you find that you have more control over the images you need to shoot. Of course, do not forgot to lock your tripod before you commence shooting.

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Use manual focus

Another big tip for animation shots is to use manual focus. For the best results, you do not want automatic focus to take over, as this could cause minor yet visible changes in your photographs.

The last thing you need is poor focus results when you are shooting a story with images. Instead, use manual exposure and focus for the best results.

Make sure lighting is good

Lighting is also important for stop motion. The lighting needs to be controlled as much as possible, but also needs to be constant to ensure consistency throughout your photographs.

Many animators are tempted to use daylight, but the differences in natural light causes serious differences between one photograph and the next. Where stop motion is concerned, you could ruin your project in a heartbeat.

It’s always better to use additional lighting(like an LED cube) to illuminate your subjects and remove any shadows.

Use a remote

Finally, you want to make sure your camera does not move when you take a shot. After all, it could cause problems with focus, positioning, and more. So, instead of taking the shot on the camera, always use a remote. Most camera brands such as Nikon and Canon have a compatible remote for their cameras.

How Can I Make My Stop Motion Better?

We won’t lie to you, making stop motion is a bit of a learning process. However, using the tips in this overview can help you avoid common problems and get you to master the skill in minimal time.

As already mentioned, one of the first things to do is seek a decent camera with a remote. You should also have the matching tripod, as these three things determine the quality of your stop motion overall.

Stop motion software makes life easier

Once you have the right equipment, you also need some software to help you create your story or film. Much like cameras, you can find software with variable prices, so you can find something to match your needs. There are also some free options out there that can help you get started.

When it comes down to using video editing software, it is a good idea to do a little bit of research first. Not all types of video editing software are great for stop motion. On the flipside, there are some options out there that are specifically designed for stop motion. Evidently, you will find that most of those software options provide the best results.

Let your creativity loose in your characters

Finally, unique subjects can transform your stop motion into a true masterpiece. While you could use basic still objects, you could also create your own clay heroes to rival Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run. So, why not play around with your own creativity and come up with some unique subjects for your film?

What Camera Should I Use For Stop Motion?

The right camera for stop motion is a common question from those who are starting with stop motion animation and photography. And there are plenty of choices too, but which provide you with the best images for your stop motion animation? Here are three of our favorite camera options.

Canon EOS Rebel T6

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is in the medium price range, which means it is affordable for most stop motion enthusiasts. This particular camera is compatible with a variety of lenses, which comes in handy when you want to experiment with different types of stop motion images.

Another big advantage of the Canon EOS Rebel T6 is the settings it comes with. The settings are pretty straightforward, meaning beginners can easily navigate around the settings of this particular camera. Of course, these settings can be customized to meet the preferences for the images you are shooting.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens (Black)
  • 180 Megapixel CMOS (APS C) image sensor and high performance DIGIC 4 plus Image Processor for excellent speed and quality
  • ISO 100 6400 (expandable to H: 12800) for shooting from bright light to low light compatible with eye Fi cards Multimedia cards (MMC) cannot be used
  • Built in Wi Fi and NFC connectivity provide easy sharing to compatible smart devices, select social media sites and the Canon Connect Station CS100 device
  • 9 point AF system (including one center cross type AF point) and AI Servo AF provide impressive autofocus performance with accurate results AF Assist Beam Effective range: Approx 131 feet by 40 meter; Periphery: Approx 115 feet by 35 meter
  • Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your compatible Canon camera into a high-quality webcam

Nikon D500

One of the more expensive models for stop motion is the Nikon D500. This particular model comes with outstanding video shooting features and fast shutter. In addition to that, this camera is suitable for indoors and outdoors.

There are many reasons why Nikon D500 is one of the better choices for still images and animation shooting, but one of the main reasons is how it supports different types of storage media. Of course, this is a professional piece of equipment and consumers should therefore expect the price to match.

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR (Body Only), Base
  • 20.9MP DX format CMOS sensor. Viewfinder: Eye level pentaprism single lens reflex viewfinder
  • Expeed 5 image processor; Monitor size: 3.2 inches diagonal
  • 3.2 inches 2,539k dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • 4k UHD video recording at 30 fps
  • Multi cam 20k 153 point AF system

Related: Use a DSLR as a webcam


Although some people prefer using webcams for their stop motion films, you can get much higher quality and better control over your shots with a DSLR.

The keys to using a DSLR for stop motion are to use a tripod for stability, external lighting for better photos, and a remote for shake-free shots!

Best Free Stop Motion Software(Trials and fully free versions)

Stop motion animation is more popular than ever. So there are plenty of stop motion apps and softwares out there.

Unfortunately, there is only one completely free stop motion software, and all the others have free versions that have limitations, or free trials for a short period of time.

With that said, here’s a list of the best free stop motion software, sort of:

  • qStopMotion
  • Stop Motion Animator
  • FilmoraPro
  • Dragonframe
  • Stop Motion Studio
  • Boinx iStopMotion
  • Eclipse Stop Motion Pro
  • Frames
  • MonkeyJam
  • iKitMovie

Top 10 Best Stop Motion Software

1. qStopMotion

When you want some stop motion software that is completely free, then qStopMotion is a great place to start.

qStopMotion is a free software that can run on Linux as well as Windows. It comes with a simple user interface, which means beginners will find it easy to start with this software.

On the flipside, this app could use a bit of an update. Nevertheless, the company releases regular updates to keep the program running as smoothly as possible, so that is a big plus in our books.


  • Great camera control
  • AVI and MPEG compatibility


  • Very basic

qstopmotion software

Check them out here

2. Stop Motion Animator 1.1

Contrary to the other options in our overview, Stop Motion Animator 1.1 is an extension for your browser. So, if you do not want to download a program, then Stop Animator 1.1 could be a better option.

To work with this extension, you will need to use a webcam. Alternatively, you can upload previously recorded video from your camera. The latest version of this application also allows you to upload music, which is great for an extension!

And if you have a bit of the programming bug, you can contribute to this extension yourself. The source code for this extension/application is available for everyone to download and contribute to.


  • Easy to use
  • Very straightforward


  • Not very advanced


Check them out here

3. FilmoraPro(Free with limitations, paid unlimited)

This is a great stop motion option for filmmakers, as it comes with a variety of other features too. However, this particular option stood out for us for one particular reason, as this app stop motion software actually has one of the most user-friendly tools.

Another interesting feature that is included with FilmoraPro is keyframing. For those of you not familiar with keyframing, this is an important feature for anyone passionate about animation.

This feature looks at the a beginning and an end point of a selected video clip. With keyframing, you can select this feature in your free stop motion software and look at options in more detail such as opacity, scale and even positioning.

Evidently, keyframing within a stop motion app requires a bit of research and exploring. Still, if you are serious about your stop motion software and working with films and animation, keyframing is a feature that will become your best friend quickly.

FilmoraPro is available as a free version which has all the editing features but outputs a watermark in the final video. The full version is $149.99.


  • Easy to use
  • Great audio mixing
  • Lots of effects


  • Not completely free

filmora pro

Download it here

4. Dragonframe(paid)

One of the most popular apps for stop motion is Dragonframe. The reason why this stop motion software is so popular does not have to be sought after for long, because this stop motion software is specifically designed for stop motion animation.

Like FilmoraPro, Dragonframe comes with an easy user interface. So, even if you are a beginner in the world of motion animation, this stop motion software is pretty easy to get the hang of.

You can use it on both Windows and Mac OS X, and you can control your camera directly from the software interface.


  • Incredibly robust
  • Can produce feature films with this software


  • Expensive


Check them out here

5. Stop Motion Studio(free with in-app purchases)

While there is plenty of free stop motion software out there, not all stop motion software options offer a lot of versatility. Fortunately, there are some versatile options out there, this includes Stop Motion Studio.

Stop Motion Studio is designed for a variety of platforms, which makes it an amazing stop motion software for anyone on the go. At the time of this article, this stop motion software is available for iOS and Android.

Nevertheless, it is not an expensive software and affordable for most beginning filmmakers and animators.


  • Easy to use
  • Touch screen to take a photo
  • Great tutorial mode


  • Limited free version


Check them out here

6. Boinx iStopMotion(free trial, $10 app)

While this stop motion software has a really strange name, do not let the difficult name fool you. In fact, this stop motion software is the best option for beginners. Even if you never did stop motion animation before, Boinx iStopMotion makes it incredibly easy.

Boinx iStopMotion is a popular stop motion software for schools, as it has an excellent teaching system. You can try this software out for free and it is available for a variety of platforms.

Like our previous suggestion, Boinx iStopMotion does offer a license option, which means you can purchase a license for this stop motion animation software. Fortunately, the licenses are really cheap and well-worth investing in if you like the free version.


  • Easy to use
  • Available on OS X, Windows, and as a mobile app
  • Intuitive interface


  • Not much flexibility for editing


Check it out here

7. Eclipse Stop Motion Pro(free trial, then paid)

The Eclipse Stop Motion Pro is another popular option currently available. It provides functionalities for most films and animations, and even offers the ability to hook up a webcam or a digital camera.

One of the interesting features of this animation software is the functionality it provides for your webcam or digital camera. With the animation software, you can alter options such as angles and zoom, which offer your better shooting capabilities.

Another great feature of the Eclipse is it has some lip-syncing features too. So, if you want some animation software that enables you to do voiceovers on your created animations, Eclipse is certainly a wonderful option.


  • Frame editor
  • Time-lapse capture


  • Max resolution in free version is 800 x 600
  • Not very intuitive


stop motion pro

Check them out here

8. Frames(30 day free trial, $40 to buy)

When you are starting to master your animation efforts and are ready to take the next step where animation software is concerned, it is time to look at Frames. While this is software you have to pay for eventually, it does offer a thirty-day free trial where you can evaluate the software fully and explore all the stop motion animation features it provides.

When it comes to features Frames is one of the most extensive stop motion animation software. Any feature you could possibly think about when it comes to stop motion animation is included here. So, once you become more advanced, this is the option to consider first and foremost.


  • Green screen support
  • Import entire folders in one go


  • Not much flexibility in exporting


Check them out here

9. MonkeyJam(completely free)

If you rather not mess around with trials and want stop motion animation software that is completely free, MonkeyJam is the software to look at. The software is designed to capture webcam, camcorder and even scanner, which means you have tons of options to create your animation.

In addition to the basic functionalities in terms of webcam and camcorder upload, it is also possible to import images and sound files that are already on your PC. Interestingly, this stop motion animation software was originally designed to make animations from pen and paper, but it has grown into so much more.


  • Easy to set up
  • Multiple export options


  • None

Check them out here


Another excellent resource for stop motion animation software is IKITMOVIE. It is a great option for beginners, as the website offers countless resources for animators.

Please note that there is a free version of this software with limits of 10 projects of 10 minutes each, but also a bunch of licensed options. Licensed options are usually most suitable for schools who want their students to learn everything about animation and filmmaking. Schools can look at IKIT to obtain 25 licenses or more at a really affordable price.

Even if you do not end up using IKITMOVIE immediately, it can be a good idea to check out the resources they offer. This website includes some of the best and most detailed instructions on animation and filmmaking, so beginners will find this information invaluable moving forward.


  • Great for kids
  • Green screen support


  • None

Check them out here


Every stop motion animation option mentioned today has something unique to offer, so it is all about finding that option that meets your target.

If you are into filmmaking, then there is little point to choose a software that is solely designed for animation. If you are into animation on the other hand, then a software created for animation specifically is the best choice.

Evidently, skill level must be considered as well in your selection. Software such as Frames is quite advanced, and not that suitable for beginners.

If you are a beginner, it is usually better to choose something like IKIT or Boinx, as those are specifically designed to teach animation. While they do contain some advanced features too, they take the user by the hand and show features on step at a time.

In conclusion, the best stop motion animation option always matches your skill level, but also the type of film you want to create. So, write down your skill level and your target film first and foremost.

Then, go through our list of free options to determine which matches those two requirements best. Doing so will narrow down the options dramatically, and give you that perfect app in minimal time.

Best Cheap Teleprompter: Budget Friendly Picks For Videos

When presenting or performing a longer script to the camera, a decent teleprompter is a must. Depending on where you shop, these things can be prohibitively expensive. This post will run through some of the best cheap teleprompter options out there.

We’ll also discuss some teleprompter apps that can help give your best performance.

Best Budget-Friendly Teleprompters: Our Top Picks

The list below contains some of the best teleprompters for professionals on a budget.

1. Padcaster Parrot Teleprompter

First on our list is a portable teleprompter from Padcaster. The Parrot Teleprompter can be attached to most modern smartphones for convenient, on-the-go teleprompting. Flexibility is the name of the game here; this device clips effortlessly onto most DSLR cameras and phones.

The 70/30 beam splitter glass is surprisingly high-quality considering the price point. Your text will be displayed cleanly and clearly. If you’re wondering how you’ll display your script on a smartphone, the Padcaster Parrot comes with a link to a handy app that is completely free.

Text scaling and display are all handled very well. As the app is purpose-built for this device, you should have no trouble getting your teleprompter kit up and running. As far as affordable options go, this is one of the best teleprompters out there.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Works with most smartphones and DSLRs
  • Free app


  • The free app has not yet been updated to support iOS 14

2. Caddie Buddy

This is a fantastic teleprompter kit for professionals who need a portable teleprompter. The 70/30 beam splitter glass reflects a perfect image of your script for simple, no-fuss presenting. The aluminum case that comes with this model is a nice touch.

It gives tons of confidence when carrying your kit from place to place. The Caddie Buddy is refreshingly easy to set up and is compatible with virtually all smartphones and tablets. What stands out with this portable teleprompter is the quality of the materials used.

Each part of the Caddie Buddy has been “proudly made in the USA”. Everything from the included hood to the attachment clips seems well-made and durable.


  • Great build quality
  • Simple to set up
  • Included carry case


  • You’ll need to use a third-party app for your scripts

3. Glide Gear TMP100

This option from Glide Gear comes with a number of considerations that make the life of a professional much easier. Everything from the high-quality beam splitter to the optional carry case has been well considered on this teleprompter.

This Glide Gear teleprompter is collapsible for easy transport with a significantly smaller footprint. Moving from set to set will be no problem thanks to the optional carry case with adjustable straps. The protective design should keep things safe while you’re moving around.

Glide Gear has built a decent reputation as a reliable name in the industry and this model certainly lives up to the family name. If you’re looking for an affordable teleprompter with minimal compromises, this is a great option.


  • Collapsible teleprompter design
  • High-quality beamsplitter glass
  • Optional carry case is protective and comfortable


  • The teleprompter glass is fixed at a 45-degree angle which is quite low for some people

4. PT Elite Ikan Teleprompter

The PT Elite is a universal teleprompter from Ikan that represents phenomenal value for money in our opinion. It’s a touch pricier than some other options on this list, but it’s worth the money if it’s within your budget.

The mount design on this teleprompter is universal, meaning it can accommodate virtually any compact tablet that works with a third-party teleprompter app. The baseplate on this model uses the industry standard 15mm size so you shouldn’t encounter many compatibility issues no matter what gear you use.

The PT Elite also doubles as a reliable camera support system when you don’t need a teleprompter. If you already know you need a camera mount for your workflow, this teleprompter could save you a fair bit of money by doing two jobs in one.


  • Doubles as a camera support system
  • Universal teleprompter
  • Excellent build quality


  • Set up takes longer than with other models

5. Leeventi Teleprompter v3.0

This is an ultra-affordable teleprompter with an included remote control and stable design. While the cheaper price tag does come with some compromises, this is still a brilliant option for beginners or professionals who really need to cut back their budget.

This Leveenti teleprompter kit is compatible with nearly any tablet or smartphone and packs away flat when not in use. The remote control on this model deserves a mention.

This teleprompter comes with a year’s license to use Leeventi’s proprietary software that allows you to control the flow and direction of your script with ease.

This is particularly useful in rehearsals or with multiple takes where it’s much more convenient to quickly scroll back to the top of your script without fiddling around with your tablet. The teleprompter glass on this model is well-designed and allows for perfect light transmission when filming your presenter.

While setup with this teleprompter takes a little longer than we’d like, it represents excellent value for money in our opinion.


  • Super-low price point
  • The remote control works well
  • The screen projects easy-to-read text


  • The license for the included software only lasts a year
  • Setup takes a few steps

6. iLight Pro Teleprompter

This is a great mid-range teleprompter with professional features and phenomenal build quality. The aluminum build of the iLight Pro makes for a durable device that’s lightweight and portable. The foldable design of this teleprompter adds a further boost to portability.

The included remote works very well and is laughably easy to set up. It works with an app that is available on both iOS and Android. An important aspect of performing to a teleprompter is making sure you have the angle set just-right.

The teleprompter glass on this model is completely adjustable, meaning you’ll always have your script reflecting at precisely the angle you need. Overall this is a great choice for those who can’t stretch to a high-end teleprompter but need something a little more premium.


  • Foldable design
  • The included remote is easy to set up
  • Adjustable teleprompter glass


  • Assembly is a little fiddly if you’ve never used it before

7. Desview T2 Teleprompter

Ideal for vloggers or teachers working remotely, this portable teleprompter packs a number of handy features into a surprisingly small package. The Desview T2 works with most smartphone and DSLR camera brands and reflects crisp, easy-to-read text onto a high-definition display.

Like some of the other teleprompters on this list, this model uses a free smartphone and tablet app that lets users control their scripts with the included bluetooth remote. Features like this are fantastic for working professionals, as they can significantly improve the efficiency of your workflow.

The adjustable lens on this teleprompter allows it to seamlessly accommodate a wide variety of devices and cameras. For a flexible, effective teleprompter that won’t break the bank, consider this option from Desview.


  • Handy remote
  • Adjustable lens for many different devices
  • High-definition display


  • The affordable price comes with some compromises in build quality

8. AMBITFUL Teleprompter Kit

The tripod mount on this teleprompter is a bare-bones solution that works remarkably well. This simple approach allows AMBITFUL to price this model very competitively. While you won’t find all the features of a high-end teleprompter here, this should be more than enough to get the job done for most people.

The mounting system for this teleprompter is compatible with most modern smartphones and reflects an image that is clear and effective. If you’re a beginner and need something simple that is easy to set up, clear down and understand, this is the teleprompter for you.


  • Great for beginners
  • Included remote
  • Works with most smartphones


  • The recommended smartphone app is only available on Android

9. KEA YISOFINE Q2 Mini Teleprompter

The compact footprint of this teleprompter allows it to fit snuggly on top of even the smallest desks. If you’re a YouTuber or content creator with limited space, this one won’t let you down. The construction is surprisingly well-thought-out for a device that costs so little.

Light bumps and jostling shouldn’t put you out of action. Whether you’re using a smartphone or a compact tablet, the YISOFINE Q2 will hold it snuggly in place while you present your clearly legible script.

It’s quick and easy to adjust the orientation of this teleprompter; both landscape and vertical shooting is just a few moments away. An optional tripod mount and DSLR accessory can be added for an additional fee.


  • Compact design
  • Simple adjustments for vertical or horizontal shooting
  • Well constructed


  • You’ll want to use a third-party app; the recommended software isn’t great

10. Large Portable Teleprompter

This model combines affordability and quality perfectly. The industry-standard design is durable and remarkably easy to use. Even a complete beginner should get to grips with this device relatively quickly.

The simple design of this prompter can provide some much-needed confidence when presenting to camera. Most smartphones and tablets fit effortlessly, and the foldable design of this option makes this device a joy to carry with you from job to job.

This may be the last item on our list, but it’s certainly not the least.

Best Teleprompter Apps

Many teleprompters come with their own recommended apps designed to work in tandem with the specific device you’ve purchased. It’s worth mentioning, though, that there are plenty of third-party options out there. In some cases, these apps may work much better than the proprietary offerings.

The options below are some of our favourite apps for teleprompters.

PromptSmart Lite

This is a free version of the PromptSmart app. It’s available on iOS for iPad users and does a fantastic job of presenting your script clearly. The free version provides users with a bare-bones-but-effective suite of tools for working with your text.

Pro users can upgrade and access features like intelligent voice tracking and unlimited document uploads.

Simple Teleprompter

This is a refreshingly uncomplicated Android app that gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t. A simple settings screen allows users to tweak things like scroll speed and delay. If you’re using an Android smartphone or tablet with your teleprompter, this is a great option.

Selvi App

If you’re constantly jumping between different devices and need an app with a bit more flexibility, Selvi might be the answer. This
option works for both Android and iOS and comes with a decent amount of control in the settings menu.

Parrot App

This app is built by Padcaster for their specific line of products, but it works great with other teleprompters too. It’s available on both Android and iOS and comes with a level of polish that other apps struggle to reach. You’ll be up and running with your script in no time.


Final Thoughts

The best teleprompter is the one that fits your needs. It’s best to closely consider how much money you can afford to spend on a new piece of kit. If you’re just starting out and need something to help you learn, an uncomplicated budget option will probably be the way to go.

If you’re a seasoned pro looking for a backup prompter, one of the mid-range options from the list above won’t disappoint. Whichever product you choose, we hope you’re camera-ready on the night!

Best Headphones For Editing Video: Get A Studio Experience At Home

Any video editor worth their salt will use a decent pair of headphones. The best headphones for editing deliver a level of sound quality and detail that are crucial once you reach the professional level. There’s a fair bit of variety when it comes to headphones in this category.

The advantages of this level of choice are obvious. The only trouble is, it can be difficult to know where to start. This page runs through some of the best headphones for video editing. We’ve listed products with fantastic sound quality, frequency response and sound isolation.

Top Picks – Best Headphones for Editing

The list below contains some of the best headphones on the market. We feature some strong budget products as well as some more premium options.

1. Audio Technica Ath M50x

These studio monitor, professional headphones don’t come cheap, but they’re well worth considering if your work involves a lot of video editing. The sonic performance of the Audio Technica Ath M50X is critically acclaimed by many voices in the industry; these things are an audio engineer’s best friend.

The degree of clarity that persists throughout the extended frequency range of these headphones deserves a lot of praise. The performance here is due, in part, to the proprietary drivers that use rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum coils.

Forgetting the technical lingo for a moment, it’s worth emphasizing that headphones for video editing need to be comfortable. Video editing involves long periods of work in a fixed position. In situations like this, you’ll be grateful for an ergonomic design.

Luckily, the Audio Technica Ath M50x headphones fit comfortably over the ears. The materials used are durable and very comfortable to boot!


  • Fantastic sonic performance
  • Comfortable for long video editing sessions
  • Durable design


  • The snug ear pads can get a little warm

2. Sennheiser Professional Studio Headphones

This option from Sennheiser was designed with professionals in mind. A number of design considerations here make these some of the best headphones for video editing we’ve ever seen. As a brand, Sennheiser has built a formidable reputation in the world of audio quality.

If your video editing or audio work requires unparalleled levels of reproduction accuracy and quality, it’s hard to go wrong with Sennheiser. On these studio headphones, the ambient noise shielding and high-resolution acoustic system make the life of a professional much easier.

The foldable design of this model makes it very easy to take with you, and the construction seems durable enough to shoulder a fair bit of abuse if you’re clumsy when video editing. Everyone has slightly different preferences when it comes to the shape of the ear cups on headphones.

In our opinion, the ear cups on this model fit like a dream.


  • An acoustic system that delivers phenomenal clarity
  • Foldable design
  • Great headphones for video editing


  • With the exception of a small section, the wire is straight

3. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

It’s tough to beat the pro-grade quality of monitors like these. Once you’re working in a professional context, headphones for video editing reach a new level. A pure, high-resolution sound is delivered with a frequency response of 5 – 35.000 Hz.

We recommend the 32OHM variant of these closed-back headphones if you’re going to be using them at home. The lower impedance will make it much easier for your computer, camera or mobile to drive sound through them.

The closed back design of the ear cups on the DT 770 make for an impressive bass response and great passive noise cancellation. These are two factors worth considering closely when browsing headphones for video editing.

When video editing or working with audio in the studio, it’s vital to have a reliable reference point you can use to keep your work consistent. The DT 770 PRO won’t let you down when it comes to accuracy or performance.


  • Broad frequency response
  • Fantastic reference point for video editing or audio work


  • The ear cups ‘clamp’ quite tightly on the head

4. AKG K 240 MK

This is another fantastic option if you need good headphones for video editing. These cans are something of a cult favorite among certain editing circles, mostly for how comfortable some people find them.

While headphone comfort is largely subjective, the K240MKs tick a lot of the right boxes. The tightness, ear cup softness and adjustability are all fantastic for most people.

The semi-open design of these headphones allows for rock-solid bass performance and airy, clear highs. The patented transducer design on this model delivers accurate signal transfer with phenomenal dynamic range.

The AKG brand has served as a studio standard for two decades now. While there’s plenty of competition in this space, the K240 MKs are hard to beat. This is a pair of video editing headphones that won’t let you down.


  • Very comfortable, self-adjusting headphones
  • Brilliant signal transfer and dynamic range
  • Decent frequency response


  • The included cable is a little on the short side

5. Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

This is a pair of headphones for video editing with a number of other perks thrown in for good measure. While the drivers on the WH-1000XM3 deliver brilliant sonic performance, they also come with built-in Alexa support, gesture control and quick charging.

Sony’s QN1 chip on these headphones allows for “industry leading” noise cancellation, a welcome feature for any video editor. The high-resolution audio here is supported by Sony’s optimization technology. This makes for a reliable level of performance that’s suitable for home studio use.

While gesture and assistant controls may seem like something of a gimmick, they can be surprisingly useful in certain contexts. Once you’ve got to grips with the “flow” of the control system, you may notice your workflow improves significantly.

If you access reference audio while working, the voice commands on these headphones will also come in handy. While some sonic performance is always lost in a wireless model, the quality here is remarkably strong and can hold its own fairly well.

The 30-hour battery life and super-quick charging capabilities of the WH-1000XM3 make the convenience of a wireless setup even more inciting. If noise cancellation or convenience features matter to you, these headphones are well worth considering.


  • Convenient assistant features
  • Handy wireless design
  • Industry leading noise cancellation


  • The construction is a little heavy and hot during prolonged use

6. OneOdio Wired Over Ear Headphones

This is one of our absolute favorite options for those who need video editing headphones on a budget. Don’t let the price point of this offering from OneOdio fool you; these cans still deliver in most of the areas that count.

The bass in particular deserves praise on these headphones. The 50mm speakers allow for rich lows, clear vocals and crisp highs. This model isn’t quite rule of the roost when it comes to sonic performance.

For most editing contexts though, these headphones are worth far more than the asking price in our opinion. Other nice-to-have features include the built-in microphone, swivelling ear cups and foldable design.

Whether you’re DJing to a live audience or video editing at home, these headphones are designed to stay comfortable for hours at a time. The soft, large cups should be soft enough for even the pickiest of professionals.


  • Brilliant performance considering the price
  • Super comfortable


  • The noise isolation isn’t great

7. Sony MDR7506

These closed-ear headphones come with a 9.8ft cord and 40mm drivers for pure, detailed sound performance. The larger diaphragm on this model gives it a level of performance suitable for a wide variety of professional contexts.

With a frequency response of 10 Hz to 20 KHz and Sony’s decades of engineering experience, these cans have more than earnt their place on this list. If you’re looking for great video editing headphones, these are unlikely to disappoint.

Comfort and general ergonomics are reasonably well-considered here. While some users may have their gripes, they’re perfectly comfortable in our opinion. The foldable design reduces the headphones down to a surprisingly small footprint, making them a breeze to carry with you to the studio.

External noise is handled very well by the MDR7506. The closed-ear design keeps distractions and external distortions at bay.


  • Great noise isolation
  • Detailed highs
  • Nice long cord that’s curly


  • The durability of these headphones could use a little work

8. Focal Listen Professional

Neutral, accurate sonic performance is a hallmark of good editing headphones. The neutral performance on these Focal Listen Professionals is fantastic and uses no artificial enhancements on the lows, mids or highs.

They achieve this while remaining a brilliant pair of headphones of casual listening too! Durability is another area where these headphones really shine. The titanium drivers and silicone headband lining make for an ultra-comfortable pair of cans that should last even the clumsiest professional a long time.

It’s worth mentioning that these headphones are often described as some of the most comfortable available. The memory foam earcups are probably the cosiest we’ve seen. The closed-back design allows for a level of noise isolation that some professionals expect when editing.

As a pair of monitoring headphones for studio use, the Focal Listen Professional is hard to ignore.


  • Best-in-class comfort
  • Durable build quality
  • Fantastic neutral sound


  • Not the cheapest option on this list

How to Find the Best Headphones for Video Editing

When hunting for the right headphones, it’s important to understand some of the things to look out for. Even some of the most reputable brands like to throw a lot of marketing lingo around. We’ll run through some of the key features of a professional set of headphones below.

Sound Isolation

When editing, or working in any other context where sound accuracy is key, the sound isolation of your headphones is very important. Headphones with good isolation use premium, well-designed constructions that work to block out unwanted external sound.

The less noise you hear that isn’t the audio you’re working on, the better. Some headphones use active noise cancellation that takes things one step further. Whereas some units use passive systems to block external noise, some options actively cancel external sounds with onboard audio processing.

It’s worth noting that the methods used for cancellation can sometimes sacrifice some fidelity when editing.

Frequency Response

Frequency response describes the range of a unit. The range of a particular set of headphones determines the number of musical tones they’re capable of reproducing. It’s not uncommon to see frequency ranges given without clear information about the +dB values.

While the range (eg 20Hz-20KHz) alone is enough to get a general idea, it isn’t enough to communicate how to unit will actually sound. You need to know your +dB values for this.

Generally speaking, a frequency range of around 20Hz-20KHz + 2 or 3 dB offers the ‘flat’ frequency line that’s necessary for accurate audio editing.

Open vs Closed Back

In short, open headphones allow air to pass through the back of the ear cups. The advantage of this is that it makes for better audio accuracy in certain environments. Without pressure build-up or internal echoes, the editor is able to get a clearer idea of what they’re actually hearing.

That is, until they have to deal with external noise. Closed designs trade some audio accuracy for better external sound blocking. Consider your typical work environment and choose headphones accordingly.


Final Thoughts

As this page has demonstrated, there’s plenty of choice these days when it comes to high-quality editing headphones. Have a think about your own requirements and budget and choose a product from this list that fits.

Best Documentary Film Schools: 5 Amazing Options

The United States is full of excellent film and video schools, but finding a program that’s specific to documentary making can be a challenge. If documentary filmmaking is the goal, you’ll need to make sure you’ve picked the right film school.

On this page, we’ll run through some of the best options out there in 2021. We’ll start with the New York Film Academy, then continue to some places you may not have seen before. Don’t worry, though, every school on this list is well worth considering.

Best Documentary Film Schools

Whether you’re looking for documentary masters programs, media studies training, or a good cinematography course, finding the right school is everything. Documentary film and video can be a tough nut to crack, so it’s important to find somewhere with the resources and staff to support you.

Check out our recommendations below.

1. New York Film Academy

New York Film Academy Website – Here

The New York Film Academy is an excellent choice for those interested in documentary filmmaking. Their documentary filmmaking school offers the training, experiences, and resources you’ll need to improve your career prospects and boost your skills.

Expect excellent teaching and plenty of opportunities to practice what you’ve learned in the real world. You’ll be making that world-changing documentary before you know it!

new york film academy facade

New York Film Academy Admissions

Documentary filmmaking can be a competitive subject to study depending on the school you choose. This documentary film school offers rolling admissions, meaning you can apply year after year.

There’s no specific GPA requirements, but applicants are expected to have a good grasp of the English language and show a genuine interest in exploring the art form, in your case documentary filmmaking.

New York Film Academy Tuition

The specific tuition you should expect to pay will be determined by your chosen course. The masters program in documentary filmmaking will run you almost $15,000 per semester plus a $1500 equipment fee.

New York Film Academy Notable Alumni

Not only will you be studying in New York City, you’ll also be studying at a school with a ton of notable alumni. Past documentary studies students at this film school include Elaine Minionis, Todd Leatherman, and Laura Snow, all have whom have produced fantastic work and collaborated with countless names in the industry.

2. Maine Media Workshops and College

Documentary Filmmaking PageHere

Interested in documentary filmmaking? Want a film school with a ton of different options? This college probably has a program for you. From 4-week intensives to longer in-depth explorations, this school should have everything you need to master the art of the documentary film.

Maine Media Workshops and College Admissions

Getting into film school can be tough. Knowing as much as possible about each location’s admission requirements can help a great deal. For this option, the requirements are very flexible for their intensive and weeks-long workshops.

Generally, students just need to demonstrate an interest and some aptitude in the chosen topic. For their masters program and more in-depth documentary filmmaking courses, some form of bachelor’s degree and a formal application process is required.

Maine Media Workshops and College Tuition

This one is tricky to pin down thanks to the broad variety of different programs available. Intensive courses cost roughly a few thousand dollars. Those opting for the masters program should be prepared for over $50,000 plus other fees.

Maine Media Workshops and College Alumni

The Maine Media alumni network is made up of over 35,000 graduates and working professionals. It’s designed to support graduates for many years after leaving the college. With the right connections, your documentary career could be off to the best possible start.

3. Stanford University

Documentary Filmmaking PageHere

The Art and History department of Stanford University offers an exceptional documentary filmmaking course. Students learn everything they’ll need to pursue rewarding careers as documentary makers. You’ll be exploring both historical and critical frameworks to broaden your horizons.

Stanford University Admissions

For the documentary filmmaking masters, the following is expected of applicants:

  • A statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from post secondary institutions attended
  • A bachelor’s degree from a US university or globally accredited institution

Stanford University Documentary Filmmaking Tuition

The good news is that Stanford University has a reasonably generous scholarship scheme. The final amount you pay is determined by you and your family’s financial situation. On average, an academic year at Stanford costs around $75,000-$80,000 for students.

Stanford University Alumni

As a much larger institution than say the NYFA, Stanford has a formidable alumni network in the tens of thousands. It’s easy for graduates to stay plugged into this resource and use it throughout their working careers.

4. Berkley Graduate School of Journalism

Documentary Filmmaking PageHere

Documentary filmmaking can be a horrendously competitive career to get into. For this reason, it helps to choose a school that will give you an edge. For many, Berkley is the perfect option. With an incredible faculty, excellent equipment, and a career-focused master’s program, this one is worth considering

Berkley Graduate School of Journalism Admissions

If you have a relevant bachelor’s degree, letters of recommendation, and a well-written statement of purpose, you stand a great chance of being considered for this amazing documentary film course. Just remember that you may have to try for a couple years in a row.

Berkley Graduate School of Journalism Tuition

As with most US universities, final costs are subject to change and are influenced by your individual circumstances. Non-residents can expect costs of around $20,000 per semester. Residents enjoy a reduced fee of around $14,500.

Berkley Graduate School of Alumni

The reputation and track record of Berkley graduates far precedes them. There’s no golden ticket to a successful career in documentary filmmaking, but the alumni network of this college is unlikely to hinder your progress.

5. Duke University Center for Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary Filmmaking Page Here

This faculty at Duke University offers an MFA in the experimental and documentary arts. Students will leave with a deep understanding of the art form, its theory, and the practical skills required to produce high-quality work.

Duke University Admissions

Accomplished artists and students should consider this documentary masters course. You’ll need a relevant bachelor’s degree in something like filmmaking, theater, art, or art history. There’s also a formal applications process including letters of recommendation and statements of purpose.

Tuition at Duke University

If you’re considering this masters in documentary filmmaking, expect yearly costs of between $50,000 and $60,000. For low-income households and high-achieving students, a variety of scholarship and support programs are available.

It’s always worth checking these out if you’re unsure, they can save you tens of thousands of dollars if you’re eligible.

Documentary Masters Programs – Our Cheat Sheet

This section is just a brief overview of the masters programs in documentary filmmaking that we’ve discussed on this page. Scan it here to get a quick idea of what’s on offer.

New York Film Academy

  • Documentary Filmmaking Masters
  • Amazing reputation and staff
  • Plenty of notable documentary alumni
  • The New York film scene is very healthy

Maine Media College

  • General MFA with some relevant training for documentary filmmaking
  • Excellent resources and alumni network
  • Slightly more affordable tuition
  • Workshops and other courses also available

Stanford University

  • Great masters program for documentary film students
  • Prestigious university with a huge alumni network
  • Great balance of theory and practical skills
  • Wonderful campus

Berkley Graduate School of Journalism

  • Well-designed documentary film masters
  • Thorough applications process
  • Dedicated school for documentary filmmaking and related disciplines
  • Scholarship schemes are available

Duke University

  • Masters in documentary filmmaking and experimental arts
  • Holistic and critical frameworks related to the art form
  • Dedicated center within the university
  • Tuition is expensive but some support is available

How to Become a Documentary Filmmaker

Becoming a documentary filmmaking can be an obscure and competitive process. Everyone has their own unique journey to forging a career in this art form. Check out some of our brief tips below.

Get a Feel for Each School

Choosing a good school is essential in getting the training you need. New York Film Academy? Berkley? Somewhere else entirely? It will all come down to who you are and the type of work you’re hoping to make. Try to get a feel for as many school as possible before making your final applications.

The Love Comes First

A career in the arts and media can be incredibly challenging. It’s very important that you genuinely love the discipline and it brings you joy. Pursuing a documentary career for ‘fame’ or riches won’t get you very far. You need the passion to keep you going.

Persistence is Key

If you love what you do, you’ll want to keep doing it. To a certain extent, ‘making it’ as a filmmaker is a numbers game. You need to keep producing work and finding ways to connect with people. Don’t give up too quickly; Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Documentary Studies – Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found our recommendations on this page helpful. Remember that not everyone gets in on their first year of applications. You may have to keep trying for a while before you’re accepted. With a little resilience and the right mindset, you could be looking at an exciting new career.

Good luck!