Observational Filmmaking: A Unique Practice

David MacDougall*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Documentary and ethnographic filmmaking have spawned a wide range of practices, but until fairly recently most of them have relied on fictional techniques, with each scene being acted out for the camera. Observational filmmaking has diverged from this in its attempts to film spontaneous human behavior. Further, it emphasizes the role of the filmmaker as an observer, sharing this perspective with the audience. This short article discusses the qualities that make observational filmmaking unique, and how these are experienced by the filmmaker, with particular reference to the author’s filmmaking at an elite boys’ boarding school in India.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)452-458
    Number of pages7
    JournalVisual Anthropology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    Dive into the research topics of 'Observational Filmmaking: A Unique Practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this