The term desktop documentary refers to a particular production method for audiovisual essays (or any other audiovisual format, for that matter). The expression was coined by video essayist Kevin B. Lee (and colleagues of his at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) for a novel way of making video essays they pioneered.


A desktop documentary does not procure its footage in the usual way (using a camera) but instead sources its images from the internet. Screen capturing software takes the place of the camera, turning the computer screen into both the method of production and of dissemination of such a documentary.


Watch examples of desktop documentaries from our best practices section.

Or head over to the Vimeo catalogue of Kevin B. Lee for a recording of his Desktop Cinema Presentation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.