Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Know the Documentary Filmmaking

A work,such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration. Or in simpler terms: A nonfiction story told through moving images and sound.
Elements of Classic Documentary

  • Events are not staged to create a sense of fictitious reality - reality is captured by the filmmaker
  • Subjects represented are real, not fictitious "characters" or "protagonists".
  • We are made aware of the camera, of the act of filmmaking in the documentary.
  • Attempts to explicitly argue a point of fact.
  • Argument made in the film is supported using visual evidence
Elements of Fiction Film
  • Obscuring the camera to create "natural"flow of story-creating a believable reality using various film techniques.
  • Film centers on the actions of a protagonist
  • Story is about protagonist's struggle to pursue desire.
  • Story takes place in linear, continuous time that is consistent connected to a fictional reality - you don't feel "disjointed" sense of time
  • A closed ending with absolute, irreversible change.

Docos: Essential Elements
  • Images: people, places, things, text, etc.
  • Sound: narration, voices, music, sound effects, background sounds.("nats").
  • Edits: The integration of images and sound.
You strike a balance based on what you wish to communicate:
  • Fast edits and loud music to convey action.
  • Disjointed images and unusual pacing.
  • Straightforward editing for a journalistic feel
The Documentary Team
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • Researcher
  • Writer
  • Cameraperson
  • Editor
  • Talent
What We're Gonna Talk About
  • Story structure
  • Video technique
  • Scripting technique
  • Editing technique
Story Structure: 3 Parts
The Tease

  • Allows viewer to focus on what the film is about
  • Introduces one or more principal characters
  • Establishes setting/location critical to the story.
  • Presents a conflict/set up a problem/asks a question
  • Sets the tone for the film
  • Sucks in the audience - hopefully
The Body
  • The main plot; the meat of the story
  • Get to know the characters, what they're doing and why they're doing it.
  • See the action unfold
  • The body usually makes up 80 percentage of a documentary

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