Tag Archives: Documentary

Documentary and Narrative Video 17/03/15

During this session we had a go with the cameras in an attempt to shoot an observational cinema style video. This is when you record footage, but it doesn’t include a narrative, interviews, or much interaction with the camera at all.

Working in groups, we went round the college shooting footage.

This was a great experience, as I hadn’t used the cameras before, so gave me a better idea of how to work them. This meansĀ I will be more prepared for when I shoot footage for my documentary for this assignment.

Progress 16/03

During this session we discussed with Sally how far we had got with the documentary.

We then had a look at different techniques to give our documentary the style we are looking for. One way in which to do this is by using the idea of stop motion. This is when you cut out parts of the film to look like each part is a photograph.

Also, the background music helps to give the documentary the style you are looking for. We got the idea when Sally played a piece of video without the music, and it could have several different styles.

This taught us about the importance of style when creating our documentary.

We then started choosing which parts of footage that we would like from a video we found on YouTube. This is what we will use for our stop motion part of the documentary.

Documentary and Narrative Video 10/03

During this session we had a look at different lens that we can use for our documentaries.

We learnt that zoom lens have different lens so you can choose, and depending on which you choose you can vary from 18-50mm through to 70-300mm. These mean that you can get different shots, both wide and telescopic. Zoom lens, however, capture the light so your picture may not be as bright as you would like.

This means you need to use a high aperture, for example 1.2 F.

A prime lens has only one lens.

We then watched a documentary called Soldier girls, which was an observational film told completely by the speech in the film. It had no narrative or interviews. Another name for this is a fly in the wall.

Learning about the different lens was really useful, as I now know which to use for my documentary. It will also help me in other assignments and in the future if I need to create any other documentaries.

Documentary and Narrative Video- Story basics

A story is the telling of an event, which is crafted to the interest of audience members.

Key terms:

Exposition: information that grounds you in a story- who, where, when, why etc. It gives the audience the general tools they need.

Theme: general underlying subject, a recurring idea.

Arc: ways in which events of a story transform characters.

Plot and character: character driven is when actions emerge from the wants and needs of the characters. Plot driven is when characters are second to the events that make the plot.

Point of view: describes the perspective from which the story is told.

Telling detail: things such as ash trays etc.

Progress 09/03

After missing last week it was great to catch up and discuss how far we had come on our documentary.

We updated Sally on our progress, and then spoke about the shots we would like to shoot, to create a storyboard. During the session we then created a set of storyboards, which we can use as a rough idea of how we would like our documentary to turn out.

As well as this we updated our basecamp, and the Gantt chart that I created to help organise the project.

We will next meet on Thursday to talk about our next steps, including filming and setting up interviews

Meeting with camera stores

Today we had a meeting with Nathan from the camera stores to give us an idea of the equipment we will need to shoot our documentary.

He gave us some great advice, and advised us to use a camera for filming, instead of a video camera. So the camera we will use will be a Canon 60D. This camera is great for filming interviews, as it focuses on the individual and slightly blurs the background to put all focus on the person.

He also told us to use some dado lights for our interviews, to get the right lighting, as well as a tripod so our shots will be steady instead of shaky.

I found this really useful as I am not very knowledgeable in equipment. It will help us both in our group assignment, as well as separately, as I have a few assignments in which I need to use video.

Documentary and Narrative Video 03/02

During this lesson we reviewed our documentaries that we have been working on. We watched one of the group’s footage of what they had so far, and pointed out what we did and didn’t like.

This led to us speaking further about how the video cameras work. We spoke about telephoto lens and wide lens, about how when you zoom in and out the footage can become shaky. This can be solved by either using a tripod, or filming mainly with a 50mm lens, which is great for portraits and is the main lens used by documentary makers.

We also looked at what point of view our documentaries will be. When we watched Nicky and Lauren’s footage they had so far, they had shot theirs from a multiple perspective, which meant that it was from several people’s point of view, giving an omniscient narrative. Another way in which you can shoot footage is from a restricted point of view, following one person throughout the documentary. This gives limited perspective.

This was useful to learn, as it gave us different ideas of what we could do for our own documentaries. It also showed us the right way to film, which will be useful for me as I have several video assignments this semester.

It was also useful for us for in the future, if we ever need to film a documentary or a news package. It gave us ideas for different ways to capture the same subject, and gave us a lesson in different ways to film, either with a telephoto zoom or a wide lens.

Documentary and Narrative Video 24/02

In this session we focused on improving our editing skills.

Firstly, we spoke about different stages of editing a video, including producing rough cuts and smooth cuts. We recapped about what a frame was and how long each frame lasts.

We spent the rest of the session editing some footage which we had recorded last year at the beginning of the module. We followed the steps we were shown in order to create a sequence that suited our own narrative.

Working on our editing skills was great for me, as I am still not confident in this area. It refreshed my memory and I developed some new skills which will help me when editing my assignment.

Editing this footage will also be useful for several other assignments, as many include filming and editing our own documentary.

CATS 11/02

During this lecture we looked at further aspects of visual culture within the context of ethics.

What we focused on in particular was the relationship between the media and war, in particular regarding The Holocaust. Before watching a documentary on this, we discussed in groups different questions, such as whether it has become part of popular culture, and whether we need to see images such as those from The Holocaust to expose the atrocities that are against humanity.

The documentary we watched was quite shocking, and caused us to question our responses to the previous questions. It showed how important the media were in relation to recording evidence and helping to prosecute those involved.

Watching this documentary was important, both in a personal and professional way. Personally, it gave us an insight of the cruelty that happened in the concentration camps, which is arguably important to know.

Professionally, we may be exposed to this type of documentary frequently, and gave us a different perspective on the relationship between the media and war. It also showed us how important our work can be.

Afterwards we were given a worksheet to complete, including questions on how they created an argument, and the political and ethical stance of the film, which made us think in more detail about different aspect of the film.


Unbroken is another short documentary we were shown whilst in lesson. Made by other students, it gives us another idea of the sort of thing we could produce.

This mini-documentary begins with a presenter, who appears throughout. She is seen in front of a wall of graffiti, immediately providing an atmosphere which fits well with their theme.

Throughout they use different video skills such as time lapses and close up shots which make it more interesting to watch.

They focus the main part of their documentary on vox pops from other people, including experts in their subject. This gives their opinion from a range of different people, instead of just voicing their own opinions.

There are a lot of different shots in this documentary, which shows they have spent a lot of time working on it, which we need to take from, making sure we record a large amount of footage for us to work with.

Unbroken screenshot