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Making Documentaries

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A short guide on crucial questions one should think of and answer while preparing and researching a documentary.

Veröffentlicht in: Bildung, Kunst & Fotos, Business
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Making Documentaries

  1. 1. +A short documentary crash course. Maria Leonida maria@karposontheweb.org www.karposontheweb.org
  2. 2. + What is it? Documentary can be a  multi-modal  strong  informative  expressive medium and
  3. 3. + Think of ALL possible ingredients  still images (photographs)  moving  sounds,  titles,  and image (video) music, speech effects MAINLY story, characters, rhythm
  4. 4. + What makes a documentary creative?  YOUR point of view!  what is your personal opinion?  what story can you tell better than others?  what would you like the audience to think, learn and feel?
  5. 5. + Step 1. How to start?  Be able to answer “what, were, who and why”
  6. 6. + Research  What is your theme?  What story will you say?  Which are locations? Who are characters? the  Answer these questions as SPECIFIC and PERSONALY as possible for the area or issue you are studying.  1 sentence for each question! the  Exercise 1
  7. 7. + Step 2. Do documentaries have a cast?  Watch and listen carefully to your subjects
  8. 8. + “Casting”  Are the subjects charming or interesting? Will you remember them when you go back home? Exercise 2   Did you learn something from them? What?  How are they connected to your story? Make a logbook of your characters, answering the previous questions.
  9. 9. + Step 3. Do locations matter?  Look at your locations: they “speak” too!
  10. 10. + “Scanning” sites for shooting o Look carefully and find interesting points of view. o Think of the time of the day that they look more interesting. o Find details that reveal your theme, e.g. a footpath sign could mean  broken trunks of trees could mean  Exercise 3  Find 5 important details that “tell their own story” which CAN become a still image with your camera. people are involved in this form of tourism/ recreation misuse, or building process or…
  11. 11. + Step 4. Does action matter?  What part of the action helps me understand better the issues I want to show?
  12. 12. + “Breaking down” activities   Think of the action happening in front of you (e.g., people walking, cars parking…) What exactly doing?Why? are  they Is it important for you?  Exercise 4 E.g if you see:  Think HOW you can shoot the actions involved I your theme. (point of view, distance, combination of shots) students listeningthen ask is it regular? who does it? people walking in groups  are they tourists, university students, is it normal or exceptional?
  13. 13. + Step 5. The role of sound  Sound is a language by itself: it may communicate fear, joy, tension, anxiety and many other feelings.
  14. 14. + Close your eyes and think  What sounds do your locations have? Write them down  Which have a dramaturgical power?  Which can be juxtaposed to the images and actions you have observed?
  15. 15. + Step 6. How to structure our story?  What connections can we make among the elements we have?
  16. 16. + Develop in at least 3-4 scenes  Put all your facts, events and characters in an imaginary line.  Think of an introduction, a development and a subversion.
  17. 17. + There are many ways to build a documentary story…    find the one that suits your subject and style, but… keep the connections among scenes develop each scene enough to be self contained
  18. 18. + Technical tips  Use tripods or somewhere to keep the camera stable when you can  Use external mikes for better quality of sound  Use headphones to control the kind of sound recorded  Make tests both for image and sound  Unload your material at the end of a shooting day and keep a backup.  Name the digital folders according to location, scene and date
  19. 19. + So…go ahead and try! CU soon Maria