Documentaries and conventions

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  • 1. DOCUMENTARIES AND CONVENTIONS
  • 2.  A documentary film is one that presents information about factual topics.  These films have a variety of aims, to record important events and ideas; to inform viewers; to convey opinions and to create public interest.  A number of common conventions are used in documentaries to achieve these aims DOCUMENTARIES
  • 3.  Actuality is the term for film footage of real life events, places and people.  Unlike fictional films which use actors, scripted stories and artificial sets, actuality is a record of real events as they unfold. ACTUALITY
  • 4.  Uses rhetoric (factual information and opinions given by interviewees) and passes on information in order to persuade the viewer.  Narration is a distinct innovation of the expositional mode of documentary. Mainly as an omnipresent, omniscient, and objective voice over the footage.  Narration is used as a way of explaining and arguing about a documentary’s rhetorical content.  Dramatic segments of the documentary are specially chosen in order to catch the viewer’s attention. These shots are specifically positioned, such that the montage positions us to believe a certain theme presented by the documentary and this the documentary presents its view much more persuasively to the viewer EXPOSITION
  • 5.  The voice-over in a documentary is a commentary by the filmmaker, spoken while the camera is filming, or added to the soundtrack during the production.  Through this the filmmaker can speak directly to the viewer, offering information, explanations and opinions. VOICEOVERS
  • 6.  The interview is a common documentary technique. It allows people being filmed to speak directly about events, prompted by the questions asked by the filmmaker. An interview may take place on screen, or off screen, on a different set.  The interviewer will only ask questions that give a rationale that support the main theme presented within the documentary, and thus the viewer feels as though that this is the only view and the view they must believe correct.  Interviews on opposing sides of an issue may be shown to give the viewer comprehensive information about a topic.  Interviews with the general public are known as ‘vox pops’. These can be assumed to be read as ‘the views of the public’. INTERVIEWS
  • 7.  Used to authenticate views expressed in the documentary.  Sometimes they will disagree with the message of the documentary, although the film maker will try to ‘disprove’ them in some way. EXPERT INTERVIEWS
  • 8.  Archival, or stock footage, is material obtained from a film library or archive and inserted into a documentary to show historical events or to add detail without the need for additional filming. ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE
  • 9.  Often used in documentaries  Artificial scenes of an event which has been reconstructed and acted out on film based on information of the event. Reconstructions generally provide factual information, and give the viewer a sense of realism, as if the event really happened in front of them live.  Often indicate that the footage is not real by using techniques such as blurring, distortion, lighting effects, changes in camera level, and colour enhancement within the footage. RECONSTRUCTIONS