Documentary Mode:Once we decided our topic we had to determine what documentary style we wished to usewhen filming our documentary. From our research we discovered four documentary styleswhich could possibly by applied to our documentary and as a result we began to discusswhether we should solely use one documentary mode or use a mixture of differentelements of documentary modes. The documentary modes we discovered from ourresearch were:• Poetic Mode• Expositional Mode• Participatory Mode• Observational Mode
Poetic Mode: What Is Poetic Mode?The poetic mode is a documentary theory where the filmmaker/director aims to create asubjective and personal view about the topic allowing the audience to develop to their ownindividual interpretation or conclusion about the topic. This theory allows the director tocreate an approach in order to make the target audience feel a particular way about the topic.Poetic mode chooses to disregard the traditional conventions of a documentary such asindividual characters in order to covey a particular tone or theme to the documentary. History Of Poetic Mode:Poetic mode was introduced in the early stages of documentaries and film making whichwould later go on to be further developed and reinforced in 1920’s by renown sovietfilmmakers including Lev Kuleshov, Dziga Vertov, and Vsevolod Pudovkin together knownas the Soviet montage theory. As mentioned this documentary theory was predominantlyused in 1920’s particularly in French cinema when it was bolstered by a group of Frenchfilmmakers known as French Impressionist. Documentaries today do not use poetic mode inits entire forum however there are still elements of the poetic mode used in somedocumentaries today.
Expositional Mode: nh What Is Expositional Mode:Expositional mode is the documentary mode that the audience can most identify because itis used primarily in nearly all of todays film and documentaries. Expositional mode usesverbal commentary to provide argumentative logic, this is also known as a narrator. Thepurpose of the narrator is to interpret and explain what is being shown on screen and isalso used to persuade, inform or educate the target audience concerning that topic. Thenarrator is depicted as being omniscience having all the knowledge regarding the topic,that is why this documentary mode is also as the ‘voice of God mode.’From our research on expositional mode documentaries we discovered that they tend touse a calm, collective and intelligent sounding narrator which makes the target audiencetrust and believe whatever they he/she is saying which adds to the omniscience aspect ofthe expositional mode style which in turn makes the documentary appear moreprofessional and believable which is highly likely to attract a larger percentage of thetarget audience and therefore generate a higher viewing rate.
Participatory Mode: What Is Participatory Mode:The participatory mode uses an unorthodox approach when producing a documentary asit involves direct engagement between the filmmaker and the subject by investigated. Byusing this documentary mode it creates a more personal attitude to be attributed to thedocumentary and it allows the filmmaker to have a sense of power on how the events aredepicted which therefore influences how the target audience interprets the topic, which issimilar to the poetic mode.The participatory mode is being used more frequency in documentaries today as it makesthe documentary have a greater sense of realism in addition, the majority of thefilmmakers engaging in the topic are well known which aids the documentary inreceiving greater rating because a larger percentage of their target audience wouldwatching the documentary. The participatory mode is used predominantly wheninvestigating important social, moral and legal topics and therefore it is evident that thesetopics relate to a more mature and adult target audience.
Examples Of Participatory Mode Filmmakers:Michael Moore Morgan Spurlock Louis Theroux Nick Broomfield Joris Iven
Observational Mode: What Is Observational Mode:Observational mode is unlike the previous documentary modes for example poetic mode as thatmode aims to create a subject theme in the documentary whereas observational mode merelyaims to observe the characters in the documentary and allow the audience to reach their ownconclusion. This documentary mode allows the characters in the documentary to have a greatersense of power over as the filmmakers, directors or producers are not permitted to interact withthem, they are only allowed to record whatever the characters do.From our research into observational mode we have discovered that it is a very popular with arange of audiences, because they either provide a source of information which educates themor it provides entertainment and therefore the audience receives a sense of enjoyment.Observational mode as mentioned earlier only records the characters within the documentaryand does not interact with them, however some elements of this documentary mode indicate thecharacters being recorded should not be informed they are recorded as they will psychology itwill lead to them behaving differently making the documentaries have incorrect data, thereforemany of the characters being recorder are not aware they are being recorder. In other instancesthe characters are aware they are being recorder but do not see the camera recording them andtherefore are not influenced to behave a particular because of the cameras.
History Of Observational Mode:Observational mode developed massively during the 1960’s due to the evolution and rise intechnology allowing for effective and efficient camera which could be transported far moreeasily to keep recording characters when they are on the move. Observational mode during the1930’s and 1940’s was not used in the mainstream of documentaries as their were too manyimplications such as it was extremely time consuming and expensive to hire extra staff andcrew assist in the transportation of the cameras to different locations.However, in the 1960’s technology began to develop and as a result cameras became moreadvanced which lead to more filmmakers wanting to explore this documentary mode.Although, cameras did evolve in the 1960’s observational mode only began to enter themainstream during the beginning of the 1990’s and up to the present. Below is an illustration ofhow cameras have developed since the 1960’s up to the present which as mentioned has aidedin the developed of the observational mode: 1960’s Camera 1990’s Camera 2000’s Camera