In this unit we had to produce a documentary about the Lewis chessmen
involving the British museum and chocolate films. The target audience is for
the people that know a little bit about them and want more information.
When creating the documentary we focused on the conventions that other
professional documentaries have such as the death of Biggie and 2pac. This
documentary gave me a good idea of how to make a really good documentary.
To create our documentary we did some pre-production stuff; we did some of
our own research on the Lewis chessmen, which we could use to make it
professionally done. We created a Timeline of what info we wanted at what
point and what camera shots we wanted during the documentary. Our
timeline consisted of Camera shots of the building, Chess pieces and interviews
with the staff and some people of the public.
I took on various Preproduction tasks to help with making the documentary
because it would help a lot, its best to have a plan before making it so you have
more time to think of what decisions to make. The things that went well in our
documentary was the use of research, it helped with what questions we
wanted to ask the public as well as the curator and overall it got us in focus of
what we were learning about. In the research and planning we could have
improved our timeline; it wasn’t very accurate to the finalisation of the
documentary, it almost completely changed.
The footage we managed to capture turned out really well; we got some shots
of the exterior of the building, the interior; where the chess pieces are kept,
the main hall of the building, We got some close ups of the chess pieces,
caught the detail of the pieces. During our production sessions some bits went
well and some didn’t; a part that went well included the use Final cut pro, over
the days we got used to the programme and got good at it. The bad part was
getting our footage to do what we wanted, Trimming the clip to the right
length to get it to go with other clips etc, also creating the music and getting it
from garage band to final cut was hard to do. Sometimes the people in my
group didn’t come in which made parts hard to complete. There was a part
where the curator was talking about something and pictures where being
shown relating to what she was saying which put some professionalism into
it.There were some really cool shots that I was quite pleased with because I
used a technique called overlapping on a few shots which gave my
documentary a really cool look and fell to it.
The editing process started quite messily due to people not being in etc. But as
we got better at using Final cut the editing process became more relaxed and it
turned out to be very successful because people liked our documentary.
During the editing of the clips we decided to use the fading tool, which makes
different clips fade into each other, this caused our documentary to look
professional. When implementing images we chose to place them carefully; as
the curator was talking about where the Chess pieces were found we put a
picture up of where she was talking about. The music that we used was
created carefully in garage band, we wanted it to be something that would fit
perfectly with a olden style documentary, in the end we were happy with what
it turned out to be like.
The final product
The strengths of our finished product
The music, the fades, the shots all went together greatly, we even added some
humour into our documentary which made the audience chuckle which was a
The weaknesses of our finished product
Apart from the music being great, there were a few parts where the music cuts
off and restarts.
Compare Plan to Finished product
Our original idea turned out to be very different to our plan; they went from
basic ideas to advanced professional ideas, which caused our documentary to
come together as it did.
I think this was perfect for our target audience because it gave lots of
information, which was useful, we know this from people coming up to us and
telling us that they didn’t know that before.
Conventions we used
In our documentary we used conventions such as doing interviews with
experts and the public to give a variation of information; When we interview
one of the public and asked them what they think the chessmen are made out
of and they didn’t know, then we asked the expert and she told us what they
really are made of.
Technical qualities and style
I think our documentary looks very close to a professional documentary
because of the variety of techniques we used, Such as fades, overlapping audio
with pictures, giving lots of information and including interviews which brings
in other people’s opinions and something’s they might not know.
During the editing process we started off clueless but as we got to know how
to use final cut pro better, our documentary vastly improved within days, the
effects we used in the editing made it look very professional. The music playing
through the whole thing was quite hard to do considering the song stopped a
few times and we had to make sure it carried on for longer by added the same
song onto the timeline.
We got some feedback by some people in the audience, one liked the funny
aspect we added into it by asking a member of the public what they think the
chessmen are made out of and they didn’t know so then we asked the expert
and she told us what they really are made of. One liked the editing, how we
used the overlapping technique of woman talking while picture were being