Review of documentary
We we were being asked to make a documentary with the help
of the chocolate films and the British museum. The
documentary had to be short and it had to be about the Lewis
Chessmen. We started the production around late November/
early December. The target audience for my documentary was
going to be 16+ I used that age and above because I think
people that age would not be interested in chess. We also
targeted tourists because 85% of the people that come to the
British museum are tourists. We wanted to make a
documentary that informed people that did not know what the
chess pieces were previously to chess piece experts.
We met with people from chocolate films on various occasions
for advice on how to make a documentary. We then took note
of what they were saying so that we could apply it to our
I believe that to make a documentary we needed some good
research on the roots, material and time of the Lewis chess
pieces. The pre-production process consisted of looking into
documentary conventions such as voice overs, archival footage
etc.; which I made a presentation about which is uploaded onto
my blog below this entry. It also consisted of planning and
researching about the Lewis Chessmen and getting more
information about the British museum we looked at the
background of the museum and who discovered it. We learnt
many new things during this experience.
In the research and planning I could have improved by
gathering more information about the British museum and the
Lewis Chessmen Pieces so I could have more knowledge on
the product I was doing a documentary on. I also could have
sorted out a time table with my group on what each person
would do to help plan our documentary.
In order to understand how to make a successful documentary
we watched previous documentaries that the talking objects
collective project produced and we looked at some
documentaries on YouTube such as the Tupac Shakur's one,
we learnt all the conventions and picked out what we could see
in this specific film such as interviews, titles and text and visual
coding. I learnt that some conventions of a documentary are
Archival footage which is known as stock footage, it 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.
To make a documentary we had to do research some primary
research with the British museum and some secondary
research by ourselves, we watched many documentaries to get
a good sense of what a documentary should contain.
We were making a short documentary we had to learn how to
get the point across very quickly and also entertain the
audience and also include different types of visual coding.
Talking heads is when the camera catches the facial
expression of the object.
Titles and text is used to quickly explain what you are looking at
without wasting time which makes it very effective.
When we were going to make our documentary we made a
storyboard showing the different scenes and shots that where
going to be in our documentary and it also contained what we
the context was and for how long. This is why we made the
drawing on the storyboard very accurate and detailed.
The production process
The strength and weakness of producing our footages was it
was hard for us to recorded some footages without it being
shaky because it didn’t have some equipment’s to use to make
the video camera stand still the strength would be us having
some great shots of the chess pieces.
We collected some great shots of the chess pieces close ups of
their faces and getting all the details that’s on them also we got
some shots of the museum itself inside where we showed
where the chess pieces where people walking around then we
got some shots outside the museum panning shots.
What went well is the way we came together as a team,
everyone knew what they needed to do, and had a job role we
all did well individually and as a team we could of used our time
wisely we spend more time looking for good shots that we
didn’t edited as much as needed.
The shot that’s worked well was panning shot we used during
some parts of the documentary and it looked really good.
Something that we could improve would be the lighting
because some parts of the documentary was dark and could of
look better if we invest that time in.
When we went to the museum we got so much positive
feedback from our audience in the museum teachers; we got
feedback saying how entertaining satisfying it was and the fact
we made it look like a real documentary the editing skills we
learnt from both our teachers and the chocolate films , and how
fun we made the game of chess look, we managed to give
information and educate people who don’t know about Lewis
chessmen in fun and very entertaining way.