Basic conventions of a documentary

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Basic conventions of a documentary

  1. 1. Basic Conventions of a Documentary
  2. 2. A-roll footage• A-roll footage involves interviews with people who are important to the subject. These are usually filmed with a camera on a tripod.• These interviews are usually framed using the ‘rule of thirds’• The interviewer is often not featured; questions are edited out.
  3. 3. • The subject’s face is always lit from the front, not from behind – never in front of a window.• Different interviews are filmed using different shot sizes and framed to provide variety (e.g. Medium shot, close up, head on right, ect)• Background mise en scene is organised to reflect the topic or personality of the subject.
  4. 4. • Blue screen/chroma-key may be used to put relevant images behind the subject.• Graphics showing the names of the subjects and other relevant information are positioned at the bottom of the screen.
  5. 5. Interview framing Mise en Scene relevant to topic Looking at the interviewerBluescreen or Chroma-key Appropriate Location not camera Rule of thirds Interviewee Graphics: Name of interviewee, Clothing to reflect job or job/relevance personality
  6. 6. B-roll footage• B-roll footage is used to supplement the main interview footage, edited together between interviews sometimes in a creative montage.• Cutaway shots are inserted into interviews sometimes to illustrate what the subject is talking about.
  7. 7. • Establishing shots may be used to identify locations where people live or where events are taking place.• Archive footage may be used to illustrate historical facts• Still photographs may be used to illustrate what is being spoken about – the camera may pan or zoom in/out on still photographs.
  8. 8. • Vox Pops – sound bites of interviews with ordinary people – sometimes filmed with hand-held camera.• A presenter who speaks to the camera and/or voice-over narration delivering a carefully written script – anchors the meaning of the visual images and guides the viewer’s understanding of the topic.
  9. 9. • Presenter/voice over narrator usually speaks with an authoritative voice.• A non-diegetic musical soundtrack may be used behind the voice over and may rise in volume when there is no voice over.

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