Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide


  1. 1. + The Documentary: a basic overview by ITF Jenny Kijowski
  2. 2. + documentary  Fact-based film that depicts actual events and persons. Documentaries can deal with scientific or educational topics, can be a form of journalism or social commentary, or can be a conduit of propaganda or personal experience.(from the Concise Dictionary at
  3. 3. + The 3 Stages  1) Pre-production: planning your film  2) Production: shooting your footage  3) Post-production: putting it all together
  4. 4. + Pre-production: the vision  What story do you want to tell?  Do some research to hone in on the particular angle you want to take.  Fact check, find historical documents, download images for use in your film (remember to document your citations!)  Watch some documentaries—get inspired!  Feed Me a Story by local filmmaker Teresa Loong  The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Ken Burns (extended preview on PBS)  Raising Adam Lanza by PBS’ Frontline series  What are your limitations and constraints?  Do you have the resources you need?  You can rent equipment from Macaulay:
  5. 5. + Pre-production: who, what, where, when & how  Who are the main players?  Set up interviews and get permissions  Have your questions ready and practice them on people.  What are the critical shots?  Where are the main places?  Scout your location(s) if possible.  When are you going to get it done?  What are your time constraints? Make a schedule.  How are you going to get it done?  Assign group members to particular tasks, such as director, primary videographer, interviewer, project manager, etc.
  6. 6. + Pre-production: Create a Storyboard brainstorm ideas, map out the flow of your story Image from
  7. 7. + Production and…action!  Shooting video  Take more footage than you think you will need  Don’t forget the value of “establishing shots” to situate your viewer  What details might be useful?  Conducting interviews  Have your prepared questions, but don’t be afraid to ad lib  Try to conduct your interviews in quiet places with natural lighting  Go for consistency  Taking photographs  Still images can add dimension and texture  Be mindful of production value  Unless skillfully used, footage taken in poorly lit, noisy or busy environments can detract from, rather than add to, your documentary
  8. 8. + Post-production: revisit your initial vision  Review/revise your storyboard  Does your footage conform to the story you initially set out to tell, or is there a different story that emerges?  Please be respectful of other people’s stories.  Does your footage have a focus?  Considerations of audience  Who is your intended audience? Who else might see it?  How will your film be interpreted?  What are the limitations on your control over reception?
  9. 9. + Post-production: the rough cut  Edit your footage in iMovie  Use your storyboard as a guide  Identify the most relevant clips and quotes  Edit your footage down to your desired time limit  Don’t use effects yet  Focus focus focus!
  10. 10. + Post-production: the final cut  Audio  Write and record your voiceover script(s)  add music & sound effects  Ensure that your audio levels are equalized throughout the film  Visual  Use transitions to help ensure smooth flow between clips &/or images  Add captions/text where necessary or desired  Avoid overusing special effects  Advanced iMovie tutorial  imovie-presentation/
  11. 11. + Additional Tips  Transcribe your interviews  Make the text available for download  Don’t create your film in a bubble  Have an outside set of eyes to critique your documentary  Copyright  Everything belongs to somebody. There are rules to using music, images and videos you find online. See my tips for preventing copyright infringement at videos/.  Citations  Professor Alterman has stated that all factual material must be fully sourced in footnote form, according to either Chicago Manual of Style or the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines.