Codes & Conventions


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Codes & Conventions

  1. 1. CODES & CONVENTIONS Documentaries
  2. 2. COMMON CODES & CONVENTIONS Modes of documentaries  Interviews  Background footage  Statistics  Sound  Editing  Framing of shots  Vox Pop 
  3. 3. MODE OF DOCUMENTARY - NICHOLLS  Expository Addresses view directly to advance an argument or recent history. Mainly Polemical (ones opinion).  Reflective The documentary frequently reflects on its own artificiality by drawing attention to it.  Participatory Film makers appear in their own work, interviewing and expressing views to the camera. This can be polemical.  Observational Events observed and recorded objectively with no authorial intrusion. Mainly Objective.  Performative A much more personal approach than participatory, individual film makers tell spectators their story. Often Polemical.
  4. 4. TV DOCUMENTARIES: STYLE AND INFLUENCES  Direct Cinema:  Institutional Documentary:  Docusoaps:  Public Affairs Documentary:
  5. 5. INTERVIEWS  There are two types of interviews these are formal and informal.  A formal interview is an interview that consists of questions designed to elicit specific facts attitudes and opinions. These interviews are mainly conducted with ‘experts’.  Informal interview usually put interviewers and candidates in more relaxed settings such as restaurants or coffee shops.
  6. 6. VOX POP  Vox pop is basically the voice of the people, the presenter would normally ask questions to members of the public so they can record their opinion. This is very useful as it also helps the spectator to trust the documentary because Vox pops (public’s opinion) are not biased
  7. 7. BACKGROUND/STOCK FOOTAGE It’s a footage that contains stock shots.  In documentaries they are used without particular production mind.  Most documentaries use this footage in the background so they can place information on top like statistics so the information stands out. 
  8. 8. STATISTICS Statistics are facts, so they do not lie. It can help documentaries convince the spectator to follow their arguments. A good example would be in ‘Super size me’ where the presenter uses stats to portray how unhealthy America is due to fast food’s such as Mc Donalds. This may allow the spectator to take the documentaries preferred reading which is what the producer would want.  Not all documentaries use statistics, e.g. ‘Touching the void’ but other documentaries such as ‘super size me’, it can be very significant. 
  9. 9. SOUND The sound in all documentaries must be extremely clear as the information needing to be said must be vivid so the spectator can hear.  Similarly to films, documentaries also use non diegetic music within certain scenes. Music is vital as it can help manipulate the spectator into creating certain responses that the producer would want, e.g. emotional response. 
  10. 10. EDITING In most documentaries, the editing is a lot different to Hollywood films, there’s less special effects, editing is less appealing but more realistic as documentaries tend to be realistic and relate to real life incidents.  Depending on the documentary the editing can vary, some can be fast quick cuts whereas other documentaries can do long takes which can create certain effects. E.g. quick cuts allow the spectator to be more focused as it tends to be less boring. 
  11. 11. FRAME AND CAMERA SHOTS Framing and Camera shots in documentary type films do vary but one aspect most have in common is the process and setting of interviews.  When setting an interview, documentaries take into account a lot of information. This can include the rule of third, lighting, and camera angle.  Most documentaries set the interview as a medium close up but may change the angle or shot within the interview so the spectator is not bored. 