This is the year documentary began when the first films were invented, this was invented
by the Lumiere brothers. The Lumieres created a camera that could only hold 50 feet
worth of film and their films were very short and unedited. These film documentaries
were called ‘Actualities’. Un Train Arrivee also 1895 their most famous film which simply
shows a train pulling into a station, however the audience where so shocked seeing a
moving photographs with so much detail.
Documentary that we know of today began
with Nanook of The North and this was made
by Robert Flaherty. The word documentary in
fact was invented by a man called John
Grierson to describe this style of film. The
film ‘Nanook’ was the first feature length
factual film and the first to use ‘ the creative
interpretation of reality’. This meant that in
the Nanook Flaherty had staged most of the
scenes for the camera in order to make the
film more dramatic and enjoyable for the
Grierson went on to head the GPO film unit in England he became a major
exponent of this poetic realist approach to documentary. Nightmail began
as an international film about the mail train, however the filming and
editing emphasised poetic elements of the film form, such as : movement,
rhythm, light and sound.
1950’s – 1960’s
The next major development of documentaries was called ‘Direct
Cinema’. It began in the Unites States Of America. Its aim was to
present social and political events directly, in an unmediated so people
thought that the footage is recorded exactly as the events happen,
without the use of a film maker.
Camera’s also developed in this time allowing them to be hand held,
this meant that the recording could be more spontaneous.
1950’s – 1960’s
Cinema Verite was dependent on some technical advances in order to exist: light, quiet and
reliable cameras, and portable sync sound. Other similar documentary traditions can be
seen, in a broader perspective way, as a reaction against studio-based film production. The
use of Cinema Verite techniques can make a film seems more ‘real’ and truthful to an
Cinema Verite is a minimalist style of film making that conveys the sense that the viewer is
given a direct view of what was actually happening in front of the camera without the
artifice usually incorporated in the film-making process.
Cinema Verite favours hand-held camera, natural lighting, location filming, and direct
Jean Rouch was an important documentarian working in this style in the 1960’s.
However Cinema Verite techniques have also been used by drama film makers.
From as early as the 1960’s
Mockumentaries were about as early as the 1960’s however wasn’t
really seen until the 1980’s. Mockumentaries use the typical codes and
conventions of documentaries and makes the audience think that it is
factual when it actually isn’t.
As it is so easy to fake theses codes and conventions of documentaries
it often makes its audiences question whether we can even trust the