Codes And Conventions Of A Documentary


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Codes And Conventions Of A Documentary

  1. 1. • The voice over can be either , spoken while the camera is filming, or added to the soundtrack during the production.• The filmmaker can speak directly to the viewer, offering information, explanations and opinions.
  2. 2. • The interview allows people being filmed to speak directly about events asked by the interviewer• An interview can take place on screen or off screen on a different set.• Interviews allow the viewer to gain a sense of realism that the documentary makers views are mutually shared by another person or source making it more valid• Background footage may be used during an on screen interview to keep the viewer entertained, engaged and also provide evidence to back what the interviewer is saying or evidence to what the interviewee is saying.• Interviews on opposing sides of an issue may also be shown to give the viewer comprehensive information about a topic.
  3. 3. • A montage sequence conveys ideas visually by putting them in a specific order in the film.• Narrative montages involve the planning of sequence of shots used to indicate changes in time and place within a film.• Often used in documentaries are Ideational montages which link actions with words.• Positioning shots differently conveys different ideas to the viewer. For example if a montage containing a negative theme followed by a positive theme may give the viewer the idea that the positive them is the main theme of the montage.• Montages in documentaries are usually linked with words that different people within the documentary’s say.• Montages allow for a visually presented progression of ideas on the screen.
  4. 4. • Exposition will occur at the beginning of a documentary. It is important as It introduces the themes within the documentary and creates the viewer’s first impression and introduces them to the content.• Dramatic segments of the documentary are specially chosen in order to catch the viewer’s attention.• These shots are specifically positioned, so that the montage positions us to believe a certain theme presented by the documentary which enables the documentary to present its view much more persuasively to the viewer.
  5. 5. • Archival footage is material you get from places like librarys or archive in which you then use in your documentary to show historical events or to add detail without the need for extra filming.• This aids authenticity and adds to information the film maker may not be able to obtain themselves.
  6. 6. • These are artificial scenes of an event which has been reconstructed and acted out on film based on information of the event.• They generally provide factual information, and give the viewer a sense of realism, as if the event really happened in front of them live.• They often indicate that the footage is not real by using techniques such as blurring, distortion, lighting effects, changes in camera level, and colour enhancement within the footage.
  7. 7. • Documentaries will usually have some sort of sound track to back it. It is always relevant and well fitting for example in ‘Supersize Me’ the music played in the background (Queen – ‘fat bottom girls’)fits well with the topic of ‘Obesity’• The music will always have the correct sound level in order not to interfere just like in Supersize Me.
  8. 8. • Different camera angles are used within documentaries to display and connote different things for example in Supersize me during one of the vox pops, Spurlock chooses to have quite a low angle shot of the male speaking this gives a sense of realism which is then reinforced through the use of hand held camera. This gives evidence of Spurlock challenging the traditional codes and conventions of a documentary as vox pops would usually use a still camera involving a tripod.• A lot of camera pans (up,down,across) and zooms (in and out) will be used during documentaries to add to the realism and engage with the viewer. For example the camera may zoom in on an important piece of writing on a piece of paper within the documentary.
  9. 9. • A Lot of the editing with documentaries will be straight cuts purely because this makes it more believable for the viewer• By using straight cuts it also means that the viewer won’t be distracted
  10. 10. • All documentaries have a narrative structure and most are closed structures meaning they have a conclusion and the questions are answered at the end of it.
  11. 11. • Most documentaries tend to take either a participatory mode or expository mode with elements of the observational and per- formative mode within them leaving very few taking the reflexive mode as most documentary film makers especially ‘realists’ who use ‘direct cinema’ as they want to believe you are watching real life events and this isn’t fake.
  12. 12. When looking on several websites I came across this video on the BBC College of Journalism website. to/how-to-interview/ask-clear-simple-interview-questions• The video is off Jeremy Paxman explaining how to interview titled ‘How To Interview’ – He describes the key features of what to do when interviewing. This is useful to us as it will mean we can take on board what he is saying and should then be able to conduct good interviews when we start filming. Some of his tips were :-• Keep the questions simple, clear and direct• Ask simple questions that make no assumptions about the audience’s background knowledge if the subject is complicated.• And try to Illuminate answers
  13. 13. Whilst browsing the web I also decided to take notes on Parkinson’s interview with Noel Gallagher, v=TLvdXV0n7zg Whilst watching I noticed he used the following:-• Firstly He started off being quite flattering towards Noel to relax him and make him feel comfortable with answering further questions to come, this was clever as it meant that when more sensitive topics were raised such as his childhood he was willing to answer• Had done background research into Noel’s background• Allowed for silence after sensitive issues were raised in some of his questions, which also allowed for Noel to have a chance to reply, comment or ask questions• Used a lot of follow up questions By watching this it has allowed me to realise how to start an interview and how to build an interview up slowly in order to ask questions on a sensitive topic which will be useful for us as a group as our topic is ‘Stereotypes’ Which can be quite a sensitive topic to talk about to some As they feel negatively viewed because of their stereotype.