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Documentary Styles Examples Bill Nichols distinguishes 6 different types of documentaries: poetic, expository, observational, participatory, reflexive, and performative.
Poetic ModeExplores the complex editing within a documentary; juxtaposing and linking images,video clips and music etc.Koyannisqatsi 1982 Godfrey Reggiohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=546AUDxeHKs The documentary There is then a montage begins with a blind of video clips of buildings effect of the title. This and cities. Here again, is an example of poetic there is a link with mode because it uses videos and music, artificial music along suggesting this with the title to create documentary to be an an effective beginning. example of poetic mode. Another montage of the A mid shot video of a public is then used, women is then used with along with a slow a tube going past, giving motion pace and an effect of strong winds. dramatic music. This mix Likewise, the video is of videos, music and accompanied with editing creates an artificial music. example of poetic mode. Koyannisqatsi is a Hopi Indian term for ‘life out of balance’. The documentary explores the unseen world using images, videos and music effectively together.
Expository ModeExpository mode explores documentaries which include factual information andfigures, having interviews to back up the topic also.America’s Most Wantedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMCVH3wdU2w The documentary begins There is then a series with a presenter of secondary images introducing the topic and showing the person content. In this scene, the who is the focus of the director uses an documentary. The establishing shot of what images are displayed looks like a court house as a montage along to emphasise the with a voiceover. seriousness of the topic.There is then a interview Use of surveillance with the local police footage is then used. department to support This provides factualthe topic. There is also a footage which has notcaption at the bottom of been filmed orthe screen. His interview produced. The footage is also used a voiceover also provides back upon top of videos relevant on the topic. to what he is saying.
Observational Mode Observational mode tends to just observe, allowing viewers to reach to their own conclusions of the documentary. Big Brother http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3VCb6z__Pk To begin, there is a clip There is then footage of a personal talk from the garden of between a housemate housemates. These and ‘Big Brother’ where clips are not they are able to express produced or edited, themselves and chat they are clips of the privately from housemates natural housemates. There is behaviour within the also a caption beneath. house. The cameras a hidden The cameras are hidden throughout the house, to allow housemates to hidden behind mirrors and not act different due toplaced in corners of rooms. being aware constantly Cameras can zoom and they are being filmed. focus on certain This mean they will behousemates who are talking them natural selves. for example. Allowing cameras to observe their behaviour.
Participatory Mode The filmmaker tends to become the subject of the documentary. Actively engaging with the situation they are documenting asking questions and sharing experiences. Life of Michael Jackson By Bashir (2004) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl0uqobeVDM There is then a one to one The subject of the topic is talk with the filmmaker and introduced by a montage Michael Jackson, of videos of Michael introducing the Jackson. A voiceover of documentary type to be participatory. Michael the filmmaker/presenter Jackson is presented to be is used in the background the subject due to having also to introduce his more focus on him, the documentary. presenter having a side of the screen and back towards us. Clips of Bashir withMichael Jackson are shown Due to this mode, the in his own home. Here in presenter is able to his personal cinema. This speak to Michael Jackson shows how its on more of a personal participatory as the level, recording clips of presenter is getting information which are involved with the subject more personal andinstead of simply speaking emotional. about him.
Reflexive Mode “to aid the audience in their understanding of the process of construction in film so that they could develop a sophisticated and critical attitude.” A Man With a Movie Camera http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00ZciIC4JPw The documentary shows the construction and production You can then see the using videos of the director director using the camera filming and editing. By the reel and projector before audience seeing how a film his film screening in the is produced, allows critical documentary. This gives response as they are able to the audience an insight see ‘behind closed doors’ on to how complicated and his filming. thorough filming is. Here we are shown Here we are able to seefootage of the filmmaker the lens of the camera preparing the film reels in action whilst ahead of the screening. zooming in and out of a Being shown the shot. This if effective toproduction of the filming watch as we are able tois effective as it allows us see how the man uses to see the in depth the camera during making of the making his documentary. documentary.
Performative Mode Acknowledges the emotional and subjective aspects of a documentary and also addresses the audience emotionally. Tongues Untied http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2T0UdNaWlo&playnext=1&list=PL5B1A0AB28AD FDBDA&feature=results_main The documentary Here we are shown an shows a proud intimate video of a lifestyle of a black gay black gay couple, this man. The video clip is effective as it here used emphasises reaches out to be the power and open and show the strength in these audience how normal males standing up for this is and stop who they are. prejudice against gay black men.This image captures the Personal recollections of feeling and emotions Riggss life is expressed with an up close head through actors shot of the man in hiding/protecting focus. Accompanied themselves from the painwith this, is a voiceover in which is inflicted upon of this man speaking them. This along with the words of voiceover is effective as it encouragement and a explores emotionally into new equal life. the documentary.