For our theme we have been given observational,
this style of documentary simply observes either
people/place or event and the story is told by
mainly imagery and the audience will get a sense
of what the documentary is about with still very
little narrative. So usually there are no interviews
or voiceovers and it's just a case of the camera
man following around a person and filming what
they do / or have to say.
'Definition: Emphasizing the documentary
filmmaker's engagement in observing the
subject's daily life and circumstances and
documenting them with an unobtrusive camera.'
Some observational documentaries that have
been successful in the past are; Teen Cribs, 16
and pregnant, The Only way is Essex, Peter
Andre: The Next Chapter, Made in Chelsea and
The Only Way is Essex. All these
documentaries are of people showing the
camera something, instead of the camera man
interviewing someone to say something.
Popular Examples of
In the popular MTV documentary 'Teen Cribs'
you see many common conventions of
observational documentary film making like;
Hand held camera action, no interviews and
Another great example is The Only way is
Essex. By maintaining the observational mode,
the director allowed the subject to forget the
presence of the camera and behave more
The Only Way is Essex
We want a good balance of a fly-on-the wall
approach and giving some sort of information.
So tomorrow we do hope to get some speaking
from someone from the council but not making
it in a interview style more like they are just
telling us about the positives about War
Memorial Park and how proud they are of its
How are we going to
Techniques in our own
We are going to walk around War Memorial
Park and take some cinematic shots, to give
new mothers a feel for what the park is really
like, we want to show it in the most positive
way possible to make it look appealing to the
mothers as somewhere they could bring up
their own children safely. Then with permission
film some children at the park and observe on
how they use the park in everyday life.
Bill Nichols an American film critic gave his definition of an
observational documentary to be 'a window of the world'.
''Observational(objective) mode is best exemplified by the Cinema
Verite or DirectCinema
movement which emerged in the late 1950s/early 1960s-it attempted to
capture (as accurately as
possibly) objective reality with filmmaker as neutral observer''
The filmmakerremains hidden behind the camera, ignored by the
he/she neither changes norinfluencesthe actions/events being captured.
Since nothing isstaged forthe camera, the camera rushes about to keep
up with the action
resulting in rough,shaky, often amateur-looking footage.''
We hope to get some good cinematic shots of the War
Memorial park tomorrow and follow people round in
observational fashion, we will be at the park for a few
hours to get a sense of what the park is like in a day.
After visiting it today we are a lot more confident it will
fit in our documentary and look appealing to new
mothers. Observational filming is not really something
we can plan, we will see what we find on the day and
film it. Who knows what we will see/who we will speak
to. That's the beauty of creating an observational
documentary we are simply observing through a camera