Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

IB Film- Documentaries


Published on

A presentation based on the sub-genres of documentary to help IB Film students with their Independent Study.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

IB Film- Documentaries

  1. 1. The Documentary Realism
  2. 2. Realism <ul><li>When faced with a term of this nature, your first point of call is to check your glossary of terms, in the IBO syllabus. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The dominant mode of representation in TV, mainstream films and print. The term usually implies that the media text attempts to represent an external reality: a film or TV programme is realistic because it gives the impression that it accurately reproduces that part of the real world to which it is referring. However, the concept is much more complex than this brief definition. One suggestion is to think of realisms rather than realism.’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. Realism <ul><li>Realism first came to prominence as a literary movement in the 1800’s. In terms of Film Studies, it is with the advent of documentary realism that our focus really begins. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that this unit will develop your understanding of genres, help your independent study and improve your filmmaking/textual analysis skills. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Constructed Reality! <ul><li>This is a crucial aspect of the media. Any event which is reconstructed in the media may well attempt to make claims of authenticity (in other words, what you are watching is the real thing) but how do we know that what we are seeing (or hearing) is a truthful account? </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine that we were making a reality TV documentary about our class; many of us may decide to dress differently or act differently because you know you will be on TV. What about the editing role? There is a pressure on the production team to make the events interesting to the viewer (advertisers want to make sure there will be an audience for their products) therefore conflicts may well be emphasized. The editing may give a false sense of what goes on in our lessons, depending on the agenda of the production team. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no one documentary form; the genre is split into many sub-genres which each has different conventions. Most overlap but it is important to understand the subtle difference between those sub-genres. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Truth… <ul><li>Remember that documentary is traditionally associated with objectivity, authenticity and truthfulness. </li></ul><ul><li>The Father of the documentary form is generally considered to be Robert Flaherty, who made Nanook of the North (1922) </li></ul><ul><li>Kilborn & Izod (1997) group the documentary into five sub-genre forms but remember that these are often mixed together to form hybrids . </li></ul>
  6. 6. Your Analysis
  7. 7. The Expository Form <ul><li>Uses a narrator to address the audience </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes referred to as The Voice of God mode </li></ul><ul><li>We are expected to trust the narration as a definitive interpretation or anchor for the visual material </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the narration is shared with talking heads footage. Programmes such as Big Brother still use this approach today, </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Observational Documentary <ul><li>Has its roots in two types of cinema developed in the 1960s: direct cinema and cinema verite. Both of these were made possible by the introduction of lightweight 16mm cameras and portable sound-recording systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Allows visual material to tell its own story without a narrator. This creates the impression that events are unfolding naturally and that the audience are free to come to their own conclusions. </li></ul><ul><li>Direct cinema film-makers attempt to remain invisible, as observers only. However, the presence of the film crew is recognized with the subject asked to answer questions from the crew or to address the camera directly. (direct mode of address) </li></ul><ul><li>This mode of film-making was referred to as Fly on the Wall during the 1970’s and has gone on to spawn such forms as the docu-soap, (See Airport) which are supposed to be realistic depictions of people in their workplace. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Reflexive Documentary <ul><li>A very sophisticated documentary style which reflects on the production process itself. This is achieved through explicit acknowledgement of the camera and crew through deliberate juxtaposition of contradictory viewpoints or ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>The satirist Chris Morris was one of the first to experiment with this form in Brass Eye. (1997) </li></ul><ul><li>The mockumentary form has risen from this basic idea, with programmes such as The Office or Best At Show. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The First-Person Documentary <ul><li>A product of the video age…the subject is able to set the camera up themselves and choose what materials is shot and when it occurs. The subject may or may not have control over the editing of the material. </li></ul><ul><li>This mode of documentary is often known as the Video Diary. Note that programmes such Castaway, Survivor or Big Brother all use some video dairy alongside fly-on the wall expository modes and therefore operate as hybrids. </li></ul><ul><li>The age of the blog very much relates to this mode…as video editing equipment comes down in price, it is easier and easier to make your own production. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Drama-Documentary <ul><li>This is one of the most controversial areas of documentary and one of the most difficult to define. </li></ul><ul><li>The mode generally involves the dramatic reconstruction of real events using actors but employing the form of fictional film/TV. </li></ul><ul><li>Crime programmes often employ this technique, such as Crimewatch UK, where short sequences are reconstructed. </li></ul><ul><li>The problem with this form is that the finished product is only a depiction or version of events; not necessarily the only one. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Audience <ul><li>Debates of realism which concentrate on whether a text is realistic or not are likely to be fruitless, since a group of people are unlikely to agree on what constitutes the ‘real.’ </li></ul><ul><li>It is much better in Film Studies to analyse how a text attempts to create realism and whether or not this is successful. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Verisimilitude <ul><li>The word verisimilitude is used in Film Studies to describe the imitation of reality in the media. This can be achieved in a number of ways through the construction of mise en scene. </li></ul><ul><li>Unsteady, handheld camera shots </li></ul><ul><li>Cramped framing…the rule of thirds is often ignored entirely! </li></ul><ul><li>The camera often appears surprised by the action, causing whip-pans </li></ul><ul><li>Natural lighting is employed </li></ul><ul><li>Natural or ambient sound is used…you have to be careful here! It’s no good if the audience cannot hear anything because the background diegetic sound is overpowering. </li></ul><ul><li>Editing & narrative structure varies from one sub-genre to another. </li></ul>