The ABCs of Shooting Documentaries

The ABCs of Shooting Documentaries

Creating documentaries is a rewarding yet challenging thing to do. Whether this is your first time or are looking for new ideas to use on your new documentary, you could also be searching for ideas on lighting, videography tips, interview guidelines, or are simply figuring out the intricacies of writing a script, but documentary production can both be a wonderful and difficult experience.

Filmmaking, even videography, is a form of art, not just science. To make documentaries, you simply have to set your foot and start making, well, documentaries.

Here are a few basic guidelines to remember –

Present An Exciting Story

It is important that you present a story that you actually care about. If you present your subject matter in a lukewarm manner, then it will be received in a like manner so be sure to present a documentary that truly matters to you.

Bottom line is, you should be able to get the message of your video. If you do, then your audience will also get your message.

Take Time to Research

Learn everything that you can regarding the subject of your documentary. The storylines could be obvious at times, and in some moments, not. Dig for information and follow leads. You need to don a reporter’s hat at this point. Find pertinent facts and look for leads regarding storylines and appealing characters.

Plan, Plan, Plan

If you want to succeed, you must take time to plan. Begin by drafting an outline. Think of ways that you can present your story.

What structure are you going to use? What kind of style would captivate your audience? Are there photos or any existing footage that you can use to support your story? Or will it be better to shoot brand new frames?

Make a Shot List

Your Shot list is a record of your interviews and footage which you will need for the video. Just think of these as your necessary ingredients. Depending on how complex the subject is, you could create a budget, or not.

When interviewing, do not jot down a lot of names under the interview wish list. There could be a reason for interviewing 50 or more people but, generally, it is difficult for audiences to get to know under 10 characters so why even try to force more than that?

Begin Shooting

Is the documentary going to be published on the web, downloaded on mobile devices, or featured on theatres? Always remember how the video will be used or where it will be viewed. Knowing the answers to these will let you decide on the style of storytelling and the shooting styles.

Create a Script then Edit

As soon as the footage has been shot and the production elements have been set, it is the right time to write a script. After the script has been organized, begin putting together what you have created by editing.

You will need a computer and video editing software.

Check the Legal Issues

At the end of your production, check the copyright and other legal issues. After making sure that you are not stealing someone’s work, then and only then can you distribute your finished video.

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