Making & Analyzing Documentaries

Some questions to think about when analyzing a documentary-

based on content Bob Nowlan of University of Wisconsin:

– Does the director use unscripted, on location footage or planned, studio scenes? Or a mix of both?

– What does the director emphasize or de-emphasize to stress their point?

– Does the director use symbolic or metaphorical imagery in addition to, and/or instead of, literal imagery?

– Does the director use voice-over with imagery and/or direct address to the camera?

– Does the director use videography techniques, angle/distance/camera movement, to express or emphasize their point of view?

– Does the director use additional audio besides what is directly captured by the camera? To what effect?


A couple videos about making documentaries:

Filmmaking: How to Write a Documentary
How to: Make a Short Documentary
Documentary Filmmaking Tips From The Trenches

There are lots of other videos out there about this, and you are welcome to explore.

Both those examples have hosts, but notice in the first video he says this is common of most documentaries today. That’s a common current style, but its not the only one. It’s your choice, something to consider, but not something you have to do.

This entry was posted in DVaAP.

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