Documentary filmmaking can be an arduous task. From research to editing, there are various aspects you must master if you hope for your documentary film to become successful.
Understanding different documentary styles is an ideal starting point, such as expository, observational, participatory, reflexive and poetic forms of documentary production.
1. Use First-Hand Accounts
First-person accounts can add credibility and authenticity to your documentary by showing what those who experienced an event thought and felt.
Documentaries can be an effective tool for raising awareness and inspiring positive change; using first-person accounts is an excellent way to do just that.
Make sure that the characters in the film are well developed, and that their stories are compelling enough to hold an audience’s interest if your documentary aims to inform or educate about a topic or cause. This is particularly vital if its purpose is educational in nature.
2. Keep Poetic Expression in Mind
Documentaries are an art form that demands creative thought and imagination to tell an engaging tale that captures audience attention. Filming with poetic expression in mind will allow your documentary to have maximum emotional impact and achieve its intended goal of engaging viewers.
Poetic documentaries first made their debut in the 1920s. Utilizing audio-visual associations and juxtapositions to convey meaning, this style of documentary utilizes poetic elements to elicit feelings in its audience rather than telling the truth directly.
3. Use Music to Match the Mood
Utilizing music that fits the mood when shooting a documentary can be immensely helpful in creating an enticing atmosphere and engaging your viewers emotionally. This approach may create convincing surroundings while telling a compelling narrative, drawing them in and drawing out emotions from within them.
Choose music that perfectly captures the mood is an important step when creating films. Many filmmakers turn to professional composers for assistance in producing sync music which perfectly compliments their visual presentation.
4. Use Close-Ups
Close-ups provide directors with an opportunity to showcase minute details that a long or medium shot cannot. Close-ups also help communicate important aspects such as character reactions in scenes.
Used effectively, close-up shots can add depth and create an emotional connection between storyteller and audience. But you should remember to mix other types of shots in with them; select those appropriate to your film project.
5. Use Multiple Cameras
Filming with multiple cameras is one of the best ways to tell a story. Not only will this allow you to capture different angles of each scene, but it will also allow for faster shooting speeds and more dynamic camera moves.
As part of filming a documentary, one of the initial steps you must take is identifying which shots you intend to capture. Planning ahead can save both time and money on set.
6. Use Editing Tools
When filming a documentary, editing tools are key in making the process simpler and ensuring all necessary information reaches viewers more quickly. A non-linear editor (NLE), digital audio workstation (DAW), and closed captioning software may all prove invaluable in helping the audience receive all necessary knowledge while saving you time in post production.
Simon Says’ assembly edit feature makes this easy by helping you extract the best stories from footage, collaborate effectively with collaborators and set editing goals. Furthermore, this tool also helps track down sequences that don’t contribute to overall story arc.