Filming Documentaries

Jun 06, 2018 Written by Ayushi Documentary film making Institutes


Filming Documentaries

A documentary is any non-fiction video or film that informs viewers about a real-life topic, person, event, or issue. Some documentary films provide us with educational information about things that aren't well-known. Others tell detailed stories about important people and/or events. Still, others try to persuade the audience to agree with a certain viewpoint. Whatever subject you choose, the filming documentary can be a serious undertaking

Documentaries serve many purposes in life.  They can open our minds, help guide our future thoughts and actions, and can even change the world.  They encourage discussions about real life issues, educate people about unknown topics, spur new research, and inspire our youth. 

All in all, documentaries are a positive contribution to the film industry that filmmakers should be proud to share with their viewers.

Some novice filmmakers mistakenly believe that documentaries are easy to make, so long as you have an idea, some real-life camera footage, and a small audience to view the final product.  However, there is a lot more that goes into filming a powerful documentary and a solid education in filmmaking can make or break your documentary film career.

Today, we will take a look at the steps required for filming documentary from start to finish, along with some helpful tips to guide you through this sometimes complicated process.  From this, you will gain insight into why having a high-quality filmmaking education is so important to your career, especially if your passion lies in creating documentaries.

Following are some steps for filming documentary:-

  1. Choose a worthy topic.  Your documentary should be worthy of your audience's time (not to mention your own). Try instead to focus on subjects that are controversial or not-well-known, or try to shed new light on a person, issue, or event that the public has largely made its mind up about. In simplest terms, try to film things that are interesting and to avoid things that are boring or ordinary.
  2. Find a topic you are interested in that will also be engaging and enlightening for your audience. Try out your ideas in the verbal form first. Start telling your documentary idea in story form to your family and friends. Based on their reaction, you may do one of two things; scrap the idea completely or revise it and move forward.
  3. Give your film a purpose. Good documentaries almost always have a point - a good documentary may ask a question about the way our society operates, attempt to prove or disprove the validity of a certain point of view, or cast light on an event or phenomenon unknown to the general public in hopes of spurring action.
  4. Research your topic.  Watch films about your topic that already exist. Use the Internet and any library you have access to find information. Most importantly, talk to people who know about or are interested in your subject - the stories and details that these people provide will guide the plan for your film.
  5. Write an outline. This is very handy for project direction and possible funders. The outline also gives you an idea of the story, as your project must be story-driven with all the elements of a good story. In the outline process, you should also explore the conflict and drama that you will need to keep the story alive as it unspools.
  6. Shoot a Documentary