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Documentary Film – Cinema Techniques to Create an Impact

  • Posted on: October 21, 2018
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Proficient filmmakers who make documentary series are masters at creating films that influence the audience. The whole look and feel of movies are set to draw the viewer to the front row seat of the topic being covered. The films have both a visual and an audio enhancement that grabs the audience, along with narrations set at timed intervals to create a sense of drama. To be able to shoot movies that are artistic and beautiful, filmmakers need to use imagination and creativity to bring out the desired effect in the audience.

The first set of creating a documentary is to understand the purpose of the film. All documentaries are shot in a manner that conveys the story in plain and straightforward format to the viewer. Secondly, a documentary is usually perceived to be boring. The stigma attached to documentary filmmaking is false and audiences these days are maturing in their understanding of creative arts. With the right cinematic techniques, even the most traditional and boring story can be turned into a fantastic storyline.

Understanding the Storyline

To shoot a film that audiences will love the filmmaker should be careful during the pre-production phase, to study as much as possible about the story that will be conveyed to film. Whether the movie is about a corporate entity or a person is not a concern at this stage. A little more than a bird’s eye view of the story is all that is required. The places, events, people and situations that have led up to the point should be collated. A clear understanding helps in being focused on the ultimate goal.

A Comprehensive Shot List

Unlike a movie, you will have to provide scope to improve the storyline as you go, with a documentary. A shot list ahead of time will at least help you in planning the shots you already know about. The sound bites and visual effects of the movie can be captured precisely for the frames that you prepare for ahead of time. Include shots that have some wide-angle views of the scenario or even people. A shot list ahead of time will provide planning scope for some creative shots.

Imagine and Shoot to Script

Unlike journalistic shooting, documentaries can benefit from some planning ahead of time. When directing a documentary, you will be capturing moments and dialogues by subjects that are not hired talent. Therefore, this by itself adds authenticity to the shots. In your pre-production, when you research your subjects, you will be able to foresee how you want the shots taken for the particular role without having to try hard. Imagining the script ahead of time and shooting precisely the ideas you have in mind during production, ensures the best cinematic shots are captured.

Sound and Music

Audio adds a sense of drama and emotion to the movie that you shoot. While, the shots are some of the best, and the angles capture the essence of the story; the sound is everything. Putting in a lot of time into the production of sound and finding the right music is essential. The visuals and the sound when coupled together will provide the desired dramatic effect that many documentaries lack. Capture exciting sound bites that are not common with documentaries and use them instead of artificial sounds in the film.