Tips For Filming Your First Documentary
June 10, 2017
Filming your first documentary can be an exciting event, but there are also a lot of problems that you could face. It is important that you try and avoid as many of these problems as possible. This is why you should look at some practical tips that will help you make the best documentary you can.
Have A Script
Before you start shooting, you need to have some form of script or an idea of what you want your documentary to look like. This will ensure that you are prepared and organized when it comes to filing your documentary. When you create your script, you need to consider what you want to achieve with your documentary.
Try asking yourself what your vision for the documentary is and what the message that you want to get across is. All of these questions will help you determine how you should film the documentary and what you should be saying. It is recommended that you go through these questions every day before and after you shoot to ensure that you are always on the right track.
Shoot Close Together
A lot of first-time documentary makers do not realize how important it is to have shooting days close together. You should avoid shooting one day and then waiting a month before shooting again. When you shoot for 4 days in a row, your subjects will become used to this and their masks will disappear. When the people you are filming become used to the camera, this is when magic will happen.
Shoot As Much As You Can
While it is important that you have a script, you should still shoot as much as you can. Many documentary makers have found that when they shoot the most mundane things, they capture the most exciting scenes. The more footage you have, the higher your chances of getting the scene that you want.
Shoot as much as you can, will also help to get the subject used to the camera. Of course, you should be aware that there are times when the subject will need a break from the camera. You need to respect this and stop filming because if you continue to film you will be breaking their trust which could cause a number of other problems.
Go With The Flow
While it is important to have a script and some idea of what the next scene should be, you also need to be flexible. Do not get stuck on your script because this could cause your documentary to feel stiff and over staged. If something happens while you are filming, you need to go with the flow and adapt your scripting to this.
A lot of filmmakers have found that when something unexpected happens, it changes the entire flow of their documentary for the better. Flexibility is important because you are dealing with real life and not a carefully created script. Your viewers will also get a better sense of the subject when something comes up that they were not expecting.
One of the most important tips that you will find for documentary making is to have your characters or subjects go through a process in their life. While it is important to find out the history of the character, they should also have a new goal that they are working toward. This is how Hollywood works and it is what people have come to expect from any film.
When filming any character process, you need to identify the goal they wish to achieve and the conflicts that are stopping them. Your viewers will continue to watch your documentary because they want to see how the history of the character and the current conflicts they face will impact their ability to reach their goal. This will also help your viewers identify with the subject.
There are many tips that you need to know about when you film your first documentary. Some of the practical tips will help you engage with your subjects and create a personal film which is more appealing to viewers. Others tips will help you connect with your audience and ensure that they watch the entire film.