DM160 PreProduction for Documentary Group Project

Course Description

This Filmmaking class is an introduction to documentary form, communications objectives, types of shots, and pre-production requirements.
Short clips from a number of documentaries will be analyzed to understand the basic types of shots and content that constitute most non-fiction films. Basics include: interviews, scene-based visuals and verité, B-roll, and archival materials. Other elements include voice-over (narration), graphics and animation, re-enactments, wild sound, and music. These are important considerations, but will have less focus than primary camera-based shooting.

Emphasis is on the ability to identify dramatic arcs and vivid characters who can drive the story. Furthermore, students will be strongly encouraged to produce scene-based visuals for their documentaries and use talking heads and narrations only as a secondary and additive layers. This will provide the greatest future utility in their skill-set.

Learning Outcomes

  • Equipment/Technical/Creative
  • Safe set up of camera, tripod, and monitor
  • Basic photographic controls of camera
  • Basic menu-driven controls of camera
  • Ideas of “proper” exposure
  • Ideas of white balance
  • Control of white balance through white card, presets, forcing, AWB
  • Solid state media recording
  • Sound recording
  • Camera care
  • Functions of bars and tone
  • Standardizing recording approach
  • Selection of formats for recording
  • Framing and composition
  • Subject research
  • Interviewing styles and techniques
  • Client/Talent/Interviewee relationship and etiquette
  • Release form and the right to privacy for non public figures