Shooting a Personal Documentary





Want to run a personal documentary with high impact? Although there is no rule book for making documentaries, there are other experiences that can guide you. In this article I will give you some tips on how to make a personal documentary of success. Some suggestions here are for the project in general and some are specific to shooting interviews and filming outdoors. 

What is a personal documentary? 

A "personal documentary" is a branch of the documentary film that focuses on a particular human subject, or sometimes a couple or a family. Commissioned by the object or a family member is a measure (measure) video biography that draws advantage of the immediacy and excitement of the film to tell personal and family history stories that would otherwise be counted on paper. 

Being "responsible" does not mean that the personal documentaries is pure and free of difficult questions flattery. Instead, to be successful must contain personal documentary objectivity and real dark to balance the light. In my experience, submitting themselves have no interest in the history of saccharin. But where mistakes or wrong directions taken were committed, a personal documentary will be an opportunity to explain the context and - preferably - understanding. Ultimately, however, the editorial control rests with the contracting party (the payment of) the personal documentary. 

Tip 1: Keep your front and center topic 

There are many twists to life, and many rabbit holes that a staff of well-meaning documentary could disappear down. But resist deflections, unless the rest of the progress of the material. 

By asking questions, trying to report events motivations and feelings. The subjects are usually very good at giving the "who, what and when." Filmmaker staff must work to get into the "why" and "why nots." 

By telling stories involving previous generations, try connecting the story, or tell the story from the perspective of someone who is still alive. Exhibition exciting even the most fascinating historical detail (for example, "Grandpa George Unwin once killed a Bengal tiger") means that it can be connected to someone or something tangible for the public (for example, "Old George Unwin was an adventurer like his little son Frank, who both joined the army when they were 18 ...") 

Tip 2: Go beyond the surface 

On a personal documentary , most of the information comes from matter and your friends, colleagues and family. But you should dig a little whenever possible, and not to ignore the documents. 

For example, I always do genealogical research on my subjects at the request or not. It is common to find errors in the collective memory of the family, and sometimes strange and surprising revelations come to light (such as child marriage, name changes and significant underestimation of age) . 

A personal documentary success 

A personal documentary selected must feel, humor and layers. It will focus on key "stations of the cross" in the life of the person, without being exhaustive (an impossible task on any device, at any time). It will also take into view. 

Depending on the weather, you can do historical research of the city or the state or the facts narrated or the period in question. Research journal can download interesting material (you must attach a library to have access to the best databases). And some filmmakers even make Freedom of Information Act aims to strengthen its research activities. 

Tip 3: Be patient 

Barry Hampe to "make documentary films and Reality" says a lot about the interview documentary is to run the treadmill through the camera expect and hope that the subject will say something interesting. 

It's a bit hard. But tell the truth good collection indeed: you can almost never force the pace. In general, careful, patient and open quests should let the story come to you. 

Tip 4: Shooting maintenance 

Chances are you'll be filming the two assemblies interview and location. 

When interviewing a subject, ask questions prepared, but also ask questions (and the film) who can tell us something about the person, such as your work, hobbies, location itself, etc. Also , capturing a number of blows about in the interview - general plans (subject to the interviewer, and even lighting, etc), to close ups (eg, size and above ) to the extreme (face only). Avoid moving the camera while the subject speaks. 

Try recording (full) name, age / date of birth (if they are to be relevant), place names, etc., either in writing and / or have been saying their name and explain that the band. Of all the mistakes you make on a personal documentary, go wrong or misspelled names seem to attract the most attention. 

After shooting a scene, ask if there are big plans to apply to the end, eg, hands, feet, objects. Consider POVs (point shots) - where you walk behind the subject and things of films (often an object or activity), from their point of view. 

Tip 5: filming on location 

Instead in a personal documentary, you can follow the subject while moving around an event or shooting places of personal importance or puts the person's past. 

For each location, capture 5 to 10 second "plan" - it's a long shot showing the entire building / town / room / whatever. This helps guide the viewer and gives you a bit of range. Avoid moving the camera during the filming of establishment, except a pot or a soft, slow zoom. 

Keep an eye on the signs and writing of any kind that are usually worth - the names, warnings, graffiti, ads ... 

And if you are shooting a fishing show or a movie, avoid fast pans and quick zooms. In general, it is best to carefully frame the first shot, steady shot, and then let the action in front of the lens - not significant horizontal movement or zooming. 

Bonus tip: Finding a rhythm 

When it comes time to change the personal documentary, trying to find a rhythm to the writing. 

Like a poem often have a rhyme scheme, a personal documentary also can often have a pattern (for example, Chapter 1 clip of the interview, the image and voice clip maintenance rather than injection and audio interviews, a clip of the interview, an interview and then repeat for Chapter 2 clip). Having established the material you want to use a satisfactory model, make sure to break the pattern from time to time. 

A personal documentary success 

A personal documentary selected must feel, humor and layers. It will focus on key "stations of the cross" in the life of the person, without being exhaustive (an impossible task on any device, at any time). It will also take into view. 

Adopt a vision? Chances are, if you make a personal documentary focuses on a life or a family, you've got to know the subject. A personal documentary is not a polemic, but it is possible to notice. You can express only by the facts of life you choose to cover, the title of the documentary or the chapter headings (if you create chapters name - it is certainly an option), or even - if you are very careful - to through the story. 

Some filmmakers are wary of narration, preferring to let the story unfold without "voice of God" telling us what to think. But used carefully, the voice can save time.

And never forget: have fun!

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