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Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries, and Nonfiction Storytelling

CREATE DOCUMENTARY FILMS

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Create Documentary Films, Video and Multimedia Third Edition – Digital and Print

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ARRIVAL OF A TRAIN – LOUIS LUMIER 1895

The origins of nonfiction or documentary filmmaking begin with still photographic documentation followed by the  Louis Lumiere’s invention of the Cinematographe, 1894 in France. In March of 1895 Lumiere shot a short film called Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory as a test of his camera. He made many other short nonfiction films, one of which,  Arrival of A Train when seen by the public, became widely known and is often considered his first publicly seen documentary film.

 

 

 

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OBJECTIVE REALITY  DEMO VIDEO

 Fact or fiction? Objective Reality tries to distinguish between facts that can be categorized as “true” or “False.”

 

 

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How to Write and Format a Documentary or Nonfiction Shooting or Editing Script

 

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CLIP EDITED SEQUENCE demonstrating the use of action footage and “B” roll coverage of an event shot with one camera.

 

 

A documentary film director’s first responsibility is to get  adequate coverage of the event being shot. Together with the camera operator they gather footage that will allow the editor to recreate the story in film time rather than real-time.

Excerpted from feature-length documentary Wrapped In Steel this clip has a variety of shots that tell the story in a “Direct Cinema” or “Cinema Verite” style, that is, without third-party narration. All audio is source recorded.

Wide shots of the room, along with CU’s of signs and participants establish the venue and the activity, a political rally in a United Steelworkers Union Hall in Chicago.

Action footage of people involved, potential speakers and others moving or greeting each other is necessary coverage that allows the editor to pace the clip. “B” roll inserts and cutaway shots add to story. Movement of people in the room leads toward the stage where the speakers podium is located.

Action leads up to key political candidate arriving and introducing himself at the podium.

 

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Harvest of Shame/ CBS Edward R Murrow and Fred Friendly 1955

Harvest of Shame, produced by David Lowe at CBS and narrated by Murrow was about migrant farm workers and was broadcast nationally in 1960. It was prevented from being distributed beyond its television broadcast because of its depiction of a problem in the United States.

 

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THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS – 1937 

Directed by Pare Lorenz, Produced by the US Department of Agriculture.  

A socially relevant documentary that played in theaters until it was deemed propaganda, because it was produced by a government agency.

 

 

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Studio A – Profile of A Disc Jockey

 

 

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Clip from the documentary Fired-up – Public Housing is My Home demonstrating the use of interviews in the film when inter-cut with other interviews on the same subject.  Interviews were transcribed, reviewed and selected segments written into editing script. The editing script acted as a guide to the actual editing of the scene.

 

 

 

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Interviews – Chapter 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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