Documentary production


It is all over and done with! I am pleased to say ee now have a finished documentary. After our movie was shown on rough cut day last week, we got some really good feedback from the class, which helped us to really put all our effort to polish off the film this week. Having it shown on a big screen also made us see some flaws such as weird contrast in some scenes and our vox pop sequence being too long. We were really nervous about it but it went well in the end. This week we finished off all the paper work, added in credits and the music for the credits, added some questions in black screens (which as Miss Thompson pointed out, would make sense to the audience), finished some minor details and my favourite part, we added some more cut-aways in the conclusion which magically made the whole thing look so much better. Oh, the little things! IMovie has become so much easier to use with time and practice. The good thing is that we don’t have to worry about it anymore! Now we just have to endure the wait until we get our grades, which we are really wishing will be good. I am really proud of Nicola and I as a team, we finally did it!


Rough cuts tomorrow! This week we really rushed to put everything together, because we wanted to get as much feedback as possible. I know we’re still going to make changes to our movie after tomorrow, but it’s good to have something that actually looks like a documentary! The voiceovers, stills and music have all been coordinated, which takes a great stress off our shoulders. The songs we ended up using surprised us because they matched so well with everything else! Working with multiple layers of sound was difficult in the beginning but I think we pulled it off! I am now really happy with our overall structure, and I like the way our introduction (now with a quote) is fast-paced and somewhat original, hopefully it will grab our audience’s attention straight away. This has been such a long journey, and both Nicola and I are dedicated 100% to this project. I honestly could not have asked for a better work partner. Working in a pair has taught me a lot about delegating tasks and doing my part (and a little bit more!). We are always trying to take that extra step foward. I have never been so much into an internal this way before, it’s crazy! Hopefully all the stress and extra hours of work will be worth it in the end. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!


We are now officially done with filming! On saturday we recorded the voiceovers with Sofia, who was amazing as she had just the perfect voice and got everything right the first time. Nicola and I could just about have cried of happiness! I’m really glad that we have it all done because the voiceovers will really help shape our documentary. From now on, it’s all about editing and the details that will make our movie look polished. Now we will also be able to include more cut-aways of stills and moving images, which will match the voiceovers. Lately I also learnt that the little things really do make a huge difference, such as reducing background noises and adjusting the brightness of images. The rough cuts are next week and I have to say I am really excited!


Lots of progress this week! We finished a great part of our documentary which is editing our interviews. However, we’re having slight issues with the overall structure of our movie, because as Nicola pointed out, the last thought of our movie is what’s gonna make an impression on our audience. Our parts will become much easier to coordinate when we have our voiceovers done, which will happen by next week. This week I found out how to overlap pictures on IMovie, which means we could make captions for our interviewees using our magazine cutouts, which I think adds a nice touch. Even with our average IMovie skills, we are always looking for new ways to do the basic things. We’re also using transitions to connect the interviews and make the documentary flow. We’ve changed our storyboards a lot since the beginning of this production, which is good because they’re now much more detailed.


A couple weeks ago, Nicola and I had our first day of filming; we wanted to do a couple of vox pops in Botany. We barely knew how to work the camera and we soon realized that a tripod was not comfortable at all to carry around. However, our problems were far worse when we got kicked out of Botany for not having permission to film there, which brought us down because we were really looking foward to finish the vox pops. I consider that our first lesson in this process, that we should pick public locations and take time finding spots with good illumination and minimum background noise.

After a not-so-good start, we went to Howick to try filming the vox pops once again, which this time were done without problems, and we knew more about the camera so we could have a good framing of our interviewees. It was such a great feeling to wrap up the day with over 20 vox pops.

Now we’ve finished the two of our more formal interviews, which takes a great weight off our shoulders because we can focus on editing from now on. I am immensely thankful for all that Nicola has done; she organized the interviews very quickly and she is very efficient, always ready to get on with our work. We have been learning a lot about editing, since had never used IMovie before. The first trials were really frustrating, because we had no remote idea of how to operate the program. Our classmates helped us a lot, and now we’re able to add transitions, fast-foward clips, make cut-aways, etc.

Nicola also had the brilliant idea of including a stop-motion sequence using magazine cut-outs in our introduction, which took us a whole day to do but was really worth it. I moved the letters while Nicola took the pictures. Editing this part was a bit tricky because we had to make sure all images were in order, otherwise the whole thing would have turned into a mess. I’m really happy with the way it looks now, though.

When it comes to music, we had a slight delusion: our documentary is about pop culture and celebrities, so we thought that it would be logical to include mainstream music in our documentary. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, as we quickly learned, we would have to ask for the artists’ permissions and that would have been a big waste of time. We then turned to music under the creative commons licence, however it is a hard task to find songs that actually fit our theme; they have to be up-beat and either have non-distracting lyrics or no lyrics at all. We plan to use music as a background for our voiceovers and we really don’t want music to be a distraction. Nicola and I are working really hard on attaining depth, so our movie is actually meaningful.

We’ve had slight panic attacks with things such as dealing with IMovie, a shortage of time to do all we need to do, and concerns about the interviews and music. It is all a part of it, however, and I’m glad we’re learning as we go. I now believe that the number one quality a film maker should have is patience. Whenever I feel like freaking out, I count to 10 and take long breaths. Thankfully Nicola is always very positive and helpful, I honestly could not do this without her.



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