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Earlier this week, the group got together and discussed our approach, in terms of documentary modes, to the project. Feeling unsure of my knowledge toward and memory of documentary modes, I decided to revisit some of my notes from last semester’s documentary studies subject.

Expository

  • Voiceovers addressed the audience directly
  • Voice-of-God narration
  • Use of archival footage – images, video footage, interviews
  • Filmmaker attempts to persuade audience of a particular point of view

Observational

  • No voiceovers
  • No interviews
  • Synchronous sound recording
  • Filmmaker’s presence is hidden
  • Handheld
  • Long takes dominate

Participatory

  • Filmmaker and documentary crew  intervenes and/or interacts with the subject
  • Filmmaker may include voiceovers to narrate the documentary
  • Includes interviews (on-the-run questioning)
  • Handheld
  • Long takes dominate
  • Use of archival material

Reflexive

  • Borrows techniques from fiction films
  • Use reenactments
  • Incorporates Dramatic music
  • Voiceovers are used to pose questions

Performative

  • Filmmaker and documentary crew interacts with subject
  • Filmmaker comments on the process of making the documentary
  • Discusses topics that has to do with identity rather than factual ones
  • No proper conclusion
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I would like to start this off by saying, filming a documentary is not as easy as it looks! I’ve always ignorantly assumed that filming a documentary was a simple task; that all you really need is an interesting subject to follow around and everything else will naturally fall into place. Boy was I wrong! 

The task was to film our classmates as they discussed their projects. Sounds easy enough…WRONG AGAIN! I let my indecisiveness get the better of me. I couldn’t decide who to focus on, when to do it. As a result, it felt like I was always a step behind. Someone would say something noteworthy and/or interesting and by the time I pan the camera towards them, they would have been done saying what they wanted to. So, not wanting to lose another important moment again, I keep the camera locked on that same person and, of course, someone from across the room says something I wish I had filmed! Needless to say, I underestimated the level of concentration needed of me.

Here are a few things this exercise has taught:

  1. Pay great attention to how the interview is progressing
  2. Be quick and prepared to make decisions as to whether to keep the camera locked on the subject(s), pan somewhere else, etc
  3. Attempt to predict the subject’s movements or where his/her train of thought would eventually lead to

 

As an extension of last week’s tute, this week our task was to film more cutaways to complement our previously shot and edited interview. So we brought our gear out on the streets, going handheld this time around. Apart from some shaky shots and not getting the exposure quite right for a couple of them, I’d say the filming went pretty well. Here’s the new and improved version of my interview exercise.

We’ve gotten into groups and brainstormed ideas for our upcoming project. I think we’ve gotten off to a pretty good start. Here is what we’ve got so far:

Drag Queen

  • Wednesday Bingo Night
  • What caused the change?
  • Personal struggles
  • What it’s like?
  • Before and after drag
  • The old vs. new generation of drag queens
  • What it takes to become a drag

Sweeney Todd (Student Production)

  • what happens behind the scenes?
  • Struggles producing a musical
  • Struggles being in the musical
  • The process of producing a musical

Bartender

  • What actually happens behind the bar?
  • Subject’s personal experiences
  • What’s it like being a bartender?

Coke Zero awakened the Bond in everyday commuters at the Antwerp Central Station in the September of 2012, as part of a campaign for Coca Cola’s official sponsorship of the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall. Upon purchasing a can of Coke from the vending machine, commuters are first challenged to a race against the clock across the train station and upon taking up the challenge presented to them, commuters are thrown into a world of meticulously orchestrated chaos – delayed by the janitor, stopped by the woman dressed in red, a basket of free falling oranges, etc. Successful completion of the task would entitle commuters to exclusive Skyfall tickets. According to an online article approximately 70 people participated in the event.

During the event, nearly 70 people ran for tickets, Hantson says, but the agency of course chose the best moments and the individuals most reflecting the Coke Zero brand for the final edit. With more than 3 million views on YouTube and more than 29,000 ‘likes’, the planning seems to have paid off.

What I liked most about the (flash mob) campaign, apart from the orchestrated obstacles, is its ability to induce curiosity and interactivity. Apart from that, while I liked the idea of the campaign, I thought it was just a tad bit cliche. Besides that, the thing that bothered me most about the event and/or video was that the whole stunt looked staged. All three participants featured in the video seemed to have gotten past the obstacles laid in front of them a little too comfortably. Thus challenging the authenticity of the participants. However, Geoffrey Hanston, the executive director of Duval Guillaume Modem, says otherwise.

the clip is the result of detailed orchestration, involving ten cameras, expert timing, security details on stand-by to intervene should anything go wrong and meticulous preparation – and no actors, at least not among the wannabe 007s, were used.

All in all, I liked the idea of the campaign and how it calls forward participation by playing on people’s curiosity and whether or not the participants or commuters were legitimately average Joes is another question all together.

The course is now well underway and this week, we conducted our first filming exercise. I’ve always been a fan of these hands-on exercises. They are super fun to do, and not to mention a great way to learn. We got into small groups of 3 or 4 and off we went. I was in charge of audio and Tamie was our subject for the day. I’ve played around with the audio equipment a couple of times prior to this but I’ve never actually tried recording anything with it. And so, getting it set up just right was slightly more challenging than I imagined it would be. But I managed to figure it out at the end of the day and that’s all that matters. Anyway, without further or due, here is the interview exercise all cut up and ready for viewing.