Create a Shot List
This is a list of the footage and interviews you’ll need to make your movie. Think of it as your list of “ingredients. When you make the list of the people you intend to interview be sure what subject each interview will cover. Remember, too many characters in your film will confuse your viewers and will not enable them emotional contact with your heroes.
When to start Shooting
Start shooting if there is an event you think will not happen again (funeral, wedding, war etc.). Every good documentary involves a process that needs time to grow. It can be the narrative or it can be an emotional process. In all cases be patient and try not to rush it. Remember that when you begin filming you create an energetic momentum with yourself, your crew and your heroes. Sometimes you have a general idea about a documentary you would like to shoot or a character you want to follow, go and film him even if you are not planning to make the documentary right now. In five years when you finally decide to make the film the footage you shoot now can be used for a follow up.
How to shoot
Make sure when you’re shooting an event to capture a variety of angles including close-ups, medium shots and wide shots. Find original ways to shoot illustrations that will describe emotions when editing. Remember that nothing can replace a good sound bite said by your talents while a bad shoot could be replaced. Be keen about the sound. Surveys have shown that people watching TV leave programs with bad sound. When interviewing never stop the camera at the CUT, sometimes the best sound bites are said once the talent thinks the camera has stop shooting. Try not to move or zoom too much, the viewer’s eye doesn’t like it. You can do only it if you want to make your viewers uncomfortable.
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