Documentary Truth

Does the thought of taping yet another family birthday party bore you? Tired of weddings for your friends? Looking for a project that will appeal to a larger audience?

Why not produce your own documentary? There are at least a dozen good ideas right outside your front door-from local landmarks to controversial issues.

Documentaries let you express yourself through the lens of your camcorder. They don't cost much to produce, and you don't need much equipment, either. What you've got now is probably more than enough.

So seize the day and become a documentary videomaker; this guide can help get you started.

Documentary Defined

A documentary is a series of undirected, unrehearsed moments organized into a study of human behavior. The goal; to inform and move an audience about a subject.

Documentaries often celebrate individual achievement, whether posifive or negative. They highlight the unusual and rely on the unique. At the same time, they reveal the common threads that link us all.

There are two basic styles: direct cinema and cinema veriti.

In direct cinema the videomaker intrudes as little as possible with the equipment, to record genuine expressions and events. In essence, direct cinema aims to capture reality without affecting or directing it. This style requires rolling miles of tape and editing for hours to select the most revealing moments.

Cinema verite takes the opposite approach. Here the documentarian intentionally gets involved with the subjects. Some even have staged events for the camera that would not have taken place otherwise. The cinema verztdocumentarian creates or provokes situations hoping to expose truths that ordinarily lie hidden. When it works, this style requires less tape.

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    Michael
    Loehr
    Mon, 11/01/1993 - 12:00am