CJ, The guys have all drop



The guys have all dropped valid points. To back up Earl’s point, if you want to make your documentary take what you have and go shoot the damn thing. Before you do that though consider these important points:

1) What is your primary distribution source going to be?

That means, are you planning to show your film in theaters, go straight to DVD/Blue Ray, On-Demand or direct to web? Knowing what your primary distribution source will be has a distinct influence on the production resources you should be looking for prior to getting started.

2) Is your project a short or a feature length production?

This is the big ticket decision point. Short films require far less resources than features do. They also require less coverage than features. Lastly the amount of time to secure footage in a ratio to cover your topic in a manner to make your Doc interesting is a lot smaller on a short compared to a feature.

3) Based on your project length, what resources do you already have access to?

Having as much of your own gear is a bonus because any money raised to make the film can go where it’s needed. I checked out your camera’s specs and you can shoot a documentary with it. Just be realistic about what your ultimate distribution goals are. If you stick with direct to web, on-demand (web) and direct to DVD (not Blu-Ray since your cam is not HD formatted), you’re good to go. Just be advised that you won’t get the same results with that rig than if you used a pro rig. Now that said, unless you’re doing a doc on a subject that requires serious beauty shots, most can get away with that gritty look only standard def with a consumer rig can provide.

4) Light your scenes. Even if you don’t have your own grip and gaffer’s truck, you don’t need them. There are numerous techniques from using a small dedicated light kit, to straight up ghetto workarounds including bounce cards and reflectors made from household items. There are numerous tips here at VM so you should sift through what’s available and take notes.

5) Plan your doc well. Don’t just run out and start shooting. You’ll end up wasting a lot of time and end up shelving your work because you don’t have the footage you need to tell the story.

Here are some links to help you get your head around what you’re planning on doing;

Cinema Verite’


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