FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Is it possible to make a documentary without any prior exp?





ainieas
I'm thinking of making a documentary but i've no prior experience. Absolute zero.So do you think it can be done with no experience whatsoever? Or should i take some kinda short term course in film making first? Thing is i don't have the time and i feel so strongly about the subject i just can't get it out of my mind. Also what kinda cam should i aim for.Would a Sony HD cam do? Anything else that i'd need. Plz rply!


Edit: Editing left to professionals.
LostOverThere
I wouldn't say you would need to know any more then the basics to film making (Shot Scale, Basic Lighting skills) to make your own documentary. Any decent Handy Cam will do, anything from say, 250USD. Some of the best brands include Sony, Canon, and Panasonic. Documentary's are relatively easy to edit, really you just need to cut some clips, I doubt you'll have any difficulty editing in Windows Movie Maker, it can do the job easily. BUT if you are willing to pay a bit, go check otu Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0, I have it, it is simple and very powerful.
Alaskacameradude
Do you need any experience to do a documentary? No, people do them all the time, they are called home movies. If you want to do a good one, that is a much, much differerent story. Can it be done? Maybe.....but the odds are not real good. I will never understand why people think they can just pick up a camera and computer and be a 'filmmaker' or 'video production company now open for business'. I went to school for a long time to learn to do it, and I still feel like I know nothing compared to those that are good. I suppose I could buy a pair of plier and a drill and open shop as a dentist, or maybe I could buy a new plane and start an airline....hmmmm. Hopefully you get my point. Making videos, or films is much like anything else, you need to have some training to do it right. But that training doesn't HAVE to be formal school. You can just do it yourself and learn from your mistakes. Just don't expect your first effort at a documentary to be award winning, or even very good. You have to crawl before you can run.
ainieas
You're right, i'm being impulsive, aiming for too much too soon. I think i'll opt for some kinda course first. If i'm going to do something better do it right. Its not a big scale venture though. I guess only a very private screening. Anyways thnks to both for replying.
GSIS
Of course it is.

How did experienced documentary makers make their first one? Wink

I'm sure it would be helpful to have some knowledge of the subject the documentary is about but that, of course, is why you need to do the research. If it's a subject you feel strongly about so much the better as you'll want to break through any technical or psychological barriers that get in your way. Be careful, though, to present a balanced view. Biased documentaries can and do get shot down in flames. Controversy is excellent as long as it can be backed up with hard facts.

If you have little or no research, camera (in front of or behind the lens) or interviewing experience you could start with mini documentaries - three to five minute 'news report' style presentations. This will help boost your confidence for the bigger stuff. You might even want to try selling these to local or national news stations or other appropriate TV/radio/web broadcasters.

Don't forget that if the research doesn't lead to a sellable video or radio broadcast item it might still earn some money in local or national newspapers, specialist magazines etc. Never throw good research away. Even if you end up selling the raw data to someone else for them to turn into broadcastable information it can start to build you a reputation as a researcher and bring in some money.

I think the only way to do something like this is to build a plan, then go for it.

Good luck.

Added - Don't let the training courses stop you from developing a style all of your own. It's individuality that turns you into a star documentary maker/interviewer - not being a clone from drama school! We'll never see the likes of Robin Day again, and Parky is retiring (this week, I think). Sad
videoguy
it is possible, the final result will probobly not be very good tho......

you will have 3 areas you should focus on.

1. Getting good shots. get shots of stuff you will need to cover up mistakes when you edit, like a store sign or a landscape. also, make sure to apply the rule of thirds when interviewing people

2. get good audio, buy even a cheap lavier for interviews, and mabye a RODE videomic for other shots.

3. story layout. your video should not be some random crap. lay out what you want to prove in the beginning, and how you will do it. think of it as like those annoying 5 paragraph essay. you have to have an intro and conclusion, which will be proven by your evindence, the body of your work.


* also, always keep the camera running, ahve much more tape than you need, and shoot everything. you get only one chance for most of what you will be filming

*watch other documentaries and copy some of their styles. watch how they mix together facts or pictures with music to intensify their point, how do they get at the viewers emotions. a good documetnary will make the audience really emotional at certain parts.....thats what YOU want to do...

and finally, show your unfinished work to people to get reactions. dont finish the whole thing first. show it to your friend or family memeber once you have even a couple minutes of the intro done, or any part, and see what they think.

hope this helps
Alaskacameradude
I didn't mean to come across as harsh and discouraging. Merely realistic. And I wasn't trying to say don't do it. I was trying to say, don't expect your first one to be award winning. I went to college for four years to learn to do this stuff, and did mini docs in school. When I look back at some of my work, frankly I shudder. But hey, learning and improving all the time is how you get better, if you don't do it, you won't get better at it. But I'd set realistic goals for my first few....maybe show the first couple to friends and family, get suggestions for improvement and such. I wouldn't be trying to enter my first effort at a documentary in Sundance or anything.
irishmark
Biggest rule in documentary film making - Make each shot count. Every shot should mean something and should support the subject matter.

IE get rid of that shot that looks beautifully framed and the lighting is great if it doesnt support what is being said.
videoguy
also, shoot alot of crowds, peope walking around, landscapes, buildings, ect, you could say "random stuff"

with alot of narration in a documentary, these will help ALOT in editing b/c you need stuff for people to watch while the narrator talks, text doesnt interest people nearly as much.
Alaskacameradude
ahhhh.....but you want the video being show to actually MATCH what the narrator is saying! If the narrator is talking about cruise ship ports, you don't want to see random crowds and people walking around. You want to see cruise ships.....leaving and coming in to port. So you actually have to do some research before you just start shooting random things. Things that are related to your documentary would be a good start Smile

The point is, your 'B-Roll' should be motivated, just like the rest of the shooting you do.
duskraider31
ainieas wrote:
I'm thinking of making a documentary but i've no prior experience. Absolute zero.So do you think it can be done with no experience whatsoever? Or should i take some kinda short term course in film making first? Thing is i don't have the time and i feel so strongly about the subject i just can't get it out of my mind. Also what kinda cam should i aim for.Would a Sony HD cam do? Anything else that i'd need. Plz rply!


Edit: Editing left to professionals.


Anything is possible when making a movie. If you know how to tell a story, all you need to know is the basic techniques of camera movement, editing and interviewing. Documentaries usually have lots of footage that you have shot and you just have to edit it together like a puzzle. If you don't have time, just carry a camera around with you all the time. Just a generic camera, but interview any body you see or if you have a couple minutes to spare, shoot some scenery or set up shots.
AnalogPlayers
I just wanted to comment on whoever said editing documentaries was easy. That's one of the biggest falsities I have heard in my life. Editing documentaries is by far one of the most difficult things in filmmaking. Taking 100+ hours of videos, and compacting it into 90 minutes, where every minute needs to be hard hitting enough to keep your audiences interest, that is not easy at all.
Alaskacameradude
Plus, the way most people shoot documentaries is to shoot everything that moves, which makes a TON of work for the editor to log all the video. I had a friend ask me to edit his documentary and he had FIVE HUNDRED hour long tapes. Do you know how long it would take just to log those tapes??? YIKES. Some people have no idea of the work that goes into these things.
Kelcey
I figure you can make one even if you don't have experience. Whether it'll be awesome the first time around or not is another question. It very well could be!
LostOverThere
True, when myself and a group of friends made our film "The Last Eagle", it took us 1hr to film 30 seconds of footage.
web_harman
this is a great topic......... even i wish to shoot a documentary but me being same with zero experience and knowledge........

well i guess i shall gain a lot mfrom this


but can anybody tell me particular tutorial available for filming tips...... not about adobe premeire
urbanbuddha
Everyone had to start from somewhere.... but I think there's a lot more than just simply picking up a camera and shooting.

Like a previous poster said, know the basics of shooting a film and have the necessary equipment. I also suggest to invest in an external microphone that the one on your camera. Since you won't be wowing people with the visuals using the latest CGI, a focus on having the best quality audio is almost a necessity.

But I think the most crucial step is the planning stages. Plan what you want to film, who are you filming it for and obtaining all the rights to what you have like the music (find public domains), any release sheets for your actors/subjects so that you won't get sued or that you keep all the revenue ;P, making sure you have the permit to film where you are and what not. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Of course, candid moments should not be planned as it may remove the uniqueness of a scene =)
ticktacktoe
Alaskacameradude wrote:
I didn't mean to come across as harsh and discouraging. Merely realistic. And I wasn't trying to say don't do it. I was trying to say, don't expect your first one to be award winning. I went to college for four years to learn to do this stuff, and did mini docs in school. When I look back at some of my work, frankly I shudder.

Hey, I look back at my first documentary, and even I still shudder at it! Thankfully that is not the case with my first short movie, which was quite a hit with my target audience.
irishmark wrote:
Biggest rule in documentary film making - Make each shot count. Every shot should mean something and should support the subject matter.

IE get rid of that shot that looks beautifully framed and the lighting is great if it doesnt support what is being said.

Yeah, that's probably one of the reasons I shudder at my first documentary, I didn't follow that rule much.


As for the OP, like the others said, it is possible to start out fresh, everyone does something for the first time in their lives once. Just make sure you read up as much as possible on film-making and documentary-making before taking even the first step, and I dont' see what should stop you from making your first documentary as someone who's never done this thing before. Although, as per your question, you can't really expect to make a documentary/movie if you don't even know how to shoot something in the first place. If that's what you mean by completely new, read up on it first.
gandalfthegrey
What is the topic of said documentary idea?
Whong
I'd say it is possible, but the quality of the document might not be so good... :S

It would be good to read some books before starting to make one and maybe watch different documents. Wink
Jaan
it would be possible, but you would need a very good idea, a bit of money (ie minimum for a good camera; ~$2000), and lots of hardcore budgeting..

even then however, if you don't have any prior directing/producing experience then it will be extremely difficult to make something worth watching. that should not deter you though - just keep at it and you might be in luck!
bjwok
i did it, it's not hard as long as you have a decent subject: in my case my failing relationship:

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=5VUQHyD_QiU

enjoy Smile
Robert_Redbeard
ainieas wrote:
I'm thinking of making a documentary but i've no prior experience. Absolute zero.So do you think it can be done with no experience whatsoever? Or should i take some kinda short term course in film making first? Thing is i don't have the time and i feel so strongly about the subject i just can't get it out of my mind. Also what kinda cam should i aim for.Would a Sony HD cam do? Anything else that i'd need. Plz rply!


Edit: Editing left to professionals.


Are you kidding? Have you seen some of the garbage they call documentaries? I don't think it takes much at all. Just a computer, camera and google. Do some searches and learn some things. Watch some of your favorites and think about what you like about them.

Everyone on youtube are doing a documentary of some kind. And a lot of them are better than the proffesional crap.
bumradio
You can use YouTube Tutorials. They are really good. I learn a lot of them. Search for "docuentary film making" i found a lot of usefull tutorials for it. Good Luck Very Happy
Nameless
People, please pay more attention. This topic was started FOUR YEARS AGO and only bumped by a spambot. >_>
Ghost Rider103
I've removed the original spam post that has bumped this topic.

But to everyone else reading and responding, yes this thread is old and the OP is probably long gone by now.

Perhaps someone could start a new thread about tips and ideas on how to make a documentary! Would be a great new thread starter. I'd do it myself, but I don't know much when it comes to filmmaking.

-close-
Related topics
Signature Space for Sale!
Frihost Forum Rules
Debian Sarge and ATI =P
climate change - hot topic (excuse the punn)
Account deleted??
hosting suspended?
Frihost the solution for me?
airbrush tutorial
The 4 FRIH$ Store
AJAX tutorial [2nd part now updated]
Paid posting services
Is god down with computers?
Jailbait
An open letter to the world (important stuff)
This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Frihost Forum Index -> Sports and Entertainment -> Filmmaking and Graphics

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.