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Shannon Edgington A2 Media

Documentary Genres
Direct Cinema: this is a style of documentary that was produced in 1960's as a result of availability of lightweight portable cameras and lightweight audio recording equipment. Also hand held lights and improved film stock which meant lights didnt need to be used at all. Film crews became more flexible and efficient, this made small independent groups able to make documentaries. There is several rules of direct cinema documentaries, these are: Documentaries are not to include interviews There were to be no rehearsals prior to the filming of the documentary No staged events or commentary No film lights No dissolve edits to be used Direct cinema leads to observational (fly on the wall) documentary which has remained a popular genre on the wall approach has had a significant influence on modern documentary production. Cinema- Verite: This is used to describe type of European film making in the early 1960s documentary techniques, hand held camera, interview techniques to convey life in a realistic way. This is very similar to direct cinema but Cinema Verite believed that the film makers opinions should be expressed. Cinema Verite also uses interviews whereas Direct Cinema didnt. Both Direct cinema and Cinema Verite are linked to movements in narrative cinema. They have had a massive effect on the contemporary television in areas such as Docusoaps, reality TV, video diaries. Institutional documentaries This kind of documentary uses direct cinema techniques to give a fly-on-the-wall insight to the day-to-day workings of hospitals, airports etc. Its a popular genre which is often informative, humorous and sometimes critical in the way in which these places of work are represented. Institutional documentaries have given way to popular docusoap genre in recent years. Docusoaps Docusoaps take ordinary, common experience and look at it through the eyes of the public. These types of documentaries are called docusoap's because they are similar to soap operas in terms of: Fast editing Multi-strand narratives Part of a series and often end on a cliff-hanger They are very popular types of documentaries, there common characteristics are: Emphasis on entertainment rather than instruction People get based around personalities who often 'play up' to the camera and talk directly to the camera. These characters often become celebrities themselves. Prominent guiding voice over often by an established actor. This documentary style also focus's on everyday lives and problems rather then underlining certain social issues. Selective editing within the documentary and some scenes are known to be set up a little Public Affairs Documentaries

Shannon Edgington A2 Media


The most traditional genre of documentary formats. Most commonly shown on Public Service Broad Casting channels, eg BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5. These types of documentaries normally investigate/explore current affairs issues. This genre of documentary draws attention to a perceived wrong and can have significant impact on the audience. Video diaries This genre of documentary descended from direct cinema; seen by audiences as reliable and truthful as the subject is filming themselves. An off shoot of this are the documentaries which use surveillance technology as entertainment, with audiences enjoying their inquisitive nature. Drama Documentaries These are documentaries exploring a social issue or drawing attention to a wrong doing of justice but they are scripted and acted dramas. Some filmed equivalents would be biog-pic. Theatrical Documentaries This genre is a filmed documentary released in the cinema. There has always been a market for this style of documentary about pop stars, sportsmen/sportswomen etc. However there is a new trend for polemical film documentaries which draws attention to a perceived wrong or social injustice and deliberately provocative and fronted by a charismatic narrator who does appear on the screen. This genre of documentary is a return to the concept of the 'Authored Documentary', where the piece is clearly scripted and presented as the view point of a particular individual. Mockumentaries The documentary format for comic effect, covering the genre or using the genre to cover an area of life.

TV Documentary: Codes and Conventions


Genre: the style of documentary which you can identify from the other codes and conventions. What elements of other styles of documentary have been incorporated into the piece? Representation: it expresses a clear point of view? Maybe it presents both point of views and leaves it up to the audience to come to their own conclusion? The ideology of the piece? Example what area of life does it explore? What attitude does it take towards these areas of life? The main social groups focused on by the piece? And how they are portrayed by the piece? How technical decisions made have affected the way groups are represented? Narrative structure Narrator: someone hidden or speaking directly into the camera. The choice of the narrator (male/female, style of voice) why this choice was made? How the narrator impacts on the message/ideology of the piece? Opening: the beginning that can last up to 5 minutes.. Is it an opening whereby the precise topic isn't made explicit? Opened with an interview maybe where the topic is or isn't mentioned? Is the nature of the subject to be explored made clear by the narrator in the opening section of the piece? The narrative followed at any stage i.e. a story told that is relevant to the issue explored? Use of music: what music is used within the documentary? What's the effect of the music selected? Where and why the music was selected? Audience: the people watching the documentary. The target audience for the documentary: class, age, gender, race etc. How the technical elements of the piece have been chosen or designed to appeal to that particular target audience.

Shannon Edgington A2 Media


Audience theory to the piece: Preferred Negotiated Oppositional readings Uses and Gratifications Theory: Surveillance, Diversion, Personal Identity, Personal Relationships. Reception Theory. Media Language: Technical decisions made to convey the meanings of the documentary (terminology). How the codes and conventions of the documentary genre have been used/developed? Refer to: Use of music and Mise-en-scene.

Examples of each genre of documentary.


Direct Cinema Genre: 'Don't Look Back' D A Pennebaker (1968) : 'Gimme Shelter' Albert and David Myles (1970) : Cinema- Verite 'A Day In The Death of Donny B' Carl Fick (1969): 'Billy The Kid' Jennifer Venditti (2007): Institutional Documentaries 'Hospital' Frederick Wiseman (1970): 'The Secret Life of the Airport' Gaby Hornsby (2011): Docusoap's 'Driving School' Francesca Joseph (1997): 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings' Jenny Popplewell (2010): Public Affairs Documentaries 'Panorama' (1953): 'World in Action' Tim Hewat (1963): Video Diaries 'Police, Camera, Action' (1994): 'Cops With Cameras' (2007): Drama Documentaries 'The Kings Speech' Tom Hooper (2010): 'Hillsborough' (1996): Theatrical Documentaries 'In Bed With Madonna' Alex Keshishian (1991): 'Super Size Me' Morgan Spurlock (2004): Mocumentaries 'Bruno' Larry Charles (2009): 'The Office' Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (2001):