The best model of how to make a video documentary involves a lot of hard work, but the rewards can be stellar. To start filming your first documentary, think through the following steps.
- Start with a great idea, something new or a new perspective on a well-known theme.
- Do your research. Collect facts, figures, documentation, any information you need to back up your documentary.
- Write a good script, or collaborate with an experienced writer. Consider hiring a freelance writer from Elance.com or Guru.com if you need help with writing.
- Create a shot list, or an outline of the script, to guide your shooting phase.
- Purchase or rent a camcorder, tripod, good microphones (boom, shotgun, lavaliere, etc.), and a video editing software suite.
- Contact all your interviewees and set up interviews.
- Stick to your outline. Record every shot in your shot list. Record extra footage whenever you can; get people talking. A good rule of thumb is to film three times the footage you expect to use in the final cut. Relay the story as it unfolds; don’t get caught up in random side shots, even if they’re cool, unless they move the story forward.
- Edit your footage into a sensible sequence. Try to stick within a 90-minute time frame or less.
- Team up with experienced editors or other documentary makers for assistance, or ask them for feedback on your final product.
- Write a treatment for your documentary, including a synopsis, and submit it to film distribution companies. companies for consideration.
Learning how to make a video documentary is an interesting and rewarding process, one that will serve you very well in a videography career.