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Codes and Conventions documentary

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James Shenton

on 26 September 2017

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Transcript of Codes and Conventions documentary

Codes and Conventions of the Documentary Genre
A narrator is used to move the narrative along. They also are used to push and idea or a view on the topic forward. A narrator is important to hold the narrative together.
Digetic and Non-Digetic Sound is used to represent emotion or a topic.
Graphics can be used on screen to note down an interviewee's name and relation to the subject.
Archive footage is used to show a variety of views on a topic. A sound track may accompany the visuals. Chroma-key- used in interviews
Interviews are a key element of Documentaries, they bring the story together, usually Talking heads/Interviews with eyewitnesses, experts and persons related.
Conventional editing is used, which means in the final production only answers and no questions will be on screen
During interviews, the camera remains mainly static so the audience aren't distracted away from the interview by any movement.
Documentaries contain lots of cuts because there is such a variation of interviews, archive footage etc.
To communicate complicated information in a way for that the average viewer can understand
End credits are also used to credit everyone involved in the production of the Documentary
Interviews are mostly in close up or a medium close-up shot filmed on a left or right alignment.
The mise-en-scene of the documentary is always portrayed in the interview, e.g. a documentary about a band so a concert venue or studio may be the setting of the interview
An Establishing shot is used in most Documentaries to set the scene.
The gender of the narrator depends on the topic and target audience. The tone of voice, accent and vocabulary of the narrator all depends on who the programme is aimed at.
Interviewee looks at interviewer not the camera.
Eye line of the interviewee is in line with the top 3rd of frame.
Cutaways are edited into an interview to illustrate what the interviewee is talking about.
Graphics are normally just two lines and in a simple font not to distract the audience
Archive Footage
Graphics are used for a variety of reasons in a Documentary.
Digetic and Non-Digetic Sound
The Mise-en-scene has to be consistent throughout the Documentary, and can be portrayed through the interviews, archive footage and narrator.
What is a documentary?
Understand and explain what codes and conventions are in media texts

Identify codes and conventions of documentary programmes

Analyse Codes and Conventions and how they create meaning

Aims and Objectives
Codes are systems of signs that create meaning. Example: films: scripts, costumes, camera angles
What are Codes and Conventions?
Technical codes - camera work, editing and sound. How they are used to tell the story. Example: the 'meaning' created by slow motion shots is drama
Symbolic codes - show whats happening beneath the surface. Example: A characters actions will show you how they are feeling
Written & Audio - music, text, narrator and silence
Conventions are the accepted way of doing things due to its repeated use. Example: Cliffhangers in soaps, haunted houses in horror, love songs in romantic films
Constitute a broad category of nonfictional films and TV broadcasts intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record.
Helps give viewer historical knowledge easier and show past events which are important to subject matter
Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film
Sound whose source is neither visible on the screen nor has been implied to be present in the action
Narrator's commentary
sound effects which are added for the dramatic
effect or mood music
Non-diegetic sound is represented as coming from the a source outside story space
Voices of characters, sounds made by objects in the story or music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)
Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the film's world

Digetic sound can be either on screen or off screen depending on whatever its source is within the frame or outside the frame.
Natural lighting is often the main source of lighting
May often be a celebrity
Voice of God Narration - The term has developed to describe the use of voice-over in documentary films.
The voice is usually male, disembodied and omniscient.
This style has been rejected by documentary makers in recent times as it is considered as being patriarchal and manipulative.
Personal voice-over is often used e.g. Michael Moore films

Camerawork - handheld, multi/single camera, long edits.
Invent a news story, a sensible one
Create 3 open questions
Conduct 3 interviews with the public
Frame correctly and consistently
Remember mise en scene and lower thirds
Edit Interviews - No questions to be heard on screen
Where did the non digetic sound and digetic sound occur?
What is the intended effect on the viewer?
How did it make you feel?
In pairs discuss the following questions
How did the archive footage in these clips work?
Were they different in anyway?
Further reading - http://ttfilmfestival.com/ttff-news-and-features/the-use-of-archival-footage-in-documentary-filmmaking
What are the benefits of using archive footage?
What are the disadvantages?
In pairs discuss the following questions
Can you provide an example?
Further reading - http://filmsound.org/terminology/diegetic.htm
Call sheet to film
Full transcript