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DOCUMENTARY FILM

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Irene Acosta

on 23 November 2012

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Transcript of DOCUMENTARY FILM

DOCUMENTARY FILM A “Documentary” is a “filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition and mode of audience reception” that aims to document a certain aspect of reality. DEFINITION HISTORY Before the 1900s, productions were devoted to showing events through single-shot moments captured on film with very limited storytelling. Technical limitations restricted productions to very short durations. The Lumière brothers (Auguste and Louis) are authors to highlight from this early period. Some early productions were motivated by science: Eugène-Louis Doyen, a French surgeon filmed more than 60 operations to improve his technique Romanian professor Gheorghe Marinescu produced scientific films based on his own studies on nervous illnesses During the early 20th century: the promotion of early color motion processors such as Kinemacolor and Prizmacolor. Robert J. Flaherty´s Nanook of the North in 1922, which required of re-enactments and staging to recreate Inuit´s lifestyle. In the early 1920s : Dziga Vertov was paramount for the Soviet Kino-Pravda (cinematic truth). Presenting “life as it is” through the many possibilities of filmmaking. Through the 1940s, propaganda takes the lead: Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahsl, 1935), The first propagandistic series: Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" (1942–1944). Cinéma-vérité, through the 50s-70s and pioneered by Jean Rouch, was facilitated by technical developments such as light treatment, quiet and reliable cameras and portable sync sound. Often a subject is followed with the camera to capture personal reactions. Sit-down interviews are avoided and the shooting ratio is very high. The editing process gains importance. Primary and Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (Robert Drew) Don´t Look Back (D. A. Pennebaker) Nowadays modern documentaries take into account the audience´s expectations, raising the attention though a more appealing approach. Some of them have reached massive success such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Super Size Me, Earth and An Inconvenient Truth. STYLES MODES Poetic Mode Expository Mode Observational Mode Participatory Mode Reflexive Mode Performative Mode It tends toward subjective interpretations of its subject(s). It puts light on rhetoric and forsake traditional narrative content: individual characters and events remain undeveloped, in favor of creating a particular mood or tone. Ex: Regen (Joris Ivens 1929) Expositional mode collects footage that functions to strengthen the spoken narrative , which is a distinct innovation of this mode. It is characterized by the predominance of the retorical content. Observational documentaries tend to simply observe, allowing viewers to reach whatever conclusions they may deduce. The camera, while moving with subjects and staying in the action, remains mutely recording events as they happen. Editing processes utilize long takes and few cuts. Ex: Dont Look Back (D.A. Pennebaker1967) Filmmakers move from behind the camera and appear as subjects in their own work. the filmmaker clearly asserts a message. The most famous filmmaker currently working in this documentary mode is Michael Moore. In Spain we can mention Jordi Evole, with his program “Salvados”. The reflexive mode considers the quality of documentary itself, de-mystifying its processes and considering its implications. Ex: Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov 1929) The performative mode engages the filmmaker to the story but constructs subjective truths that are significant to the filmmaker him or herself. It tells the stories of filmmakers from marginalized social groups with their unique perspectives without having to argue the validity of their experiences. Ex: Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs 1990 ) Docudrama Mockumentary Ethnographic film Nature Documentary Travel Documentary Rockumentary Concert Film Docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. It focuses on the facts of the event, as they are known; Sometimes it uses literary and narrative techniques and some degree of license is permitted with minor historical facts for the in the act of enhancing the drama. Ex: "Nanook of the North" (1922) and the most recent "The 9/11 Commission Report" (2006). Mockumentary is a genre in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format. It is often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictitious setting, or to parody the documentary form itself. One of the best examples is "The Dark Side of the Moon" (William Karel 2002) It is a documentary film related to the methods of ethnology. It emerged in the 1960's as an important tool for research in the domain of visual anthropology, when filming human groups in society. Nanok of the North (1922) can also be considered as an ethnographic film. It is a documentary film about animals, plants, or other non-human living creatures, concentrating on film taken in their natural habitat. Such programs are most frequently made for television, but some are also made for the cinema, as the films “Oceans” (2009) or "The Leopard Son" (1996) It is a documentary film or television program that describes travel in general or tourist attractions in a non-commercial way. Travel channel is devoted to this kind of documentary. Ex: "Don't Tell My Mother". In Spain, we can mention the program "Un País en la Mochila" made by Labordeta. A concert film, is a type of documentary film whose subject is an extended live performance or concert by a musician. Ex: " The Song Remains the Same" (1976), showing scenes from three Led Zeppelin concerts filmed at Madison Square Garden in 1973 or "Woodstock" (1970), DOCUMENTARY JOURNALISM Broadcast News vs. Documentary Journalism Documentary journalism tend to tell more in-depth character-centered stories that provides a deeper understanding of an issue. It requires more work of the audience Broadcast news imply a two or three minutes stories that rely on a heavy narration. The reporter is the center of the story telling and the emotional narration, that does not only provide information, is in charge of the story (not the footage). The sensationalism can be also one of its characteristics. The main advantage of this kind of news is its short length Audience Core Audience vs General Audience They want details They find details boring They want to advance their knowledge They seek for entertainment They relate the topic to their lives They will never engage this topic again In certain cases is better to focus on a specific audience, called "core" rather than looking for a wide range of audience, that might end with the lost of these two types if the core believes that their needs as audience are not satisfied. First of all, a filmmaker should serve the people that is really interested in the topic and, once they are served, then look for a wider range. Six steps to get general audience: _Get into a great film festival. _Gain the attention of an influential media gatekeeper _Market yourself to people who have media time and space to fill well _Build wide one day at a time. _“Wide” people may like you more if you take up less of their time _Slow is not bad: people do not care about your technique when filming GENRES There are four basic genres Authoritative documentary It is informational and investigative and uses a strong and explicit rhetorical voice in narrating reality. Observational documentary It takes an ethnographic and open approach to reality and wants to show reality as it unfolds in a given setting. Dramatized documentary It is a complex and controversial documentary form because it takes a clear hypothetical approach to reality. “Wargame” (Peter Watkins) Poetic reflexive documentary It is characterized by a personal and aesthetic approach to reality. "Floden” (Jytte Rex) Importance of Social Media Social media has changed filmmaking in several ways and the most important one is that it has changed the way we interact with the communities of both audience and film. DOCUMENTARY AND TELEVISION It is essential for new generations of journalist to gain an approach to making important, honest, and fair television making non fiction television. Our job is to create the content flow (the story) and decide how best to visualize it. Mass media are the ones who create the public opinion and they are controlled by governments and big enterprises, so they serve their purposes. We are overflow by information, but paradoxically, we only watch what other people want us to watch. In reaction to this, experimental television has arose. Experimental Television creates content with its own operating system and uses creativity and experimentation to develop both the contents and the ways in which they present it. One example of experimental TV is: Neokinok Experimental TV Web video has been set up as the new television. But Web video isn't television. It's something else entirely. The broadcasters and cable companies that have for decades been able to be the exclusive distributor of video via closed one-way networks are now starting to feel that they are losing heir battle against Video Webs.
The two concepts that have permitted the spectacular growth of video webs are:
Revelation: they can see for the first time lots of things that people have done around the world.
Motivation: people are motivated to do special and shocking things because doing so, they will receive thousand of visits. Social networks have also change the way in which television advertising develops. Lots of companies have decided to change their marketing plan a center their efforts in social networks in order to increase sales. In that way, social networks are the new television: they are the new entity that tell us what we like and what we should by or consume. TV SERIES In United States and in the rest of the world, every year o every couple of years, the TV series used to be related to a similar topic in every season. That's it: If a TV series was related to a police department diary work, in the same season almost every TV series had the same topic.
Now we are in a different trend: diversity has come to our television and now we have more series and everyone related to a different topic. TV series are an important part of our history and I believe that analyze some of them would be very interesting. Let's make a deeper analysis of the spanish Tv series. LEGAL ETHICS Documentary filmmakers are finding themselves facing not only economic pressure but also close scrutiny for the ethics of their practices.
Filmmakers were drawn into criticism of their peers, while lacking common standards of reference.
Filmmakers also face pressure to inflate drama or character conflict and to create drama where no natural drama exist in order to gain audience and they may be encouraged to alter the story to pump up the excitement, the conflict, or the danger and it does not necessarily represents a lack of ethic.
There exists an invisible line that separates the ethic work from the non-ethic work but, who places this line? And where it should be placed? Copyright Law of the United States of America, that gives a restrictive definition of visual art: A “work of visual art” is — (1) a painting, drawing, print or sculpture, existing in a single copy, in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author, or, in the case of a sculpture, in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author; or
(2) a still photographic image produced for exhibition purposes only, existing in a single copy that is signed by the author, or in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author.
A work of visual art does not include — (A)(i) any poster, map, globe, chart, technical drawing, diagram, model, applied art, motion picture or other audiovisual work, book, magazine, newspaper, periodical, data base, electronic information service, electronic publication, or similar publication; (ii) any merchandising item or advertising, promotional, descriptive, covering, or packaging material or container; (iii) any portion or part of any item described in clause (i) or (ii); (B) any work made for hire; or (C) any work not subject to copyright protection under this title. The script of a documentary film is one of the most important parts of it. And another fundamental part of the documentary film working is the research work, as important as the shooting part: The heart of any successfully documentary is making a good research. You have to know as much as you can about the topic you are going to cover. A critical thought about the characters, stories, archive, locations and visual style is required in order to make a documentary as much accurate as possible. False statements as a consequence of the lack of knowledge will, for sure, discredit all the documentary, even if the rest of the information is completely truth. RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION In order to find good sources, is advisable to used the criteria formulated by Scott in 1990. The criteria used is: Meaning refers to whether the evidence is clear and comprehensible. Authenticity, that refers to whether the evidence is genuine and from impeccable sources or not Credibility, that refers to whether the evidence is free from error and distortion Representativeness refers to whether the documents consulted are representative of the totality of the relevant documents DOCUMENTARY AND ARTS Visual culture Is a field of study that generally includes some combination of cultural studies, art history, critical theory, philosophy, and anthropology, by focusing on aspects of culture that rely on visual images. Ex: John Berger (Ways of Seeing, 1972) and Laura Mulvey (Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, 1975)
The major work on this discipline has been done by W. J. T. Mitchell, particularly in his books "Iconology" and "Picture Theory" Visual sociology Visual sociology is an area of sociology concerned with the visual dimensions of social life. It tends to be concerned with photography and documentary filmmaking within a sociological context, but includes the study of all kinds of visual material and the visual social world.

There are three approaches to doing visual sociology:

_ Data collection using cameras and other recording technology

_ Studying visual data produced by cultures

_ Communication with images and media other than words (combination of the two previous approaches) Visual arts The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, modern visual arts (photography, video, and film making), design and crafts. Film making is one of the important parts of visual arts. Many artistic disciplines such as performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts also involve aspects of the visual arts. the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art are included also disciplines of visual arts. Animated documentary The animated documentary is a genre of film which combines the genres of animation and documentary. The first example is "The Sinking of the Lusitania", by Windsor McKay in 1918.
Since the 1920s, animation has been used in educational and social guidance films. An example of this is the Walt Disney's film "Our Friend the Atom" in 1957. An this is the use that we actually know of the animation documentaries, but modern documentaries are related to a very wide range of topics. The term docufiction was coined at the beginning of the 21st century. It is a genre which consists on a cinematographic combination of documentary and fiction. This term is also used in reference to literary journalism. Docudrama is often used indistinctively to docufiction. Nevertheless, drama and fiction should not be confused, and this term is more accurate to describe dramatization of facts within a documentary, for example.
Robert Flaherty (Moana 1926) and Jean Rouch (La Pyramide Humaine 1958) can be considered the precursors of this hybrid genre in the 20th century. The latter is also known for the development of a subgenre called ethnofiction in the field of anthropology. DOCUMENTARY AND CINEMA Docufiction Reality film or reality movie describes a genre of films that have resulted from reality television. It consists of a pre-determined situation which is staged or created, often with the use of non-professional actors, and then the "reality" of what happens is filmed. One of its characteristics is its low budget. Ex: "Chelsea Girls" by Andy Warhol (1996).
Reality films are by no means a documentary. Everything that happens is real, but you are only seeing what the producers want you to see, in the order they want you to see it. Jackass is a great modern example of a reality film. Reality film Political cinema It refers to political films which do not hide their political inclinations. This does not mean that they are necessarily pure propaganda. They ere different from the rest of documentaries because they freely show their political inclination, instead of hiding it, as the rest of documentaries do. Political cinema can be made by two forms: in a radical way, breaking with all the stereotypes or it can also be made following the steps of the mainstream media, in order to get more audience. The first political film is "The Birth of a Nation", made by D. W. Griffith in 1915.
One of the most important is the film "Triumph des Willens" (Triumph of the Will) of Leni Riefenstahl in 1935. In this case, as we have seen before, it is a propagandist film. DOCUMENTARY AND NEW MEDIA Documentary-makers are showing interest in the present moment and how new media tools can be used to initiate formation of new communities, conversations, and ways of being together. Conventions in documentary and genres are reshaped by emerging media environments, content, devices and uses for those devices.This makes documentary practice more dynamic. Emerging media are greatly affected by their political, economic, and cultural contexts. Now, we are witnesses of a technological revolution. New devices are created almost every month, and the same happen in the previous periods of documentary history. Every technological advance, supposed a revolution in the way of making documentary and the filmmakers had to adapt their knowledge to the new technique. New media is reshaping the way in which filmmakers do their job. And the new portable technology has made possible for an uncountable number of people to engage in citizen journalism and "documentary practices." Additionally, Web 2.0 platforms such as video and photo-sharing websites and blogs are enabling amateur "documentarians" to share and collaborate on content in ways never before possible. An example of the influence of new media in the documentary film is "Awesome; I F***n' Shot That!", directed by Adam Yauch, and which is a documentary of a Beastie Boys concert made by 50 fans who attended that concert. New media is changing every aspect f our lives, and of course, the journalism is one of these aspects affected. With the developing of social networks such as Facebook, an especially Twitter, everyone can be a journalist. Everyone who has a mobile device with a decent camera can make a live report and this has changed completely they way of making journalism. But, as in the real life,you have to be surrounded (you should follow) smart people that can give you a proper information and an interesting feedback.
New media developing allows individuals to develop and spread ideas about their passions, and very often this information is more reliable than the information published in a traditional media. With the development of new media there is a fight between printed media and social media arose.
A simple 140-character “tweet” or 2-minute YouTube video clip can inform the people of events in countries all over the world. Everyone can be an occasional journalist.
the main difference between the two forms of making journalism is that with social media there are no expectations for the person to be impartial, while in the printed media the writers are supposed to be as impartial as possible, since everybody knows that the complete objectivity does not exists.
With social media there is always people witness events and posting live tweets of the event.
But the main reason why there are still journalists that work in printed media and that have their degrees in journalism is that once journalists take the information at hand they should give validity to it through research and this is a function that amateurs journalists could not develop. In the Golden Age of TVE (second half of 60s), the most important series were produced in the U.S and they were: "Los Intocables", "Los Vengadores" and "El Fugitivo" In 1966 begun the regular emissions of the second channel of RTVE. The most important TV series broadcast in this channel were: "Cuentos y Leyendas", "Los Libros" and "Los Pintores del Prado".
Pedagogic TV series such as "Fiesta" and "Rito" were also emitted. In the Spanish Transition, a pedagogic politic of the new democratic values is developed through the TV series. Some examples of these series are: "Curro Jiménez, "Cañas y Barro", "Fortunata y Jacinta" and, the most important, "Verano azul" In the 80s, the TV series were devoted to an international quality. They could be TV series of social history (La Huella del Crimen), TV series as a reflection (Anillos de Oro) or they could be series about the determinant acts that create a favorable atmosphere for the Civil War (La Plaza del Diamante or La forja de un rebelde). In the last decade, RTVE is characterized for emitting self- produced TV series, such as "Cuéntame Como Pasó", "Águila Roja" or the most recent big production "Isabel" It was the first private station to go for own production of fiction sitcoms and achieved great success with the TV series "Farmacia de Guardia" (Antonio Mercero, 1991-1995), which became the most watched Tv series in Spain. Another TV series of that time were: "Lleno por favor", "Quien da la vez", "Manos a la obra" or "Compañeros". In 1992 Antena 3 bought the allowances to the Twentieth Century Fox and, in 1994 they started to emit "The Simpsons", the flagship TV series of the channel. In the period between 1998 and 2001, Antena 3 reaches high rates of audience in the broadcasting of the famous TV series "Manos a la Obra", which has a great success and quickly became another flagship of the channel In September 2003, the channel begin to emit "Aquí no hay quién viva", which soon reached a high rates of audience and became the second most watched TV series, behind "Farmacia de Guardia" The sitcom presented a building with 6 flats inhabited by hilarious characters that was constantly making jokes of every daily situation and trying to make their neighbors life as complicated as possible. Telecinco has always looked for the highest number of audience and it has succeeded thanks to TV series such as: ”Médico de Familia”, “Periodistas”, “El Comisario”,” Al salir de clase”, “Siete Vidas”, “Aída” or "Los Serrano". Another very important sitcom was "Los Hombres de Paco" The most recent success of Telecinco is "La Que Se Avecina", inspired in "Aqui no hay quien viva", even having an important part of its actors. Ethnofiction is a subgenre of the genre docufiction which merges documentary and fiction. The term ethnoficiton is used to designate ethnographical productions. The precursor of this current is Jean Rouch, and one of its main characteristics is that the camera shares and participates from the reality that is shown. Actors are regarded as a crucial tool during the ethnographic research.
Since the 60s several Portuguese productions constituted a reference for the genre, focusing mainly on the ethnic background of the colonialism (e.g. productions focused in Africa), and covering topics such as music, life conditions or sexual life (e.g. Brasil). "Acto da Primavera"by Manoel de Oliveira in 1962. Ethnofiction SOURCES Spanish Ministry of culture website: http://recursos.cnice.mec.es/media/television/bloque2/pag10.html Filmaffinity.com Every Aula Global Document http://rtvetecuenta.blogia.com/temas/historia-de-rtve.php Irene Acosta Plata
Group 30
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