Planning A Mini Documentary


Whenever we are filming something for fun, whether it’s of a pet or a child, we are never really concerned about lighting in the shot. However, when we are filming a piece professionally, the lighting is very crucial to a shot and it can help tell the audience what they should be feeling at any given moment. There are different types of lighting as well whether the subject is outside or inside. While shooting outdoors is great one must be careful because the sun can overshadow the subject making it very difficult to see them. In fact in The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video, the author talks about how adding reflectors and fill lights can help this situation by adding more light onto the subject to remove those harsh shadows. Then whenever people are shooting inside they can use focusing quartz light, softlights, or broads. There may even come a time where more light is needed to properly light the scene which is where background lights, key lights, and fill lights come into play in order for the shot to be properly lit and so the audience can understand what’s going on. Multiple lights, in different and appropriate combinations, can even be used to help light the shot depending on the location and access to light already in the shot.

Once everything has been discussed and decided on, it’s time to shoot the scene or sequence. However, a plan must be established and written/typed out first. This plan can consist of a script, an outline of what the video visuals will be (noting the type of shot- wide, medium, close up, etc.) and paired to what audio, storyboards, or anything else that helps with staying focused and to keep the shots on track. Whenever a plan is not done before hand, and people go ahead straight to filming, then shots can be missed, missed opportunities can happen, and dialogue can be missed it’s important to do it in a specific location and not in post. So many problems can happen without a plan.


Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for a King Documentary:

*It’s not the whole documentary special*

This documentary special about Chadwick Boseman and the legacy he left was very emotional and very well produced. The world was extremely shocked when the news broke about the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Since he had such an impact on everyone through conversations, speeches, movies, television, and through his actions, ABC created a documentary special talking about his life and legacy. To begin this documentary, Robin Roberts stood in front of the cameras with a picture of Chadwick on the screen behind her as a powerful song played for a couple of seconds. However, those couple of seconds with just the music playing was powerful enough to get emotions flowing and for the audience to get hooked. Throughout the special, there were interviews conducted and during those interviews they would play clips or pictures of Chadwick that were related with what was being said and sometimes the one being interviewed were in the clip or picture. Even the still pictures had motion as they slowly zoomed in that added to the emotional documentary and didn’t take away from anything.

Docuseries: Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II

As a massive Disney fan and someone who loves the film and animation industry, this docuseries was very well produced and inspiring. As we all know, the film industry and especially Disney, likes to keep the behind the scenes stuff very private. So for them to make a six episode docuseries about how Frozen II came to be from the very beginning to the premiere of the film was very inspiring for many people. In fact, I want to work in the Disney animation industry so I found this docuseries to be very informative and inspiring. It included tons of b-roll of artists working on everything from animating the characters, animating the environment, adding effects, storyboarding, and so much more. It also included footage of the actors recording sessions, some of the important meetings like the artists getting feedback and critiques on their pieces in the film and the more intimate meetings with the heads of different departments, music recording sessions, and anything else that could have possibly gone into making the film. Whenever there were interviews being done they showed the interviewee answering questions and then having b-roll that related to what they were saying with perfect lighting and audio. Even the background music added to the inspiring feeling and changed to dramatic music when it showed the difficult times in the process.

News Story: Positive COVID Cases in NFL: Needs More

This sports story from Fox News was good, but it was missing a few things that could have made it better. This story was about how positive cases of COVID-19 has affected the NFL so far and upcoming games to look out for. Most of the story was focuses on the two anchors (Charissa Thompson and Will) with some still images relating to what they were saying. However, they were lacking b-roll that could have made it more interesting. They could have showed video footage of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers playing and especially from the games when the Patriots and Packers played against each other since it has been a while since that happened. Some other b-roll that could have been used was footage on how they practiced and stayed safe during the pandemic.


Once I learned about how documentaries and mini documentaries are made and watched some as inspiration, I decided on what my mini documentary should be based on. My topic is how COVID-19 has changed and impacted our lives and in particular how it has affected the education and the after school activities of two students and the high school principle has been dealing with it’s impact on education and school sports. Below is my pre-plan document outlining my ideas for this project.

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