Documentary Refelction


Initially when given this brief to make a documentary revolving around transgression, I felt that there were so many concerning subjects to be explored. However, some proved to be more difficult to peruse and others I didn’t feel were subjects I was as passionate about. I then came to the conclusion of doing my documentary revolving around the idea of sexuality and the struggles around it. I feel that this is a very prejudice subject that although we know exists; real stories need to be told.

Even though I knew the subject of the documentary I didn’t know what mode I wanted it to be presented in and what I wanted to show. Watching existing documentaries made me consider each factor of this.

One of the documentaries I watched was ‘the beekeeper’ by Sara Preibsch. This documentary was not of the same subject but I really liked the visual style of it. This documentary contains a voiceover and shows shots of the character sat around his house and looking into the camera. This easy but effective visual can show many emotions and say a lot about that character.


I also watched Three colours: Blue Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. The colours used in this really made me want to incorporate colours into my documentary to represent emotion. I think using this technique would make it more visually interesting while still keeping the look simple.

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At the start of our planning process for this documentary we had planned the shots we were going to use to represent our subject but they had sadly dropped out.

We thought we might have had to change the whole documentary but luckily I got my friend, Bethany to tell her story. Her story is similar with it being of the same subject but we felt after talking to her, knowing her story and her interests we felt these same visuals wouldn’t suit her character.

We knew she was really interested in photography as she showed us some of her current work. We thought it would be a good idea showing her personality and her interests rather than her just being defined by her sexuality. After looking at work we decided to film her taking photos at an abandoned train station.

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Half of the documentary is set outside at an abandoned train station showing Bethany taking photos of the surroundings. None of us had been to this location before but after researching and looking at pictures of it we thought it would be interesting. We were relying on natural lighting for this shoot but when we first turned up at the location it was getting very dark and we were unable to shoot there at that time and returned early the next day.

Throughout filming we referred to the shooting script to make sure we got the planned shots we needed. The only shots that didn’t go to plan were the tracking shots that involved using a dolly as the ground was very rough and made the shot look shaky so we cut out the idea and thought of what others we could achieve with what we had to work with. One shot that I thought might be a good idea is Bethany stood in front of a puddle allowing us to see her reflection in the puddle too. I thought this shot would be a good metaphor.

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We also got other shots that are were set inside and followed the shot list for this too. This went to plan and we also got extra shots that we could experiment with in postproduction. We wanted the inside shots to look very natural so only used natural lighting from the window so achieve this we used a camera lens with a smaller fstop to get as much light as we could. Some of the shots when filming were just observational but a lot of them are very constructed.

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I think throughout the whole process from getting the idea together and filming it the group always seen the bigger picture and all had the same vision of the outcome. We knew from the start that we wanted to start off with all the outside shots and as the story progressed it would move to the inside location where Bethany felt more emotionally trapped.

I feel a strong part of the edit is parts that cut to black. This happens when the voiceover says particular lines. Using this technique really makes you think about the line more because there is nothing visually going with it.

We decided to use whispering sounds near the start of the documentary to convey the effect of people talking about her and her paranoia from being different to other people. I feel these break up the comfortable visuals and can easily be associated with the feeling we wanted to represent. Another sound we used was the sound of a camera. The use of this sound cuts off the whispering and is also used for transitions between shots. We thought this would be a good use because her hobby is taking photographs and this is what is shown on screen.

Another factor we were dubious about adding is colour filters on top of our footage. We thought that because we weren’t showing anything that actually represents her sexuality and showing her just being herself we could represent it in another way, colour. We thought that throughout the documentary we could use colour filters that change along with the rainbow to represent the pride flag. We also thought because the colours of the rainbow get darker this could represent her feelings of confusion and emotions. We tried this with more subtle colours on top and then harsher ones. I preferred the subtler colour change. I like this added touch because it is just a tiny representation of a big part of the story.

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Finished Documentary

This is a short documentary about a girl named Bethany from a small town in the North of England having to come to terms with being gay after falling in love with her best friend. She talks about how she felt though the experience. Her worries about how her life could completely change from revealing her secret feelings and relationship.