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Identifying features of a documentary

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Duration: 2:29

Mt Biggs School students and their teacher talk about how they developed their understanding of how to film a documentary. They began by looking at exemplars to identify shot types, camera angles, and how music affects mood.

Renee Strawbridge:
We started off by focusing on the actual features of a documentary so, “What is a documentary?” We looked at some exemplars.

When we were researching how to make this, Renee showed us all videos from the MADE awards last year.

We watched some of the previous winners documentary videos, because we thought that was a good model of what I was aiming for at the end. We talked about the features and different documentary techniques. We actually had to learn what types of shots are there?

First of all we did a task on finding out what angles were which. Then we did another task, we had to do different camera angles to tell a story. Then we practiced those in buddies, or by ourselves, or in groups taking those different shots.

After we'd done that I thought that the next step was probably to be able to film the shot. So we'd gone from a still image and the kids had made a PicCollage of all the different shots and put them together and shared them to show that they understood how to use the shots and then they started to actually make some short little films.

And we also did work on music. We watched a video showing the importance of the way the mood changes within music.

We watched a guy on YouTube who'd made a really cool video with two sets of footage that were exactly the same but he had put different music to them. Then we looked at the effect of the music on the same footage and how it changed the mood or feeling of the piece.
And so then the kids made some really short movies and they again they duplicated it so there was two of the same film and then they put two different pieces of music to it, just to experiment with the change in mood. And again I was just amazed by the quality of the filming that the kids had done.

I feel like I've learnt more about movies, and just videos, and different camera angles because now I know what actually goes on behind things. Like say if I'm watching a movie I’d know what's actually going on, not just people saying words or walking around stuff. So there's more to it than that.

Tags: Primary, Digital stories, Digital fluency