Paul Ward, Documentary: the margins of reality

The blurred lines between fiction and nonfiction.

I believe that even documentaries are very similar to fiction in the way that they are created. I mean, the world is the world and whatever happens in it is real, whereas in drama everything is created from the set up. But when you take footage of the real world, there’s lots to be taken, of anything really, and from that you could make any kind of story. I know it’s not the same type of blurred line as those that were noted in the documentary, but I think the way that we construct stories out of nonfiction footage is kind of like fiction. We create a story, it could be about anything. I like the idea of taking footage of the real world, and kind of treating it like found footage to take a documentary. That is, starting without a purpose and taking the footage, of things that are interesting or visually engaging or honest or sad etc and then seeing where it takes you in the editing process. Trying to make a story from it, not exactly a fictional one but one that wasn’t there in the first place.

Re-enactments are something that bored me before the reading. Yes it made the telling of real life events more interesting, but generally it was done poorly or over done. I would like to see how 10 different people re-enact the same scene. If they’re all slightly or dramatically different this just demonstrates how re-enactments are borderline fictions. I also like the idea of intentionally pushing those lines of fiction and nonfiction in re-enactments by changing things. Changing the persona of one of the people involved for example, or adjusting the world that they live in, without changing the event, situation or story of what is actually happening.  I think that would be interesting, to see reality replayed in non-reaity.

Film TV 2 Abstract Piece, Description

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I wasn’t here for the filming of the video thing so I used footage from other people’s folders, Axle’s and Georgina(?)’s. The sound was my own though, other than the music that was sourced from by the artist Podington Bear.

The shots were quite random and unrelated, which I liked but I wanted to create some kind of unity. I used colours and split toning in order to create a consistent theme and slowed certain shots down and sped others up in order to create a sense of rhythm.

The colours were originally quite dull and the shots were quite boring. I used the three-way colour corrector to adjust the darker colours and lighter colours. I swapped the original colours for really intense hues, sometimes mismatching colours in the same shots. I also threw in a couple of black and white shots in order to shake up the theme and show what the shots looked like without that intense colouring.

I layered four different snippets from the audio that we took. I took the samples that sounded the most interesting and were moving, rather than static sounds. One track that was very much atmospheric dialogue sounds coming from multiple directions, I slowed it down and lowered the volume to create an interesting and unidentifiable track underlying everything else. Above that I layered the moving sounds. I made sure that the more interesting sounds were laid on the transitions in visual shots. This made everything less random and made everything make more sense.

I sped up and spliced the footage of the tram in order to create a continuation of the visuals, as well as a beginning and an end. Everything happens within the coming and going of the tram. This hopefully highlights the movement and passing of time, which are characteristics of all of the clips that I used both in large and small dynamics.

Documentary reading 2

  • “Meaningless glut of images.”

I agree with this, the availability of recording devices has lead to an influx of thoughtless, meaningless, random recordings of every day life. This isn’t film making and in my opinion is an entirely different category to documentary in film. In order for something to have meaning and a story, it must be planned in some way, thought about, there must be thought behind it.

  • “Seduce and entertain.”

These are not two words that I would ever have linked to documentaries. The fact that these can and supposedly should be seductive and entertaining is exciting, it’s a challenge and an invite to make something as appealing and appreciated as fictional film.

  • Society is becoming more and more narcissistic.

I don’t particularly agree with this, I think society has always been very narcissistic, however as the years go on and technology advances and innovations are made the opportunity to express and practice our narcissism becomes more prevalent and therefore more noticeable and on show.

  • Cheaper and easier to make, more freedom.

This is the thing that really excites me about documentary. As a wedding videographer I am very used to just turning up and filming things as they occur, and building the aesthetics of a film with what is available, eg. lighting, atmosphere sounds, dialogue etc. Therefore I think this appeals to me and is more comfortable than scripting and planning ahead. Of course I am always prepared, but preparation is very different to the kind of choreography that is involved with creating fictional films. I think this is the kind of film making, and also making with other types of media such as sound, photography and even writing, that I prefer. It is cheaper, it is more real, and it is relatable. The hard part is making it as exciting and appealing (or seductive and entertaining) as films that are made up. This is because fantasy is better than reality I guess, so I think I’d be interested in trying to create a fantasy from reality, or bringing out the fantastical in reality.