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Codes and conventions of Documentarys

In documentarys many different formats are combined to create different

desired effects. In this essay I will be looking more in-depth to explain why
there are important and their use in this genre.

The first type of format is Expository. An Expository documentary is a
documentary with the main purpose of exposing/ revealing the truth
behind certain topics or people, this format of documentary will focus
mainly on very controversial topic. In an ironic turn of events the
documentarys become just as controversial as the topics themselves.
One example an expository documentary was the very controversial
BlackFish the documentary was directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and
is composed of archive footage from 4 decades and is all about the
capture and mistreatment of wild orca at Sea world in Florida, USA,. In this
type of Documentary you will general see many interviews that directly
address the audience, this is a common technique used to make the
viewers feel more involved, like their having a convocation.
convention is Voice over, the voice over is used in almost every
documentary, it is used because of how effective it is. Voice overs are
used to explain/talk to the audience and explain whats going on, it helps
you understand the problems and is technical the voice of everyone who
agree on the side of the documentary. The last commonly used convention
I will mention is Archive footage, this might just be the most important
part because its the actually evidence that the film maker will use to
make you take their side, it will show you the problem and leave you in
disbelief. In the film BlackFish archive footage has been collected from
over 4 decades and along with everything else I mentioned it makes for
extremely hard to argue evidence.


An observation documentary consists of following someone life and

documenting what they do, this type of documentary is normally used by
celebrities. Unlike normal documentaries there arent any interviews. A
popular example of this type of documentary would be super-size me.
Super-size me is a documentary that follows a man around for a month
as he eats nothing but McDonalds to see how it would affect his health.
This format of documentary is not the most professional because to make
one all you need is a hand held camera for filming, no fancy lighting or
techniques are use. Its the simplest form of documentary making.
Super-size me also follows realism, it fits in to this because as he is
progressing through the month you see real stats and figures and see the
real affect that is happen, it is called realism because everything is real
cold hard fact, it not based on an idea but what is actually happening and
this make viewers connect with the documentary as you see the real
effect of whats happening to you the viewer.

The main elements of an interactive documentary is that its all has lots of
interviews. Interactive documentary where formed as a way for the film
maker to directly talk to the viewers so in these type of documentary the
person who is talking and giving you the information is the film maker. An
example of this is bowling for columbine. This is a documentary that
follows the film maker as has he goes around columbine talking and giving
examples about the gun problem that caused a school shooting. This is
effective because it makes you feel more involved, you are being talked to
directly by the film maker.
Bowling for columbine is also a good example for a reflexive documentary
because these types of film are about the film maker acknowledging that
he is in front of the camera and directly talking to you as a viewer. These
documentaries are effective in the same way as interactive
documentaries, its a more direct approach that make you connect with
the film maker and therefore agree with his points more. This is because
the more you get to know him in the film you will grow more of an
emotional connection to him.

A Performative documentary is a film with a more emotiona connection to it, they
are dramatic and try to evoke sypthy towards the subject. An example of this
would be supersize me (again) supersize me try to creat an emotion connect
my following him for a mounth and show his rapidly decreasing health. This
connect to many people because Mc donalds is a very populat thing and seeing
how it can effect you make lots of people feel bad, epecially when you take into
account the the incident almost killed.
Dramatisation is typicaly used in more biased documentarys, they tend to
exagerate the truth to make pople agree woth what they have to say. These tend
to be the whorst documentary as they are more like. In a way they are a lot like
propergander used in the war.

Narrative is used in all documentarys, it is simply the way in which the film

has been layout. Depending on what kind of structure can affect how good
the final out come of the film is. If the structuer is not strong enough or if
its layed oput a bit randonly then people will not be interested but if you
have a strong structure it will intise people to what it and it will be overall
more effect in informing people on there cause.