3 minute documentary



The aim to this module was to produce 3 minute documentary or mockumentary video film and credits can be extra to the 3 minutes if necessary. The documentary or mockumentary must tell a story with a beginning, middle and an end.


  • My first idea was to do a documentary about Michael Jackson. I was thinking to make a journey from where he began singing to his death.
  • Another idea was about doing a documentary about earthquakes. By telling a story why they happen and how many countries have been affected.
  • This idea was about doing a documentary on music. I would love to find out the history of music, do like journey from Beatles onwards.
  • Last idea was about doing a documentary about technology. I wanted to demonstrate how technology started and it still keeps on improving everyday.


Well I started with researching what documentary means. A documentary is a representation of the historical world. Documentary films aim to present the spectator with factual information about the world we occupy. In general, documentaries seek to make a rhetorical argument. They are constructed to convince, persuade, or predispose the spectator to a particular view of the historical world.

I found that Bill Nicolas shows us that there are 6 different types of documentary or mode of documentary which are:

  1. Poetic which stresses the lyrical, rhythmic, and emotional aspect of the historical world.
  2. Expository which assembles fragments of the historical world into a more rhetorical frame than a poetic one.
  3. Observational which the people engage with one another as if the filmmaker were not there.
  4. Interactive/Participatory documentaries also make use of a common form of encounter between filmmaker and subject: the interview.
  5. Reflexive unlike the previous four modes, the reflexive mode positions the spectator as the focus of attention.
  6. Per formative mode of documentary raises questions about what knowledge is. Per formative documentaries sets out to demonstrate how the specificities of personal experience provide entry into an understanding of the moral general processes at work in society.


First few lessons we went through different types of documentary so we can get an idea of how to do our 3 minute documentary:

  • For example we looked at “Kurt and Courtney” 1998 by Nick Broomfield part 3 on YouTube. Which had voice-over by the maker and some pictures was used in the beginning to introduce the people in the documentary.
  • “English Harvest” (1938) which showed history of farming and the music fits the footage. The continuity of the scenes and people in the documentary didn’t take notice of the camera. The voice over was scripted.
  • “Man on Wire scene” on this documentary the images and the footage was combined together. It’s about one persons dream and the voice-over was scripted.
  • “Short film about movies” by Errol Morris. This documentary was about little shots put together and humor has been used as well. It is defiantly edited because we just see people answering question but we don’t hear any question being asked.
  • Leo episode 006. This documentary is about a person getting interviewed. We can’t hear any question getting asked so the documentary is edited. You can only hear answers and there are two cameras used.
  • Deb episode 007. Once again this is a interview project with many different angles used and cuts to make it interesting and; the footage is filmed with a tripod.
  • Goodbye Mrs. Ant by Adam Curtis. Many still images and voice-over was scripted.


After finding useful materiel by my independent research our group me, Victoria and Michelle decided to do our 3 minute documentary on “True Love” heads. We chose to do our documentary on True love heads situated on a metal post about ten meters from the River bank. Having visited the area number of times and seen the sculpture we always wanted to find out more about them.  

So we decided to research on the internets and books just to get a rough idea of why the object is there. Michelle went down to the riverside to get some rough footage of the “Truelove heads.

After getting rough footage we decided to visit Hull History centre to get more in-depth information. We did our filming their and went through some books which were very useful.  We did some micro form reading and got a copy the true love ship. We then went to Hull Maritime Museum to take some pictures and do some research.


We decided to do our documentary as a journey of a person looking for information why the Truelove heads is there.

Week 1: Brainstorming / Planning / Researching

We decided to do a 3 minute documentary about “Truelove” heads then wrote a plan of how we are going to do it. We went through different types of documentary so we can get different ideas. We did a brainstorm as a group and decided who got the best idea. Michelle did a rough footage over the weekend.  

Week 2: Looked at rough footage / visited Hull History centre / Filming

We did our filming in the Hull History centre of Michelle being our main character. We used different types of camera angles like e.g. long-shot, mid-shot, close-up, a shot from behind, camera zooming in, zooming out and moving side ways (tilt).

 Week 3: Came up with our proposal / visited Hull Maritime Museum/ images

 We visited Hull Maritime Museum because we wanted to come up with ideas. So I took a series of images of anything related to the “Truelove” heads. In the way out Michelle asked the receptionist about can we get any more information  about the “Truelove” heads so the receptionist rang the manager and Michelle had a word with the manager, which was very helpful. After getting out of the Museum we got an idea of if we recorded the phone call it could have been very useful.

Week 4: Done more independent planning / writing the script

We did a shot list, our storyboard and wrote our script. Did further planning of how we are going to edit our documentary, we put everything in order like we are going to put music in the beginning and at the end; put the rough footage as a establish shot with some images; then Hull History centre shots with images; and an ending shot of “Truelove” heads; then the credits and the music at the end.

Week 5: Filming/ researching/ recording the script

After that we decided to do our recording of the voice-over for our documentary in the studio. We planned who is going to do which bit. Me and Victoria was editing and Michelle was the voice-over. I said a little quote in the narration in a different accent to make it sound interesting as well. 


Week 6:  Editing the footage / trying to fit the voice-over with the footage

We were trying to edit our documentary but we just couldn’t do it. Everything went wrong, the sound won’t work, and we didn’t know how to edit or use the software, we lost our footage, we spent a whole day trying to figure it out.   

Week 7: Finishing off / putting music on/ Editing

We started editing everything was fine until we put our narration in, to match the footage. The narration didn’t fit the footage. Some of it went wrong, the major problem we had was to fit the narration with the footage. It would be easier if we did our footage and narration all together. But if we did the footage and the voice over all together the quality of the narration would be bad. Our script was way to long and we had to edit the script down to 3.30, if we edited the script a bit more we were afraid of losing the story. At the end we finished editing and put our title in with our music to give it a little interesting feel to it. And the music was called “Shenandoah” Taken from the album “Whaling & Sailing Songs” by Paul Clayton and any additional images was taken by Google.


I think the final piece sounded good and the whole documentary was assembled well together and we were very happy with it as a group. We also turned it into flash and put it on YouTube. Over all I think the project could have gone better because they were certain things we could have included to improve our 3 minute documentary. Which were like we could have filmed more footage to use, not made the script so long then 3 minute.
One of the problems was that none of us knew how to use the software so this took us longer time to edit our documentary. Therefore to overcome this problem we all worked together as a team and tried to work out how to use the software by each others help. Everyone in or group was working towards a common goal and small contributions lead us to solve the problem. Otherwise then that, I like my finished product and have learnt a lot from using the software. The style of the piece matches its target audience and I have learned an appropriate range and level of skills in editing and recording.


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