#4 Mini Documentary


Reflection on the three stages of the Vox Pop production.


During pre-production, we assigned the different roles for each group member. We discussed how we would approach the interviewees since it can sometimes be tricky to get people on camera (strangely, some are to shy). Our tutor handed out questions that were to be asked. To give the overall a better flow, we re-phrased a set of questions that we would use.

We also went on a location scout. We found a really good area with amazing light, but unfortunately, because of the construction, it was too noisy. We eventually found a good spot, on the floor right above the library entrance.


During the production, we set up shop and made sure everyone was comfortable with their assigned role. My role was the interviewer, so because of our choice of location, I had to go around and fetch interviewees. Not much through-traffic in our corner.

While I was conducting the interviews, I constructed the interviewees to repeat the question in their answer. This because I already had a plan for how it would look like when I edited it together. I also told them not to stare directly into the camera. I tried to control that by standing on the side of the camera, which we can see clearly in the footage (where their eyes are focusing). 

The boom operator did a good job with the sound, and the interviewees spoke clear and well. Unfortunately, we had some construction noise disturbing during some of the questions.

For a better next time performance, I think we´ll stay a little longer during the location scout in case some construction noise comes up. That way we´re aware (and prepared). It was hard to find any backup location since the task required us to be in the library.


After importing the different audio and footage into Adobe Premiere Pro, I started organising the files. I created bins for the sorted through footage and named the different files. Next, I merged the audio and video and made sure they were in sync. Our group was very organised during the production, and because all the interviewees had to sign consent forms, it was an easy task trying to figure out all the interviewees’ names.

In Premiere, the project was organised in a very satisfying way that made it easy to work with. While editing I went through the interviews selecting answers to the same question adding them together in the sequence. During the first edit, I didn´t jump from interviewee to interviewee throughout the questions and it didn´t flow well. To make it clean I decided to cut it like all the interviewees’ answers first, second etc. question repeatedly.

I wasn´t very happy with the lighting. All the Vox Pop footage was affected by a harsh lighting and to much shadow. Some of them actually looked like something out of a horror film. Not suited for this “What-do-you-think-of-the-new-library” type of documentary. Therefore, during the first minute of the edit, I´ve tried out different colour gradings, especially focusing on low saturation in some of the clips. 



Reflection on the three stages of the Interview production.


The pre-production was mostly learning about lighting and setting the mood for the interview. I watched this three point lighting (also known as documentary lighting) tutorial which was really helpful. It´s basically about lighting the subjects from three different sources in order to control the shadows and balance the contrast.


We started out by rigging up all the camera equipment and setting up the lighting. We used key light, which is the main source, fill light and backlight, which separates the subjects from the background. My role was recording the sound. Since we were operating with a boom we did a test round, to check sound levels for all the participants.

The topic was “Home” but we narrowed it down to a discussion about the participants’ neighborhoods. One of the participants were selected host and lead the conversation around the table. Everyone spoke in turn and there was some discussion. A problem we faced was a lack of communication from beforehand because some of us thought we agreed on having the boom in the shot and others did not. Since the conversation around the table went so freely we felt like we couldn´t interrupt. There were some bad attempts trying to get eye contact with the crew. For the sake of the sound, the boom operator had to hold the boom higher and higher, which is tiring. All the twitching and movement resulted in a lot of noise which we can hear in the edit. In addition; next time we need to have more shot variations.


After merging audio and video I made sure that the footage was synced correctly. There wasn´t really much footage to work with, so I decided to rather than focusing on making a finished edit I would experiment with different colour gradings. I wanted to try different colour grades to see different effects (the additional clips at the end of the edit).

To fix the sound, I tried to adjust the levels and block out the noise but it didn´t really work out great.

The best documentary pieces I see is when the interviewees are “controlling” the documentary. In the edit I wanted the participants/the interviewees to lead the conversation. Therefore, I didn´t add any explanation text.





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