There are three types of film documentaries: observational, participatory, and interactive.
Observational documentaries are filmed without the filmmakers’ intervention. Dr. Frank Gunderson adds that the filmmaker is simply an observer, who documents what they see.
As Gunderson observes, the observational documentary does not have a voice-over or an interview with the subject. The filmmaker films the subject from behind, capturing their natural reactions and behaviors.
The observational documentary is not just about filming people on the street. Dr. Frank Gunderson says it also includes films that follow people in their daily lives or films that are set in a specific location, such as a classroom or prison.
Participatory or interactive documentaries are filmed with the filmmaker’s intervention and they typically involve the filmmaker in the action or conversation taking place on the screen. Dr. Frank Gunderson explains that interactive documentaries require a viewer’s participation to complete or advance the story.
According to Gunderson, these films are made by the people who are being filmed. They have the power to influence change in their communities and make a difference in their lives. They can be used as an effective tool for social change and awareness. Also, they can lead to improved health and education, reduced poverty, increased political participation, and more.
It uses interviews and narration to provide information about a topic or event. An expository documentary is a film or video which explains a topic in detail. Dr. Frank Gunderson says it is usually very long, and it is often used to teach people about a certain topic.
The expository documentary can be divided into two parts: the narrative and the informational. The narrative part of an expository documentary tells the story of the subject through interviews, footage, reenactments, and other storytelling devices. FSU adds that the informational part of an expository documentary gives background information on the subject through interviews with experts on that topic or narration by someone who knows about that topic.
Documentaries are a powerful storytelling medium. They can be used for a variety of purposes, from recording history to educating people about an issue. However, the process of making a documentary is not as simple as it may seem. Dr. Frank Gunderson explains that there are many steps involved in creating a documentary film and you need to know what they are before you start filming.
The first step is defining your subject and story. You need to find out what the theme of your documentary will be, who your audience will be, and how you want them to feel after watching it. Once you have figured that out, you can start researching your topic and interviewing people who share this story with you.
Dr. Frank Gunderson teaches at the Florida State University Department of Musicology. He earned a B.A. in Music from Evergreen State College (WA), an M.A. with a concentration in World Music, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Ethnomusicology. The National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hays and the Wenner-Gren Foundation have all awarded him for his research (he has recently been awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair Award, 2021-2022).