Generic Conventions of a Documentary

In documentaries they all use a variety of different shots and of different things. They all do this to keep the audience interested because if they stuck to the same shot for a length of time it will become very boring and the audience will lose interested. The transitions between shots are also very quick and no shot is shown for a long time. By doing this the audience is constantly entertained as there is so much to see. With quick transitions it also helps to show a lot of things in a short space of time. When I am creating my documentary I want to use lots of different shots and quick transitions so that the audience don’t get bored and also there will be a lot to see.

Voice Overs
Documentaries also use a lot of voice overs during the viewing time. This also helps to keep the viewer engaged as they are not watching the same shot for a long time but lots of little short ones instead. By doing this you can also keep the audience engaged as you can show many different things whilst the narrator is talking. I want to use voice overs in my documentary as I want the viewer to be engaged and not get bored watching my documentary. Also this will represent a documentary and helps to stick to the main generic conventions of a documentary.

Sound Effects
Another generic convention of a documentary is sound effects. In documentaries they use a variety of diegetic and non-diegetic sound depending on the shots and what they are talking about. For example some diegetic sound in my documentary could be the sound of horse’s hooves on the road or the horses neighing. I could also use non-diegetic sound like soundtracks and music over the top of some clips so that it is not the same thing for 5 minutes. When I am creating my documentary I want to use a mixture of both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds to again keep the audience engaged and add different effects to my documentary.

Some documentaries use interviews to show peoples point of view and so that they can express what they think and feel. By doing this the audience feels involves as it is almost as if they are answering their questions and that the person who is being interviewed is speaking to them. In my documentary I want to use interviews so that I can get people’s opinions and point of views across. However I don’t want to use just interviews as this will become very boring for my viewer so I will use a mixture of interviews with voice over’s.

Narrative Structure
A few documentaries also follow a narrative structure which is the structure of events and involves a setup, a conflict and a resolution. This can help to keep the viewer interested as it has a problem that needs resolving. In my documentary I think that I should not use a narrative structure as I don’t think it will really fit in with a documentary about horses, however in some documentaries it works well depending on the theme and topic of it.


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