Documentary Analysis

Sarah Buttery

The documentaries I analysed

  • BBC Dream Interpretation
  • The Most Dangerous Theme park rides
  • Wild Alaska
  • Unlikely Animal Friends

Type of documentary

Most of the documentaries are examples of Mixed documentaries. They include interviews and Narration throughout.

Whereas Wild Alaska is fully narrated as there is more information


Depending on the documentary, this varies.
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Narrative Structure

  • All of the documentaries are multistrand, as they follow more than one story/narrative.
  • All are also examples of closed narratives as we are left with no questions.
  • There was a mix of linear and non-linear narratives as Wild Alaska is linear due to the fact it follows the life of the animals in chronological order whereas the other 3 are non-linear, there is no order.


  • The mixed documentaries use mid shots for interviews.
  • Close ups are commonly used to establish the point of focus.
  • High angle shots are commonly used to emphasize the height of something. For example in Wild Alaska to emphasize the size of a Bear and in The Worlds most dangerous Theme Parks to emphasize the height of the Roller coaster.
  • Handheld cameras are used for realism throughout the 4 documentaries.
  • Establishing shots are commonly used to establish a location.
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Mise en scene

  • Chromakey is commonly used to make the backgrounds relevant during interviews in the Mixed documentaries.
  • For Unlikely Animal Friends and Wild Alaska, the setting is their natural habitat.
  • High key lighting is commonly used to make programme more enjoyable.
  • The Theme Park documentary uses natural lighting to add realism.
  • Code of attire throughout the documentaries is usually casual clothing for members of the public and professionals such as doctors have a code of attire consisting of suits and smart clothing to make what they say seem legitimate.


  • All of the documentaries include Non Diegetic narration.
  • They also all use Non Diegetic music in the background.
  • Diegetic sound is commonly used during interviews and also natural sounds such as the Animals or People talking or laughing.


  • Cut is commonly used throughout the documentaries to change location or show passing of time. They are also used to show different angles of the Animals in Wild Alaska and Unlikely Animal Friends and also the roller coaster.
  • The Dream interpretations and Animal Friends documentaries show old footage as evidence of what is being said. This is also used so that the audience doesn't get bored.

Archive Material

  • From the interviews. This information includes personal thoughts and experiences.
  • Voice over is used to explain the relevant information throughout the documentaries.
  • The camera Zooms and Pans across archive material such as books,magazines and graphs to show point of focus and also so the audience doesn't get bored of looking at the same thing.


  • During the interviews the name of the person being interviewed is always at the top and the largest piece of text and then the job title/ relevancy is below this and in a smaller font. Always opposite the interviewee. in sans serif.
  • The colour of the font is most commonly Black and White.
  • Titles are also sometimes used to show the months of the year, to establish time passing.
  • There is a logo for the programme on every documentary at the beginning or the end.