Codes and Conventions of a Documentary

Archive Footage

This shows a variety of views on a topic. This can be used as a video or image.


Graphics can be used in different ways, one way is text in two simple lines so they don't distract the audience. They also can be used in end credits and as a title for the documentary.
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Digetic and Non-digetic Sound

Digetic and Non-digetic Sound is used mainly to emphasis an emotion or feeling.


The mise-en-scene is always related to the topic. This can be shown by an establishing shot to set the scene, by the narrator, interviews and archive material. The mise-en-scene is consistant throughout the documentary.
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Interviews are a key part in documentaries, they always are filmed in a related place to the mise-en-scene. During the interview the camera always remains still and the interviewee never looks directly at the camera, the eye of the person is always on the top of the third frame. Cut a ways are added into the interview so the audience know what they are talking about. The camera shot is always a close up or medium close up on the left or right alignment.
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Documentaries always contain a lot of cuts to get all of the related detail into it. Conventional editing is also used, this eventually makes the documentary have no questions during the interview, only the answers.


The narrator hold the documentary together as s/he tell the audience what is happening. The gender, accent, tone of voice all depend on the topic of the documentary.