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Documentary Template and Checklist

Here are some things you should check to make sure you have done or not done in your documentary:

Documentary Template.
You are free to deviate from this if you have a creative reason but should not do it out of laziness.

  • Voiceover introducing the issue and giving background information.
  • B-roll during intro voiceover illustrating what is being talked about. Use Ken Burns Effect on images.
    Do NOT use text questions because you did not interview right. If your interview answers do not include the question, put the question in the voiceover. Example: "We asked students at San Leandro High School about..." Do not use off-camera badly recorded questions. Or, do not rely on the questions at all. Edit the answers so the question is obvious or can be figured out by an intelligent viewer.
  • Good sound using a lav mic.
  • Edit interviews so only best and important parts are in your video.
  • No text questions (yeah, I have to say it again).
  • B-roll during interviews.

Voiceover/Interview again if needed.

Voiceover with b-roll concluding or explaining how things should be or what people can do to help the problem. Don't do hotlines, nobody calls them and it's a cheap/fake solution to a problem.

1. Good even audio levels throughout. Look at the levels and listen closely.

2. Voiceover introducing the issue and giving background at the beginning, explaining what your research/interviews found, and a good conclusion.

3. Good use of B-roll during voiceover and interviews.  Use Ken Burns Effect on images.

4. If you use music, it complements the documentary, does not distract or make the voiceover hard to hear.

5. No questions in text or awkward off camera/off mic questions asked. Answers should always be self contained or made clear in the voiceover.

6. Lower thirds introduce each person first time on screen.

7. Good title at the beginning and credits at the end.

8. Command-t at the beginning and Command-t at the end.