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By BERTHA WARD 1,737 views

Everything You Need to Know About Documentary Filmmaking

What is Documentary Filmmaking?

A documentary is a film or video examining an event or person based on facts. The word can also refer to anything involving documents. As the documentary deals with facts and reality, it sheds light on various unseen phases and points of any happening in history. The documentary may use facts and figures as well to contain a strong background of the information packed in an entertaining format. Backing up the data with proper sources is vital to maintain the genuineness of the project. Production houses can help you out a lot in budgeting and completing the overall project in the given time.

Process of documentary making

  1. Research – The initiation of documentary-making starts with the ideation and analysis of the facts on the chosen topic. The research includes stated factors concerning views or records and expected upcoming research on the case.
  2. Plan – Planning comes second after discovering the research and other factors involving the layout and blueprint of the program prepared for optimum output. Also, Keeping in mind the time involved & making the structure of the project & opting accordingly. Documentary filmmaking consists of much planning before initiating the project.
  3. Budget – After planning, start budgeting how the team will spend on certain factors and the kind of investment also required, the investment in different aspects and departments.
  4. Permissions – To get the required authorization from certain authorities and concerned parties like local govt. for shooting, getting copyrights or story rights, credits Etc. Also, getting the shooting location approved and the topics involved in the documentary.
  5. Insurance – Getting insurance is a significant step to keep the financial crunch at bay. The tools used in documentary making, like the camera lens camera and other instruments, are costly and need to be insured to tackle unexpected misshaping and losses.
  6. Mapping & remapping of the story – After completing the initial steps and solidifying the process, structuring and restructuring the documentary’s storyline. The video cut-outs and the placement of scenes, videos, facts & music, and completion of the video.
  7. Finalising & editing – After preparing the documentary and placing every bit and piece in its proper place, there comes the editing. Editing the final work is tricky; it is mainly for the specific parts of the whole project. After finalizing the project after completing editing and parts placement, it is ready to launch.
  8. Launching & realizing a streaming platform – Launching the documentary on a streaming platform and putting it out for the audience is the final step. You can only hope that people may like your work and the effort in the process.

Features of the documentary

Documentary filmmaking should work on these four features –

1) Story

The story must focus on essential topics and have a trap. The story can be challenging to find because having a document and discovering a story out of it is an entirely different process involving effort and creativity.

2) Characters

To develop an engaging and creative documentary, you need to justify the character to it. You don’t always need them as protagonists or antagonists, but your audience will quickly lose interest without this human interaction in the film.

3) Visual

Great visuals are a way to enhance the viewers’ experience in the documentary. The better video quality and cinematic effects increase the viewers’ interest in the topic. Some documentaries have noticed increased watch time because of the visuals and effects used in the making process.

4) Sound

Clear & parallel sound with the video is essential for viewers’ engagement in the film. The audience may adjust slightly to the video quality, but poor sound quality will make them leave. Hence to improve their experience, the sound quality should be up to the mark.

5) Take Away

The story must convey the facts of figures you initially want to communicate to the audience. The audience should be able to understand the documentary’s output in a meaningful sense.

Required instrument or equipment in documentary making

The documentary is different from the film, using tools like a Camera lens, tripod, light, headphones, and microphone. Video camera, tripod, camera light, three-point lighting kit, shotgun microphone, boom pole, shock mount, audio (XLR) cables, wireless microphones, portable digital audio recorder, headphones, light reflector, lenses, Videotapes, flash memory cards or DVDs, external hard drive, video/photo camera bag, shoulder mount rig,

Why you should opt for hiring an agency to make documentary filmmaking

Creating a documentary with experts gives you an upper hand in the development process, where you won’t have to invest in costly instruments and can also have aid with their experience and diversified project aspects. Including an expert team and getting the project delivered in a structured manner.

1) Experience & Professionalism

The filmmaking agency works with professionals and an experienced production, editing, and launching team. This works with a proper blueprinted delivery date with the least latency.

2) Time-Saving Techniques:

Working with a proper blueprint and structured layout, the agency works in a time-structured format delivering the project in a time-bound manner. With experienced personnel, the agency works with a rigid timeline and completes the modules without wasting time and other resources.

 3) Cost-effective Solutions:

With an agency working for you, investing in multiple instruments, casting, and amounts in different fields is no requirement. You will get every required thing in one place, reducing the cost involved in the process in a budgeted format.

 4) Fresh Perspective Towards Film Making:

A good documentary filmmaker has a unique view of life that they can’t find anywhere else. If you are looking for a  production house, you will find a large variety of creative and advanced working teams with years of experience and expertise in one place.


Documentary filmmaking is a vital part of the filmmaking industry, and intend to cover an essential aspect of the industry in an informed and reasonable way. The documentary formation has various vital features with a step-by-step process. Filmmakers and production industries are working efficiently to produce better outcomes in the form of documentaries and short films. Getting your documentary made by a film agency gives you an upper hand with a more creative and cost-effective way of producing the documentary.

Bertha Ward

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