Bill Nichols (2001) describes in his book there are
six modes of documentary Expository , Poetic, Observational , Participatory,
Performative and Reflexive.
Voice-Over also known as off
camera or off stage commentary. It brought a significant changes to the films
and documentaries when it was first introduced. The Non-diegetic voice is
usually derives by an unseen body. Bruzzi describes it as, “an extra-diegetic
soundtrack that has been added to a film.” (Bruzzi, 2006: p-47). Voice- over
has a significant ability to provide extra information where just image alone
could not portray a producer’s intended massage. Voice-over acts as a guide for
the audience for their better understanding of the film and its massage.
we are talking about voice-over we have to talk about Grizzly Man (2005) because its complexity in voice-over. Although
you can hear Herzog’s voice-over throughout the film but it is not the only
voice-over audience can hear. It is important to note that differentiate must
be made between the voice of Herzog and the voice of Treadwell. In this
documentary Herzog’s voice is actual voice-over where Treadwell’s voice is only
voice not been counted as voice-over because it was not recorded in the post
production, so by any means it cannot be classified as voice-over.
If a story is told through a specific person’s point
of view that is call subjective voice-over it is also known as ‘limited
omniscience’. The voice-over artist sees the story through the eyes of a
character and he knows everything only about a single character.
In objective voice-over character’s detail will be
describe in a broad way but the reason and the action will not be clear to the
audience. It might be very helpful if the scene is building up to some sort of
action. A subjective voice-over unlike an objective voice-over, knows
character’s all the moves, actions and feelings and tell them to the audience.
Documentaries are medium of representation
they film and sometimes reconstruct the almost every day reality which audience
normally cannot experience themselves. Viewers understand the documentary is a
moving picture it also mean truth. However, they are able to distinguish
between the daily reality presented by the documentaries and the fictional
reality of cinematographic films. When we are talking about whether the
documentaries portrays real events or it is fictional then we have to talk
about The war tapes (2006) because the way it was filmed. Director Deborah Scranton gave five small hand held digital
camera to five members of the new
Hampshire army national guard just before they were sent off to Iraq in 2004,
and asked them to film whatever they are going to experience over there. For
some viewers it was very unique and genuine but other viewers thought it was
one sided documentary the soldiers were given the cameras they have just filmed
what the American and allied soldiers were doing but they failed to show what Iraqi people were going
through and what they think about the war. Some critic thinks that the
documentary was heavily biased by the American politics.
The documentary’s version of reality is not as
innocent as it presents itself. For the reason that perceived indexical true price
of the film, the viewers are drawn into a daily reality that apparently does
not require questions. It is a sense of togetherness between the creator and
the viewer, which gives the viewer the feeling of being both here, now, looking
at the picture and there, then looking at what the image represents or evokes.
This relationship is a window for the audience, where the camera’s lens is, in
effect, the person’s eye with the implication that the two are interchangeable,
so that the viewer is in effect. Furthermore, a representation is not the same
object as the reality it represents. When screening a documentary, the audience
is not watching reality, but a recorded representation of what it once was.
Relationship between sound and image.
The relationship between image and sound is that of a
complex interaction, where Image and sound seem to become one single element.
Images are used to reinforce our emotional response to the music just as the
music can be used to intensify our reaction and understanding of the image. It
is done to heighten our sensory perception. An example of this is when an image
or a sound reflects the mood/emotion of the other. In film and television we
don’t separate them as two different experiences, they are the element of the
Observational documentaries what some refers to as
direct cinema and other describes it as cinema verite. For some expert and
critics the terminology direct cinema and cinema verite are
interchangeable. Other people refers it
to distinctive modes. The observational mode stresses the non-intervention of
the filmmaker. This mode of the documentary film making occurs in front of the
camera more than any other mode. Observational filmmaking relies on post
production to increase the impression of lived or real time.
Nichol (2006) says “Observational filmmaking gives a
particular inflection to ethical considerations. Since the mode hinges on the
ability of the filmmaker to be unobtrusive the issue of intrusion surfaces over
and over within the institutional discourse.” Has the filmmaker intruded upon people’s lives
in ways will irrevocably alter them, perhaps for the worse, in order to make a
Has his or her need to make a film and build a career out of the observation of
others led to representations about the nature of the project its probable
effects on participants in disingenuous forms? Has he or not only sought the
informed consent of the participants but made it for informed consent to be
understood and given? Does the evidence of the film convey a sense of respect
for the lives of others or have simply been used as signifiers in someone
else’s discourse. When it happens that
may jeopardize or injure one of the social actors. Life is observed, does the
filmmaker have a responsibility to intervene conversely, and does he or she
have the responsibility, or even to continue filming. If they are observed by someone
else, to what extent do their own observations on the process and results of
observation a place in the final film.
Exchange and representation in the interactive mode,
the representation of the historical world becomes, itself, the topic of
cinematic meditation in the reflexive mode.” The reflexive mode askes the
question how we talk about this historical world.
Nichols (2000) “If the historical world is a meeting place for the processes of
social documentaries like The Thin blue line leaves the viewers with two
distinct dilemma.” Firstly it’s posed the issue that the words might be direct
and specific, secondly the text poses it as an issue for the audience by
highlighting the degree to which people or social actors look as if before us
as signifiers as purposes of the text itself.
The performative documentary mode is the straight
opposite of the observational documentary mode.
According to Nichols (2000) “Performative
documentaries will emphasize and encourage the filmmaker’s involvement with the
subject” Performative documentaries have a custom of more passionately driven
and may have a greater political or historical motivation. Because the
filmmaker tends to be passionately involved, performative documentaries will typically
be subjective in one way or another. Unlike many modes of documentary,
performative do not set out to reach a truth but show a perspective or what is
like to be there. The mode is by its description comparatively low budget,
and in the case of Broomfield and Moore’s work, self-financed, permitting
the filmmaker to produce a more private piece, less subjective by entertainment
values. Nevertheless the end results may not necessarily be less prejudiced or
subjective, the performative documentary mode is always truthful on a
individual level, intentionally or otherwise.
is Deborah Scranton’s award winning documentary film. In this documentary film
Scranton’s gave five hand held digital camera to
five US National Guard soldiers to record their experiences when they were sent
to Iraq war for a year. The captured footage cut with skillfully recorded
interviews conducted when they got back from Iraq with their family members.
The internet played an invisible collaborator of this documentary film. “The
intimate power of the internet exploding on the movie screen. Without instant
messaging, the soldiers could never have become filmmakers without email and
cheap video, they soldiers could never have told their stories as they
happened.” (Scranton 2006).
Nichols introduces the the performative mode of
documentary as the “deflection of emphasis away from a realist representation
of the historical world and toward poetic liberties, more unconventional forms
of narrative, and more subjective forms of representation” (Nichols,
2010, pp.202-203). In this way, performative documentaries rely on
grabbing viewers attention through visceral and emotional experiences rather
the communicating on a conceptual level (p. 203).
Nick Broomfield and Michael Moor is a picture-perfect
example of the performative/participatory documentary film making. Possibly the
modes most famous. An English filmmaker, Broomfield works with a small crew
members, himself and an extra cameraman, and is a vital personality to all of
his films. By including the footage Nichols introduces the the performative
mode of documentary as the “deflection of emphasis away from a realist
representation of the historical world and toward poetic liberties, more
unconventional forms of narrative, and more subjective forms of
representation” (Nichols, 2010, pp.202-203). In this way,
performative documentaries rely on grabbing audiences attention through
visceral and emotional experiences rather the communicating on a conceptual