How to make a documentary film? - Basic Tips & Suggestions

I have no idea since when I have started loving documentary films. I think they have a greater appeal than commercial cinema because they are treated with raw hands.

I would love to make a documentary film someday. Dedicating this thread to sharing ideas/concepts/tips for beginners like me for making our first documentary film.

Let us assume that we are shooting with a normal digicam or cellphone camera. What are the different things that one should keep in mind before starting to shoot? (apart from concept, ofcourse 😛)


  • Ashraf HZ
    Ashraf HZ
    Isn't the concept stage is quite big already? 😛 How would you plan the documentary out? Perhaps the script needs to be fleshed out, then a simple storyboard to illustrate what you want to shoot and how you want to shoot it.

    I think its better to invest in a digicam rather than using a cellphone camera if you wanna do documentary. Shouldn't cost that much these days. You'd want to be able to capture decent video quality to make it a more enjoyable viewing experience. A separate microphone set should be used if you are going to interview people, then in post production you can sync the video and audio together.

    I believe lighting plays an important role in capturing good images, so planning on the time of day and weather.

    Oh, and a good video editing software is a must 😀 If your ok with using Linux, there's a highly acclaimed free video editor called OpenShot.

    I'm also looking forward for tips by others too!
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    @ash: I think Apple's iMovie is also a great choice. Never tried OpenShot.

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