• aaliyahy


Research is a significant element when it comes to creating any form of media. It helps to not only give you more insight into the subject you are focusing on but also helps you to establish your target audience and agenda. In Documentary, research is especially important as documentaries hold a certain integrity unlike other genres as an audience expect some element of truth or reality in what they see. Research can be divided into many means, first, you have the research on the subject that is being discussed and secondly you have research into the genre type and its conventions.


Researching into your subject is important as the more research that is carried out – the more the filmmaker is specialised on the subject and therefore can decide on a specific focus of the documentary, giving the documentary purpose. This point is highlighted by Andy Glynne (2008) who says ‘If you don’t know much about your subject area, then you simply won’t be able to make a good film.’  This is showing the strong relationship between research for your film and the quality of the final film you produce, and that there is a correlation between them. Research is not only something that happens in the beginning stages of production but it is an ongoing process (Glynne 2008), showing that it is a reoccurring and a dominant aspect in the production of a film.  This may also be the reason why Research is a major item that appears in most film and video budgets (Eckhardt and Rosenthal 2016), therefore highlighting it’s significance to the final edit of a film.


Convention research or genre research is just as important as researching your topic as you need to make sure you are using the appropriate medium to tell the story. Conventions allow your audience to have a certain expectation of the films they see and adhering to these allows your audience to know what to expect.  However many can argue that this results in audiences getting bored of constantly seeing similar content.  This is why subverting conventions sometimes catch the viewer’s attention more as it makes a film unique and different, yet can leave some disappointed if the final film does not meet the expectations they had of the genre. The importance of researching conventions of your medium or genre is so that you can make an informed decision as to which conventions you will conform or subvert to and how your final film will affect the audiences that view it. You’ve got to know the rules to break them!

To summarise, the relationship between research for a documentary film and the final edit is strong and as the quality of research improves, so does the quality of the final edit. Research is an important element throughout the stages of pre-production, production, and post-production and is constant and therefore is consistently affecting the final edit of a film. Both through research on topics and genre/medium research can we truly create media content that is best suited to our intentions and audience and in creating the best quality films that we possibly can.


ECKHARDT, N. and A. ROSENTHAL, 2016. Writing, directing, and producing documentary films and videos. 5th ed. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press

GLYNNE, A., 2008. Documentaries : and how to make them. Harpenden: Creative Essentials, Kamera Books


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