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The Intersection and Improvising



Documentary filmmaking is very different from narrative filmmaking in a sense that much of your best material in a documentary may indeed be something you captured "on the fly". My natural inclination is to set up the camera, frame perfectly, correct any exposure or white balance issues, triple check precise focus, check audio for complete cleanliness, and make sure the actors are timed exactly right. Unfortunately for me, this is no what documentary filmmaking is. Sometimes you just have to press record and hope for the best because a golden moment is in front of you.


This was the case when me and Caleb went to the intersection where the accident happened. We had approached the location already with a firm grasp on what material was needed but what we would be doing. While we did get what we needed to, I noticed a moment between Caleb and his little daughter that needed to be recorded (he brought his family with him). I held up the camera and started recording. It was unnatural; pressing record without checking all the boxes but if I hadn't followed the advice of others and just press record, I would not have captured a precious moment that very well might make it into the cut.

This lesson learned was much more about affirming to me that while the "pick up and shoot" method may be unnatural to me, it proves to be effective when creating a documentary. It never crossed my mind how much I would learn from just the simple things but it's those moments that make you grateful you were recording. Thankfully, exposure and focus were correct for the shots and little correction was needed.

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