Research into Documentary genres and modes

The definition of a documentary is that it is a factual film or TV programme which presents facts, information on political, historical and sociol issues. Documentaries are suppose to document reality, however it is impossible to present this reality without it being a construction of the truth as people may present the Hawthorne effect or the documentary may be edited in a way where it presents a particular perspective, therefore they cannot be objective. Documentary makers often decide on a thesis before the construction of the documentary.

There are 6 modes to a documentary«

1. The poetic mode
It transforms historical material into an abstract and lyrical form. This mode also resembles sections of the world.

2. The Observational mode
This is where technology advanced resulting in smaller and lighter cameras, which made is easier and less intrusive to document real life, in its own habitat, actor where free to act, and the documentary makers where free to film without having to interact with each other.

3. The participatory mode
This is where the film- maker and the interviewee interact with each other in a conversation entailing a series of questions and answers, whilst filming. This enables the documentary to express genuine thoughts and feelings for the interviewee.

4. The reflexive mode
This mode relates to the quality and truthfulness of the documentary, it criticizes the observational mode as it questions the ability to present the truth. In this mode it considers the pragmatics and implications and tries to get the audience to read in-between the lines to construct a informed opinion.

5. The expository mode
This is where an argumentative frame is constructed is direct and narrative form from sociol issues.

6. The Performative mode
This is where emotional and subjective aspects of the documentary are acknowledged. These ideas are presented as part of the context, but there are different meanings for different people. These different modes respond to the phases in which documentaries have developed, as new generations emerge, these modes are either challenged, or re-invented new forms and conventions.

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