How to create a documentary video for your business

If you’ve got a topic you really care about, you can make a documentary video about it. Be it a freelance tutor, showcasing art, or DIY at home recipe, or an established brand, we can’t just bombard our audience with sales messages. We’ve got to bring value and insight to our content – otherwise, no engagement can be sustained for long!

A documentary video is a video or film that examines a real-life theme, person, event, or problem. They are often educational and/or instructive in nature, very specific, and have an appealing tone to them. Finally, a story is usually recorded with sincerity that, in theory, moves anyone who sees it. Making a documentary video for your business can attract new customers and retain new ones. A documentary video, with the insight and education it provides to viewers, can be a real asset to your business. They’ll be thirsty for more knowledge and stories from your business – which means you’ll need to keep up the good work!

How to go about making an attractive documentary video for your target customers. We hope these informative points will be useful.

Stage 1: Planning

Documentaries are all about deep-diving into a topic, uncovering truths, giving voices to the unheard and having a profound emotional impact on the viewer.

Making a documentary video isn’t just a tick-box exercise; once you have identified a story that you care about and you know your audience will also lap up, or you know which topic can create a need, it is good to get acquainted with your topic pretty well beforehand. This will ensure you know all the best questions to ask, after a proper research.

Make a plan and outline for your documentary video – To ensure your documentary video production goes as smoothly as possible, draw up a detailed but clear outline. 

Say if you have chosen an Interview type documentary video, Jot down the exact things you want to shoot, and when? This includes filler footage, or b-roll. In addition, think about your interviewees. Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to talk to them about? How will these interviews slot into the wider documentary?

To make a high-quality documentary video, you need high-quality video production equipment. It doesn’t always have to equate to a big, bulky kit. Rather you’ll find more flexibility with smaller equipment you can easily carry around with you. For example, if your documentary goes on the road, you’ll want to keep the equipment light. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice quality in the process.

Check legal, copyright and ethical issues before shooting – Before filming on locations or interviewing people for your documentary video, get the required permissions, clearly informing that the documentary will be aired on various platforms. Also inform how you will be crediting them, in writing so that it minimises any misunderstandings. A written agreement can be simple laying out facts, about your subjects’ consent to film them, about social media, time frame if required, credits, disclaimer, etc.

2: Filming the documentary video

Get a variety of shots to keep things interesting – If this is your first time making a documentary video, research on the different shot types you can take advantage of. Besides the basic long shots, wide shots and close-ups, consider these.

  • Vlogs (the cameraperson holding and speaking to the camera on the go)

  • Talking heads (filming people straight-on; extempore interviews – involves telling the core argument, along with reaction shots that help make the video engaging)

  • A-roll (your best footage that focuses on the main topic, or the critical element)

  • B-roll (filler footage of the surroundings that can be pleasing to the eye, but not distracting)

Filming the interviews – To ensure your interviews make pleasant viewing.

  • Make the setting comfortable for the interviewee, and quiet so there are no disruptions or distractions

  • Choose emotive interviewees who will give engaging reactions. Audience gets influenced by relatable reactions.

Stock your footage safe and organised – During the shooting period, keep filing your footage away regularly in a well-organised folder. That way, you’ll make it much easier for yourself when you get to editing.

3: Editing and distribution

Editing process – For edit 1, gather all the good footage you captured and scrap the rest. Edit 2 should be a further cut of edit 1, chopping the documentary into an appropriate length. For edit 3, add your b-roll to fill it out and give your viewers a brisk perception of the critical matter with enough breathers.

It’s almost always a good idea to add a subtle background music track to your documentaries. Not only will this clean up the sound quality of your video, but also enhance its mood and atmosphere. Desktop apps like iMovie are good places to add music to videos and edit their timing and volume, faze in, etc.

With the advanced detailing, there is so much more that can be delivered via a short documentary video. Sociological documentaries, for example, can contain graphscharts, and still photos to show all sorts of information that videos cannot. 

A big part of your visual language is the text – In a truly multimedia documentary project, text is central throughout the video. Say, if your documentary is on mediaeval history, your text cards can be written in cursive or calligraphy font, on a background image of parchment.

Finally edit 4 – add all your extra decorative bits – animations, transitions, etc. You may also have a narrative voiceover running through it; if so, you should have already written a script for this and recorded the audio.

In case you have to later edit the size of The same documentary for uploading to different media, you can enhance the same visual content by voiceovers (and subtitles!): To make your project more accessible to disabled audiences and the significant portion of viewers who watch videos with no sound, always add text transcription so everyone gets the most out of your film.

Think about  news TV: pictures, cards of just textinfographics, and recorded audio can be vital to any documentary, and keep your audience engaged while making sure you get all your information across.

Distributing your documentary video

Finally, you can share your documentary video with the world! Depending on the purpose of your documentary and how much money you have, you’ll either share it in cinemas, on TV, DVD, streaming or YouTube. Teasers of the same documentary can be flashed on facebook, Instagram, twitter etc with a link guiding the audience to your youtube channel or website for full viewing. Time your flashes in regular intervals as a reminder for the audience as well. 

Alternatively, you can also hire an agency to create these videos for usage in the long term. Agency will help create a high quality documentary video, addressing the critical message and branding to your varied audience. The agency (like ours) will also help you with prominent placement on your intranet and internet pages, and advice on timely sharing on corporate social media channels.

Connect with us for a free consultation at info@neonvideos.com