Month: June 2014

Professional Practice; Task 5: SSI Evaluation

Below is the original proposal form I handed in with my intitial idea for my special subject investigation.

Special Subject Investigation (SSI) Research Project Proposal Form


Your name:

Victoria Grant

Your course:

HND Creative Media Production Yr 2

Your supervising tutor:

Paul Smith

Please describe the topic of study:

The subject, Methodology (Qualitative or Quantitative), resources you will require and proposed schedule.

Award winning female directors vs. male directors over the past 60 years (1950 – 2010)

I will focus on the quantity of female directors vs male directors who have won awards at major award ceremonies. I will be using a qualitative methodology based on the ratio of female to male directors that have been nominated, and the number of awards given to female directors versus males. I can access archives from the organisations’ websites which are reliable primary sources as it is statistical data.

Justify your intended research project for it’s suitability, achievability, availability of research materials and relevance to your vocational subject area:

The information I need is readily available, and is a primary source as I will be collecting statistical data straight from the source, therefore I feel it is an achievable topic of investigation. In addition, I am only focusing on two or three of the oldest award ceremonies/festivals so my investigation is not vague and I can obtain reliable data that will give me an informed outcome. I will also look at quantitative data, in forms archives and social studies, to have an understanding and maybe an explanation to support the statistical data I will find. My vocational area of study is television and film production, and I am very interested in the study and production of film. Film awards are the most prestigious ways of being recognised and celebrated for your work, especially as a director. It is any filmmakers’ aspiration to be recognised at such award ceremonies like ‘The Oscars’ or award festivals like ‘Cannes’, so it is also an aspiration of mine. Also, being a female in a male dominated ‘workplace’ I feel it wise for me to investigate this subject so I can further my knowledge and understanding of how I could reach this goal considering it is primarily hard for females to obtain these prestigious director roles of multi-million funded productions and in turn receive awards.

Provisional title for the study:

Award winning female directors vs. male directors over the past 60 years

Do you intend to include a practical component (presentation of results) in your research project?

If so, then please explain how it will relate to the overall research project focus:

Maybe in the form of a graph so I can compare male vs. females directors over a time period to further validate my investigation.

Please give a brief overview of your previous experience of this topic (e.g. from previous modules/units/research investigations) and outline the areas that you have started to explore so far in your research that is relevant to this SSI:

We are always being encouraged to enter festivals and competitions so I am already an active part of the competition side of things and haver briefly looked into the first ever competitions like ‘The Oscars’, the ‘BAFTAS’, ‘Golden Globe Awards’, etc. In film studies units, we have had to research directors of the films we watch and study, and their successes.


My original idea was to research and analyse why there is a gender equality within the media industry, and I was going to show this inequality by finding statistics on how many females have won awards for media related work compared to males. I was going to focus on 3 award shows, however I looked for archives of the nominations and awards, and I either couldn’t find the information or it was only showing statistics for the previous 10 years, and I wanted to base mine over approximately 50- years. I should have done more research on the topic before  submitting this idea as my final SSI. Had I done so I would have realised the lack of data and that I wouldn’t acquire enough research to evidence my point. In addition to this, I was advised that my subject was to broad so it needed to be narrowed.

Thinking along the same lines as before I still wanted to concentrate on gender inequality, and I decided one of the best ways of doing so was to focus on a case study. My subject was going to be Gale Anne Hurd, a world  famous producer of television and films. I was going to focus on how she has succeeded as a female in a predominantly male industry. Still proving my point of gender inequality, but using a case study to justify my argument. My tutor agreed that this could be an option.

After having done some research on Gale Anne Hurd, I faced a problem that I could not find enough material to make or justify an argument. I could not find enough material to contribute new knowledge on the matter, so I chose a different subject instead. There was plenty of information on Gale Anne Hurd, such as interviews and blogs about her, but there was not much information on how she has struggled as a female, most of the information was just about how she found success on what projects she has worked on. This would not validate my point so I needed to change my subject matter. I discussed this with my tutor and he agreed that I s hold take a different path.

I started to deviate away from gender equality and think of a more specific subject. I thought about what subject/s interested me, and I  thought of a couple. I have always been a fan of film, hence I am on this course. The horror genre is one of my favourites and I had done analytical work on films beforehand so I had experience in that area.  I then thought about what in particular i was going to analyse about the film, and decided on a subject I was less familiar with- cinematography. It would give me a chance to further my knowledge on the subject of cinematography whilst critically reviewing a film. I knew that there were plenty of resource materials on both cinematography and information about the film I wanted to analyse – Halloween. I already had literature on cinematography so I went ahead and started my final choice of special subject investigation, on cinematography and how it is used effectively in Halloween.

I felt I used a good process when researching for my analysis. I researched the technique of cinematography and then analysed how it was applied to a film. I used both secondary and primary research to collate my data. I found reliable data that has been validated by practitioners about the technique of cinematography, so I knew it was valid information. I also used qualitative data in the form of interviews, and it was valid because it was the opinions of professional practitioners and the opinion of the people that actually made the film. Having said this, I could have found more literature to further validate my information about cinematography. For further development of research into cinematography, in the future I would like to look at other films of the horror genre and analyse the cinematography of them, to discover whether there are any similarities or even patterns that are used to create tension and suspense within a film.

 For further development of research into cinematography, in the future I would like to look at other films of the horror genre and analyse the cinematography of them, to discover whether there are any similarities or even patterns that are used to create tension and suspense within a film.




Professional Practice Task 3: Conduct Individual Investigative Project

Halloween, 1978, John Carpenter, Dean Cundry


 Secondary Sources from Internet

Anom. (2014). Halloween. Available: Last accessed 31st May 2014.


Box Office

Budget: $300,000 (estimated)

Gross: $47,000,000 (USA)


$300,000 (estimated)



$47,000,000 (USA)

$60,000,000 (Worldwide) ( 1978)

AUD 900,000 (Australia) ( 1979)

$782,277 (Germany)

HKD 450,139 (Hong Kong) ( 1979)

SEK 2,298,579 (Sweden)



750,000 (Germany)

118,606 (Sweden)



$18,500,000 (USA)


Filming Dates

April 1978


Copyright Holder

Falcon International Productions






In 1978, a low-budget film about a masked killer stalking a young babysitter in a quiet Illinois suburb took the film industry by storm.

Filmed for just over $300,000 (about $1m today), John Carpenter’s Halloween has since made more than $47m.

Cinema audiences were terrified and delighted in equal amount and Michael Myers, with his battered white facemask became a pop culture icon, preceding the likes of Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked brute from the Friday the 13th films and Freddie Krueger of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

“I can believe it,” says the now 65-year-old semi-retired director, about the span of time since he created one of the ultimate movie monsters.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The best compliment I got was standing outside a theatre and hearing the audience scream, that was just delightful.”

John Carpenter

“I’m old now, 35 years ago I was a young kid then just trying to make a movie but some part of me still feels like that young kid.”

Prior to Halloween, Carpenter had already known some success with the exploitation film Assault on Precinct 13 which, although a flop in the US, had enjoyed some resurgence in Europe after being screened at the London Film Festival in 1977.’ –


Slasher genre

Although the idea of a stalking killer was not a new one, having been seen in films like Michael Powell’s voyeuristic Peeping Tom; Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13 and even Tobe Hooper’s creation Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween’s Myers was a different beast.

“We had this idea of Michael Myers being not quite a human but almost a supernatural force,” says Carpenter. “Evil as a force of nature in the personification of this man.

“So we put him in a mask so he wouldn’t have human features.”

The two-dollar rubber mask was a likeness of Star Trek actor William Shatner, sprayed a bluish-white – and it terrified people.


‘None of this is new, there have always been ghost stories.”

“The best compliment I got was standing outside a theatre and hearing the audience scream, that was just delightful.”

Halloween ushered in the era of the slasher movies of the 1980s. Though they were not the first, it – along with Friday 13th – brought the previously niche horror genre hurtling into the mainstream.

Carpenter, however, plays down his reputation as the father of the genre: “I think the main reason that Halloween inspired other movies was very shrewd producers looking and saying, ‘This idiot made this for $300,000, we can do it and make money’.

“It’s all about making money in Hollywood. It wasn’t about art.”

The slasher genre now looks relatively timid when compared with the explosion in what became known as the “torture porn” of the 2000s. Super-violent films such as Hostel and the Saw franchise undoubtedly built on the brutal nature of films like Halloween and Friday the 13th.

Since then, filmmakers have returned to the basics with ghost films like The Conjuring and The Woman In Black, which have proved to be a massive draw at the box office.


A remake of Escape from New York has long been planned

But Carpenter – who has dabbled in ghostly tales such as The Fog and Christine – again insists: “Horror films have been around since the beginning of cinema and each one leads to another so they continue to morph and change depending on society.

“None of this is new, there have always been ghost stories. There are just new ways of telling stories.”


Kev Geoghegan. (2013). John Carpenter reflects on Halloween 35 years on. Available: Last accessed 29th May 2014.



This is using secondary qualitative research but because it is the first hand opinion of the cinematographer himself I will have more of an insight into the techniques and style Dean Cundey.


Widely considered one of the best cinematographers of all time, Dean Cundey has been behind the camera on classics such as Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Escape From New York, Back to The Future, Big Trouble in Little China, Jurassic Park and Apollo 13, just to name a few. However, he may still be best known for his work on the 1978 horror classic Halloween, which celebrates its 35th Anniversary this year with a brand new Blu-ray release. Although it had been used sparingly in films such Rocky and Marathon Man, Dean Cundley helped spawn a whole new era of cinematography with his use of the “fluid prowling camera,” which later became known as the Steadicam. I recently had the chance to speak with this legendary director of photography over the phone about his experiences on director John Carpenter‘s horror classic. Here’s what he had to say.


Dean Cundey: Well, it had been used very little, up to that point. Three or four films had used it, but only in limited ways. Any time there is new technology like that, people look for a way to use it, but they don’t always think of the most ingenious things. They looked at the Steadicam as a way to replace a dolly or a handheld camera. One of the things that John and I really tried to do was find a way to turn the camera into a character. What we used it for, was actually pretty unique, for the time. Now, of course, it’s become such a ubiquitous thing that almost every feature carries a Steadicam and Steadicam operator. At the time, it was such a special thing that you had to designate two or three days for its use.


Dean Cundey: I had gone to Cinema Products, who had the original Steadicam, to try it out, and then Panavision built their own version. I went to Panavision along with a couple of my crew guys, and we tried it out. I put it on and walked around, through cars and stuff. There’s actually a piece of film on the Internet, that test film that we shot. We pretty quickly figured out that it had some great potential. We used the Panavision version of it, and it came and went, I remember, according to when we needed it, because it was an extra budgetary consideration, but it was a device that we really thought could have potential, beyond replacing the dolly. It’s something you always hope to do, which is use the camera in some way to draw the audience into the story, and attach to them emotionally. We thought that this would be a new way to do that.

Brian Gallagher. (2013). EXCLUSIVE: Dean Cundey Talks ‘Halloween’ 35th Anniversary Blu-ray. Available: Last accessed 29th May 2014.



Secondary research- Interviews

Secondary Research: Interviews from Documentary- Visions of light: Cinematography

Secondary research from book: Cinematography



I watched ‘Visions of light: Art of Cinematography’ in hopes of getting a fuller understanding on the subject of Cinematography. The documentary included commentary and opinions from many top cinematographers, filmmakers, D.O.P’s etc. and spoke about the problems and successes cinematographers had with well-known films  and how it affected the aesthetics of the picture, but they did not talk about the technical components that created the shots, which was what i was looking for. An interesting watch but I did not find this information useful and did not consider it when analysis and writing my investigation.

Interview Notes



Beginning structure research/Notes/ Book sources



Here I looked at both cinematography and film art to compare and contrast the style and techniques within both, to find similarities and differences to find a generic conclusion of techniques to look for during my analysis.

This is my use off cross-referencing.


I found that both books were good reliable sources to find information on cinematography. They are both well-established books that are highly recommended for filmmakers so I can trust the information is valid. However I found that ‘Cinematography’ had a lot more information than ‘Film Art’, probably because Film Art covers many subjects within film whereas Cinematography’s main and only focus is the use and application of Cinematography. Reading these books gave me a wider knowledge on the subject and helped improve my terminology so I can be more accurate with my analysis.


Primary research- The analysis notes.

This is the main part of my subject investigation where I will do an analysis of the film ‘Halloween’. It is primary research because it is an analysis from my perspective, formed on the knowledge I have required through research. I broke it down into scenes and analysed 4 main aspects of cinematography in each scene, which showed in my final report.



Colour Grading Task 3

Task 3

For Tutorial

In conjunction with all the research material I have found on the subject matter, I have collated a series of clips from the internet  which I will use for my final edited tutorial on Colour Grading, which are below. – Jons pt 1 Brings in a fast colour-corrector effect to set black and white points to get contrast back into the shot. Also selects a white point using the eyedropper tool to auto-correct the white balance. Plays with the mid tones to get it to a good contrast. Gets rid of a blue hue over the shot by using the hue colour wheel to move 180 degrees opposite to take the cast off, bringing saturation back into the shot.

Den Lennie. (2012). Color Grading 101 – Part 2- Primary Correction in Resolve 9. Available: Last accessed 19th March 2014. Video tutorial

colour correction.colour grading. primary is colour correction. secondary is colour grading. Colour correction which could come under primary grading is looking at luminance and hue. balancing the shot



Here I have drafted a script which I will use for my audio in the final tutorial:

Hello, my name is Victoria and I’ve made this video to talk about colour grading. I will address 4 questions in which I will answer throughout this video. The first question asking, what is colour grading? After doing some research I have concluded that everybody has variations of what they consider to be ‘Colour Grading’ including many colourist professionals. You have to consider the term ‘colour correction’ when looking at colour grading because it is a part of it. Colour correction involves adjusting the hue (the colour or chroma) and the luminance (brightness and contrast) in an image. I consider colour grading to be the overall effect given to the piece using more complex colour corrections, to create a style suited to the narrative or the artistic needs of the video. So colour correction is the correction of technical faults within the video whereas the grade is the overall style produced. Colour correction can be considered as primary grading, which I will be showing you later in this video. Colour grading has become a necessity  in film editing, whether it be film or television, but why do we colour grade?

In doing these sort of colour correction I stated before, it can eliminate a colour cast in a clip, correct video that’s too dark or too light, or set the levels to meet broadcast requirements. It can also match colour from scene to scene so the shots are continuous and flow. You can even create a mood or atmosphere using these basic colour corrections but I would refer to creating a style or mood within video as ‘Colour Grading’.

When colour grading the are many software options to consider.There are basic video grading tools within software such as Adobe After Effects,and Final Cut pro. But then there are more advanced editing software’s you can use for colour grading such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve. Davinci Resolve is the most complex and arguably the best software to use. It was made specifically for colour grading and is now considered an industry standard.

Now I’ve gone through what software’s are available I will show you some basic primary grading tools within premiere pro. I feel that out of all the software’s, premiere pro is the most accessible to students and has a user-friendly interface. I will be using John Holmes primary grading tutorial and explaining his process. As I stated before primary grading uses colour correction to make the shot as accurate and clean as possible in preparation for secondary grading. In most cases when bringing your footage in, there will need to be alterations. The first step is to correct any under or over exposed shots, this could be due to an incorrect white balance during filming. He brings in a fast colour-corrector effect to do this primary grading.  He selects a white point using the eyedropper tool to auto-correct the white balance. He then uses a the hue, balance and angle colour wheel to play with the mid-tones  to get the shot to look natural like it did in its original environment without having that blue hue. He then sets black and white points to get contrast back into the shot. In essence your black points, the darkest points in your shot should have a value of 0. your white points or the brightest parts of your shot should be nearer to 1, or 100 depending which scale your using. He can see these values using graphs and scopes, which you can see here.Gets rid of a blue hue over the shot by using the hue colour wheel to move 180 degrees opposite to take the cast off, bringing saturation back into the shot.

There are so many software options and those were just a few basic tools within one of them, all of which offer many possibilities in improving a films quality. Most footage needs to be colour graded and with technology advancing all footage will be digitally captured in RAW or Flat mode and ‘Colour correction and colour grading’ will become compulsory within post-production. Thankyou for listening.

Assessment Task 3

Regulatory Bodies in Film, TV and Advertisement


The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) are UK’s independent regulators of media across all platforms – Film, Adverts and TV. It is a non-statutory organisation, however they have a code of advertising practice that reflects a lot of legislation that is already put in place. It is not government ran but paid for by a levy on the advertising industry by The Advertising Standards Board of Finance (Asbof) and the Broadcast Advertising Standards Board of Finance (Basbof). The have specific codes and guidelines drafted and put in place by the Committee of Advertising Practice that they adhere to when considering and reviewing media that will be broadcast. They mainly investigate ads, sales promotions or direct marketing based on public complaints, to make sure they adhere to their guideline and that do not ‘ mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise’.


Once a complaint has been made, the ASA will review it and decide the seriousness of the matter. If it is a minor complaint the issue is resolved fairly quickly, for example they can get an ad changed if it is a minor mistake. If it is a formal breach of their codes they will carry out a formal investigation. The ASA council will rule on the matter if this is the case, and will publish their Adjudication on their website. If there is a situation where there is a substantial flaw or further evidence has arose, there is an Independent Review Procedure in place, where the Independent reviewer of ASA Adjudications can ask the council to reconsider their original decision on the matter. This could be a result of the complainer or advertiser disagreeing with the original review.


The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) is a regulatory body put in place to examine and decide on the age rating for any given film released in the UK. They make this decision by using two examiners to analyse a newly released film, who then write a detailed report and give a recommendation on what ‘category’ it falls under, along with any cuts or other actions that they feel necessary. The examiners decisions are then reviewed for confirmation that it is the right classification. If there is a situation where a classification cannot be agreed upon, other member of the BBFC will review it until a decision is made. Other organisations that are associated with BBFC are The Consultative Council (an advisory forum chaired by the president or vice-presidents of BBFC) The Advisory Panel on Children’s Viewing (APCV) and The Video Review Committee (VPRC)

The examiners look at issues within the content that involve discrimination, drugs, horror, imitable behaviour, language, nudity, sex, sexual violence, general violence and theme when categorising a film. In addition to the context, theme and the impact (how it makes the audience feel)


Below are the classifications and the criteria that defines them:


U : A U symbol stands for Universal. This means it is suitable for audiences aged 4 and over, however at this lower end it is hard to predict what will upset a particular child but a U is classified by:


. Infrequent use of very mild language ( e.g ‘damn’ and ‘hell’)

. Characters may be seen kissing and cuddling with reference to sexual behaviour, but no overt focus on sexual behaviours, language or innuendo.

. Violence will be very mild. Brief fight scenes or moments where the character is put briefly in danger could be included, but the moments of emotional stress or threat will be quickly resolved making sure the outcome is reassuring.


.Their may be brief scary scenes and moments, but they should be balanced by reassuring elements.


. There will be no emphasis on the use of weapons and the ‘hero’ characters are unlikely to use any sort of weapon outside.


. Potentially Dangerous or anti-social behaviour must be clearly disapproved of as young chidlren may copy it.


. No reference too drugs is permitted, unless it is station an anti-drugs message or if it is in brief passing and is not likely to register with the child.



PG: PG stands for parental guidance. This means it is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older. Parents should consider whether the content may upset younger, or more sensitive, children. A PG is classified by:


.A PG film will not contain any theme which is inappropriate for a child. PG works can explore challenging issues such as bullying, bereavement or racism.

. There may be mild bad language dependant on the context and delivery.

. Sex references are unlikely. If a child is unlikely to understand a reference, it may be allowed.

.Violence will usually be mild, showing no detail of violence, only some blood. It is more acceptable in a historical, comedic or fantasy setting.

.Some ‘jump’ moments and frightening sequences may be permitted as long as they are not prolonged or intense.


.In a PG work, potentially dangerous or antisocial behaviour which young children are likely to copy, such as bullying, or playing with electricity, will not be condoned or seen to go unchallenged, especially if it comes across as safe or fun. Realistic or easily accessible weapons, such as knives, will not be glamorised or focused upon in a PG work. Smoking and drinking will not be promoted or glamorised and if child characters are seen smoking or drinking, there should be a clear message that this is bad. If drugs are mentioned or seen, a PG work should either represent them in an innocuous manner or emphasise that they are harmful.


12 or 12A: Films classified 12A and video works classified 12 contain material that is not generally suitable for children aged under 12. No one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. Adults planning to take a child under 12 to view a 12A film should consider whether the film is suitable for that child. To help them decide, we recommend that they check the BBFCinsight for that film in advance.


The 12A requires an adult to accompany any child under 12 seeing a 12A film at the cinema. This is enforced by cinema staff and a cinema may lose its license if adult accompaniment is not enforced for children under 12 admitted to a 12A film. Accompanied viewing cannot be enforced in the home, so the 12 certificate remains for DVD/Blu-ray, rather than the 12A. The 12 is also a simpler system for retailers. It means they cannot sell or rent the item unless the customer is over the age of 12. This is classified by:


. The use of strong language may be passed, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using it its frequency and any special contextual justification.

. Any discriminatory language or behaviour will not be endorsed by the work as a whole. Aggressive discriminatory language is unlikely to be passed unless it is clearly condemned.

. Sex may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. There may be nudity but in the case of a sexual content should only be brief and discreet.

. Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. Occasional gory moments may be permitted if they can be justified by their context.


15: No-one under 15 is allowed to see a 15 film at the cinema or buy/rent a 15 rated video. 15 rated works are not suitable for children under 15 years of age. What you might see use of in a 15 film is:


. strong violence

. frequent strong language (e.g. ‘f***’).

.portrayals of sexual activity

.strong verbal references to sex

.sexual nudity

.brief scenes of sexual violence or verbal references to sexual violence

.discriminatory language or behaviour

.drug taking
18: Films rated 18 are for adults. No-one under 18 is allowed to see an 18 film at the cinema or buy / rent an 18 rated video. No 18 rated works are suitable for children. Below are some of the issues you might find in an 18 rated film:
.very strong violence

.frequent strong language (e.g. ‘f***’) and / or very strong language (e.g. ‘c***’)

.strong portrayals of sexual activity

.scenes of sexual violence

.strong horror

.strong blood and gore

.real sex (in some circumstances)

.discriminatory language and behaviour

bbfc. (2010). How does classification work?. Available: Last accessed 23rd June 2014.


ASA. (2014). About ASA. Available: Last accessed 23rd June 2014.


 Examine 1 TV Programme, 1 Film and 1 Advert That have been banned by regulatory bodies. 




Autopsy: Life and Death


This was a 4 part series based on a series of autopsy demonstrations, conducted by Proffessor Gunthen Von Hagens. The live autopsy, hosted to 500 audience members in November 2002 was due to air on channel 4 shortly after. There was a lot of controversy preceding the broadcast, with people such as Dr Roger Soames, of the British Association of Clinical Anatomists, saying he was appalled at the event, which he described as “sensation seeking”. Channel 4 defended the programme by stating they wanted to confront the ‘ultimate taboo’ that is death. Prof Gunther von Hagens explained that he wanted the autopsy to educate and inform, not shock. The autopsy was conducted on a 33 year old German woman, who died suddenly, although she was a long time sufferer of epilepsy. The professor hoped to provide answers to the deceased’ family. Channel 4 went ahead with the broadcast  and ITC even defended the programmes as they felt it border ed the limits of what is allowed according to their programme code but did not exceed the limits. They stated “The ITC does not consider the programme included any images that were more explicit than those already seen on UK television” and “This was not the first autopsy to be shown and several science and medical programmes have included similar anatomically explicit sequences”. In addition to this the first programme did not air until 11.45pm at night, well past watershed and the actually images of the autopsy did not appear until midnight.

I agree with OFCOM’s (in conjunction with ITC) decision to air these programmes, I believe channel 4’s intention was to educate and not to offend. I can see how people would be shocked to see such graphic imagery  however there were several public warnings shown just before the programme came on, so anyone that would be disgruntled by such scenes would have a choice to not watch it. I think it was more beneficial to the greater public to watch a programme that explains anatomy in a clear, easy to follow manner. It gives people a wider knowledge of a subject they would otherwise be unaware of and a much as people complained, a number of people were reported to ring up channel 4 and praise the programme and even requested for it to be repeated.


Above is an example of a programme that received complaints and had to be taken into consideration by OFCOM, but no further action was taken. Below is a bulletin report from a children’s programme “Bernard” that was in breach of OFCOMS guidelines.


Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.00.12

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 21.02.38Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 21.02.53Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 21.03.01 Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 21.03.08


ITV would have recieved punishment for this breach in the form of a sanction, a fine, or a request to not play the programme again, as it was not except able for the time of day the programme is scheduled to air. I agree with OFCOMS decision that is was in breach. ITV claimed the child was not in actual danger as the girl was stood on the bench and you could not see the knots where she was tied up, however it would be perceived to the viewer (especially a child) that she was hanging, restrained and aged. This is violent content and I feel it could be imitated because a child would think it is an acceptable form of behaviour if they saw it on a children’s programme they are accustomed to watch. I  think ITV could have portrayed the same premise but in a less violent way, I don’t think it was necessary to have a child  hung up and gagged, for example they could have hidden Nicolette in a cupboard to stop her form attending the tournament.




Tango Advert

I cannot find a good quality version on this tango advert that was aired in 1992 but here is a brief description of the advert:

As a youth takes a sip of Tango, an odd, partly-naked man who is completely orange rushes up and slaps him simultaneously on both cheeks. the shock reaction form the youth is meant to illustrate the sharpness of the drink.

Adults could  quickly see the dangers of its’ influence on kids. Children could relate to the playfulness of the man running around and hitting the youth, and found it funny. It could even be considered to be promoting bullying, as the slap is a form of violence. That, in conjunction with it being allied with a soft drink, made slapping seem even more of an acceptable behaviour to children.  Adults recognised that it was easy imitable and following the airing of the advert, The ITC  (The Independent Television Commission) received reports of children copying this in the playground and cases of burst eardrums as a result. The advert was quickly revoked after its release. It was rumoured that it was not banned by any regulatory bodies but pulled by a Tango advertisement executive after a phone call from a surgeon that stead he’d just done an operation on a child’s damaged ear drum as a result of someone carrying out the slapping motion on that child, however, according to the guardian, ‘The Tango ads were banned by the Independent Television Commission in 1992 after the practice was adopted as a playground craze resulting in cases of perforated eardrums.’ – Mark Sweney. (2006). Fanta ‘slap’ ads escape ban. The Guardian. Last Accessed June 23rd 2014.

I agree with ITC’s decision to ban this advert after its release, the funny nature of the advert would give children the impression that it is a fun action and not a violent one, which it is. It was obviously imitated by children, and its it had continued to air, there could have been even more casualties and cases of bullying as a result. The slap was supposed to represent the sharpness of the taste of the drink, which could have been shown in a different manner, which it was in two remakes of the advert. One was the orange man kissing the boy and the other was the victim running away as the orange man approached. These are both acceptable ways to show shock without using violence. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was aimed at an older audience and shown later in the day, but children were already familiar with popular fizzy soft drink and so they became the maine audience for it.




‘Last House on the left’ directed by Wes craven, was banned from 1972 until 30 years later, aside from a home video release in 1982 that was banned by being in breach of the ‘Video Recordings Act 1984’. This is horror story based on two girls, Mari and Phillis, who head to New York to see a band perform, and along the way are confronting by two prison escapees, Krug and Fred, along with their partners. The two girls are kidnapped and butchered by the gang of rapists and murderers. The gang then seek refuge in a nearby house that happens to be the home of Mari. Her mother overhears the criminals talking about the murder of her daughter, and works with her husband to plot a scheme of revenge against the villains.

Mark Kermode describes the film being “about the corruption of violence” and his argument is that it has context to it and that it tries to convey a meaning but in the unimpressed  eyes of BBFC, who viewed the film in July 1974, it was a film not suitable for any classification at all. BBFC Secretary Stephen Murphy said  “Despite your letter, we can find no redeeming merit, in script, in acting, in character development, or in direction, which would lead us to feel that this muddly [sic] film is worth salvaging. Mind you, I wonder whether your editing “to remove some of the gore” (the mind boggles!) has disturbed the continuity. There are passages where we are not at all sure whether we are in fantasy or reality. There are bits where the characters – even under severe stress – don’t really make any sense. There is that discordantly ham sheriff; and the pretty-pretty wood-and-river bit”. A debate continued between the UK distributor and Stephen Murphy until it was clear that the BBFC did not only oppose to certain scenes of the film, but to the film as a whole and so they again rejected the certification indefinitely. 2 years later the distributor decided to take it to the G.L.C (Greater London Council) in hopes that they would grant it a rating much like they did with Chainsaw Massacre, however they sided with the BBFC and The Last House on The Left remained without a licence.

No further action was taken until 1982 when it was distributed for home release and became known for being a ‘video nasty’. A term used in the United Kingdom and given by the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association (NVALA) to describe films that were distributed on video that contained and were critiqued for their violent content. It was this spree of low budget horror films that led to the introduction of the Video Recordings Act 1984, which established a stricter code of censorship on videos than was required for cinema release. The British Board of Censorship were pressured by a public debate about censorship that was sparked by the lack of a regulatory system for videos such as Last House on The Left and the claim that “any film could fall into children’s hands” (IMDB), hence they instigated the legislation. No distributor would dare submit the film knowing its history with the BBFC, until 17 years later when another distributor tried there luck to get it released. Within those years Wes Craven had become a better known director and the film had become somewhat of a cult amongst the public, probably because of the stigma attached with the banning of the film in the first place. Its popularity prevented the BBFC from rejecting the film straight away, however the sexual nature of the violence was still a lasting problem for them. In addition to this the film had been convicted under the obscene publications act, by an illegal screening of the film at London’s National Film Theatre in 1988. So in consideration of releasing the film they asked for 3 scenes to be cut totalling 90 second out of the original. These cuts were advised to decrease the more extreme aspects of sexual humiliation and violence directed at the kidnapped girls, however the distributor thought it would loose its commercial value without the extreme me moments, which was what had made it well-known by this point, so he rejected to make cuts, and  in 2000 it was the first film in 10 years to be refused a classification outright.

Later on in the year new legislation was made from the BBFC, and the new guidelines placed an emphasis on the clearly expressed public view that adults should be free to make their own viewing choices, along as the material in question was neither illegal nor harmful. In response to this, a new distributor resubmitted the film for release, but this time in DVD format. This time the BBFC offered a reduced amount of cuts, totalling 16 seconds, but the distributor still wasn’t happy, especially as an uncut version had been released in America already- so he challenged the BBFC and took his appeal to the independent Video Appeals Committee. This was unfortunately the wrong way to go for the distributor, because not only did the Appeals Committee agree that cuts were required, they also stated that the BBFC had been too generous with the film. 31 seconds of cuts were insisted on before the film could be classified 18 for DVD release in 2002.

Whilst the battle continued The Last House On The Left had in fact been seized with large batches of unclassified works (pirated videos and foreign imports) with the seller pleading guilty in order to receive a more lenient sentence. This showed there was little or no evidence that a jury today would find the film obscene, putting aside any other issues of offensiveness or possible harm. In light of this, the BBFC were again asked to look at the film in 2008, as part of a 3 disc box set. This time the BBFC could look at it with new eyes and disregard the film’s previous history. Although they still found it disturbing, by this time it had been overrun with gory films such as Hostel, Wolf Creek, etc. In consideration that these films had been classified with an 18 rating and uncut, the deemed The Last House on The Left no more offensive than the others and they finally classified the film with an 18 rating uncut on the 17th March 2008.

I feel that when the film was originally up to be certified, the BBFC made the right choice in banning it. It was the beginning of a genre that people were not accustomed to because of the shocking material it contained. However I feel the chairman of the board was harsh in saying that he did not like the film as a whole, because that may have been the persecutive of him and a few others but had they showed it to a wider public audience they may have received positive feedback about it. Even though it shouldn’t have been distributed it was illegally done but people seemed to enjoy it giving it its ‘cult’ reputation. Having said this, the BBFC did give them a chance to release the film but with cuts, and the distributor rejected. I feel the was a fair comprimise but I guess it wouldn’t have been the same film without certain scenes. But as time progresses people become desensitised to things and I think this was the case for this film, allowing it to be viewed by a public that was ready for it.


‘The Independent Television Commission (ITC) receives significant numbers of complaints from viewers that children and young people might copy or be harmfully influenced by undesirable actions or ideas in television advertising. This relates both to direct emulation, ie the copying of dangerous or antisocial behaviour or actions, and to more general emulation, ie encouraging or condoning negative, self-destructive attitudes.’

– Pam Hanley. (2000). ATTITUDES TO TELEVISION ADVERTISING. Copycat Kids? The Influence of Television Advertising on Children and Teenagers. 1 (8), 34-47.

Documentary Task 4: Evaluation


The first aspect of my evaluation will be a comparison of my final finished product against the agreed proposal. All members of the crew were present for the shoot and carried out their roles well. We devised roles as a group on the day and collaborated well, keeping communication throughout. However, we became less organised towards the end of the day, probably because we grew tired of continually filming, but had we captured and collated all the footage to one place instead of waiting till the following day, we may not have lost Sam’s footage and we would have had Frankie’s audio. In the future I will strive to keep concentration throughout and will keep the moral of the group up so we can keep on the ball and prevent any mistakes. The final product needed to show :

‘the process of the Level 3 NVQ make-up artists applying make-up to actors to turn them into zombies for filming. We want to show the techniques used by the make-up artist and the process they have to undergo to transform the actors. Ultimately this documentary will be used as evidence for their work, which will be seen by their tutors. It could also be used for future students to see examples of previous work and to get a feel of some aspects of the course.’

The final documentary does evidence the process including point-of-views from a couple of artists. However, I think we could have shot a better variety of footage to give the artists more evidence for their work. In the final documentary there was only the application of make-up on a few actors, it would have been better to have seen everyone’s process. In addition to this, my documentary only shows the initial stages of the application of the make-up, and the end result at the film shoot. A better way of showing this would have been to capture all stages of the application of make-up so the audience could follow the process better, this could have been shown in the form of a time-lapse. I think this problem arose because there were 4 cameras filming, but at least 10 make-up artists working. We rushed to film everyone and in doing so we got snippets of everyone, instead of a whole make-up application from one of the make-up artist on one of the actors. If we ever undergo a project like this in the future, I will try to better organise the group and assign them more specific roles like certain sections/people. This will avoid confusion  and keep organisation. Having said this I think our final documentary was acceptable to give to the Level 3 NVQ make-up artists as evidence.

The final documentary included the majority of the shots I pre-determined for the sequence. We included interviews from the make-up artists, the tutor and an actor. We originally had interviews from at least 6 members of the make-up group, however the audio got lost and the sound was only recoverable from a couple of interviews. Better organisation skills would have avoided this, however at least there were some point of views included in the final product. I also think we could have asked more specific questions to the actors, as they were theoretically the clients of the artists, this would have given the artists feedback on how to deal with clients which could have been beneficial to them for any future projects involving models. In the future I will better plan questions for any interview. The only shot I didn’t include was an external shot of the location, however I did include an internal shot of the environment leading up to the room that they were based in. I felt the audience didn’t need to see the outer location as it is shown visually and verbally that it is taking place at a college. Although I included all the shots I wanted, there could have been a larger amount of shots to make the documentary longer and include more evidence for the make-up students. This may have been possible had we not lost footage and audio, which again reflects on organisation skills which need to be improved.

I wanted to show the troubles the students faced whilst transforming the actors, for example time constraints or working in a crowded room.  This would have been shown in some of the interviews we filmed, however it was not included because we had no audio to accompany it. It was shown in the fact you could see they were in a crowded room, but it could have been better evidenced.

I think the structure of the final documentary was good, we interchanged between interviews, close-ups and medium shots which created variety and made it more interesting to watch. It flowed well with a combination of static and hand-held shots. As I have stated before more footage would have prolonged the documentary and showed more information the students could have used for evidence. If I participate in a project like this in the future, I will plan the schedule better and include more detail.

We created a proffessional  looking documentary with no budget which was a good accomplishment. Luckily, we had the facilities of the college such as tripods, spare batteries and computers to import the footage which worked to our advantage. For future filming I will look to the college to book their equipment as it is free.


In the edit I used a song from incomputech, a website with loyalty free music. I referenced it as a graphic at the end of the documentary so there were no copyright issues.




The finished product was technically good, we prepared the equipment well before the shoot aside from my slight issue with forgetting the SD card which we quickly recovered from. The footage was easily inter-changeable because we’d set the white balance, shutter speed and aperture to the same value on all the cameras. My technical criticism is that we should have grouped together at the end of our filming, and collated all the stuff we had recorded so we had it ready for editing the next day. This would have given more choice in the edit and I could have portrayed more information. Because we did not do this, footage and audio was lost, although I managed to salvage some of the audio from the interviews using the sound from the camera. I also feel that if I were given more time I could have created a better finished edit, but I was only given a working week to get an edit for the make-up students.


I think the aesthetics of the final documentary were good, I interchanged between interviews, close-ups and medium shots which created variety and made it more interesting to watch. It flowed well with a combination of static and hand-held shots. As I have stated before more footage would have prolonged the documentary and showed more information the students could have used for evidence. One example I stated earlier would have been to include more stages of the make-up artists applying the make-up, and showed it as a time-lapse. This would have showed the passing of time along with all the stages the subjects had to undergo to be transformed. If I participate in a project like this in the future, I will plan the schedule better and include more detail. I received good feedback  from my tutor and the Level 3 make-up students, saying it was a good edit and was interested. Both their criticisms were that they would have liked to have seen more of the application of the make-up. This may have been possible if we’d had more footage, but in future projects I will monitor my peers closer to make sure no mistakes like this are made.I also feel that if I were given more time I could have created a better finished edit, but I was only given a working week to get an edit for the make-up students.

Documentary Task 3 : Produce The Documentary

Finished Production:



At the beginning of the shoot we set up the cameras so they were all calibrated the same. WE all set our white balance using the same paper, set our aperture, f.stops and shutter speed to be the same as one another. This was so in the editing stage we could pick footage from any camera or perspective and the conditions such as lighting and the speed of motion would remain the same and wouldn’t look odd to a viewer.


Production Techniques

We used a combination of close-ups and medium shots and two-shots. This gave the viewer more of a personal  perspective. We used interviews, starting off with the tutor, to explain to the audience what would be going on throughout the documentary. I edited the artists response to our questions over the footage of the actors being made-up and close-ups of the make-up and equipment. This was to make it more interesting to the viewer as they could visually see the process and experience the artists were explaining during the interviews. We also used an interview with an actor to see the process from another point of view.


Production Management


We arrived on location with all the equipment and set everything up successfully, except for one draw-back. I assumed my SD card was in my camera but it was not. Luckily, Andrew had a spare SD card but it was only 8gb, as was his SD card. This meant we couldn’t capture an awful lot of footage until the card would become full. However, because we were located in the college it was easy to upload the footage and wipe the cards as we went along. Also, we had 5 cameras between us so we could capture plenty of footage anyway. We struggled to get into positions that wouldn’t obstruct the artists from carrying out their tasks but managed to position ourselves out the way, and moved fluidly through the room without disruption to others. Sam, Craig and Andrew mainly focused on the action and cut-aways whilst Frankie, Gareth and I focused on interviews. I flitted between helping with the interviews and filming. We filmed right through till about 1pm. We kept communications throughout to keep up to date with each other and too ensure we were getting a variety of footage. A couple of camera’s batteries died, but we had back-ups on charge in a different room, so this only caused slight delays.At 1pm during the lunch period, we reviewed the footage to see if we needed more. By this time, most of the actors had been transformed into zombies bar a few, so a lot of the group would progress upstairs to help with the set up of the scene for the film shoot, and to get shots of the artists keeping the actor’s make-up touched up. Craig continued on getting inserts and cut-aways.  Gareth, Frankie and I would get a couple more interviews. We finished filming by around 3pm, on schedule.


When we came in the following day I needed to collate the footage and audio for my edit. However when it came to getting Sam’s, he had lost it. He said that he had uploaded  it the previous day but when he came to recover it again it had gone. this set me back as I had one less camera to pick footage from, and Sam had captured a lot of the action on his camera. This was unfortunate but at least i had footage from the other 4 cameras to work with. Another issue I encountered was that Frankie had used the fostrix audio recorder to record the artists during the interviews, but he had not captured the audio off the device the previous day.When he went to retrieve the device the audio had been wiped. A lot of the interview recordings could not be included because of this, and I only had the sound from the camera to work with.

Documentary task 2: Pre-production



Documentary Project Proposal
Working Title: SFX Make-Up Documentary

Producer: VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Make-Up Artistry


Cameraperson/s : Andrew Miles, Craig Ellis, Frankie Burrows, Gareth Skinner, Sam, Vicky Grant

Sound recordist: Frankie Burrows

Editor: Vicky Grant

Other collaborators: Rob Prior

Working Hypothesis 


We want to show the process of the Level 3 NVQ make-up artists applying make-up to actors to turn them into zombies for filming. We want to show the techniques used by the make-up artist and the process they have to undergo to transform the actors. Ultimately this documentary will be used as evidence for their work, which will be seen by their tutors. It could also be used for future students to see examples of previous work and to get a feel of some aspects of the course.



The documentary will mainly focus on the students on the Level 3 NVQ make-up course at Brooksby Melton College and their application of special effects make-up.

We will also focus on the actors as they are the subjects that will be transformed by the special effects make-up. We will also include some information from the group’s tutor to give an overview of the task assigned to the students, this will give the viewer a fuller understanding of the activity. This will make an observational style documentary.

Shots/ Sequences


  1. Interviews with students
  2. Interview with tutor
  3. Interviews with actors
  4. External Location shots/ internal location shots
  5. Close-ups of Equipment
  6. Close-ups of application of make-up on the actors
  7. Work areas/ stations.
  8. Medium shots of the artists touching up the make-up during the actors filming.
  9. Long shots of the actors on the shoot.


Main Characters

We will focus on the make-up artists who are applying the make-up to the actors for their assessment, this observational documentary will evidence this. In addition we will show the subject (the actors) as the process progresses.


We will show how the artists apply special effects make-up to the actors to make them look like zombies in preparation to filming. It will show the techniques used in the application of the make-up, how the make-up artists work under time constraints and how they cope in a real working environment. We will interview the students for a fuller explanation of the process and to get their point of view on their assignment.

On Camera Interviews

For each interview, list:

  1. We will interview the make-up artists to establish the process they are taking, what techniques they use, how they feel the process is going and how they feel about the finished product/subject.
  2. We will interview the class tutor to get an overview of the activities that are taking place with the students and what the aim of the task is.
  3. We will possibly interview the actors to see how they feel the artists have dealt with them, and what they think about the end result.


This will be an observational documentary to show the application and creation of special effects horror make-up from the level 3 NVQ make-up artists. We will start by establishing the external location with a wide shot and some wider shots of the internal locations and setting, showing the actors waiting for the process to start and the artists finishing setting-up their stations in preparation. We show the beginning of the application in medium shots and integrate it with close-ups of the equipment and the make-up itself. We will then go in closer on the artists applying the make-up and intersperse it with interviews from both the artists and actors. We will use wider shots of the artists applying the make-up as a group, showing how they have to work around each other, as well an interview with the group leader to reveal more information about the task given to the students. We will then progress to show the actors with the finished make-up applied, and interview a couple about what they thought to the make-up and how the artists handled them. We will show how the artists keep the make-up touched up on the actors during their film shoot. We will end with footage of the actors on set whilst being filmed to show the end result.



We have little to no budget. The crew consists of 5 cinematographers and 1 person on sound, we have all volunteered to help the special effects make-up artist students. To save money and time we will act as all crew members on set. There are no travel costs as the shoot is located at our college. The shoot is only a day long so we will not need travel expenses, etc.




We are filming in the makeup department of Brooksby Melton College. The morning is dedicated to filming the set-up of and application of the make-up, so we will need to be at college before 9.30am to set-up for 9.30am when the make-up artists and actors will arrive. We have to capture all aspects of the set-up, the equipment and the application but only have the morning to do so as the actors have to be ready for the film shoot in the afternoon. This means we will take staggered breaks of approximately 15 minutes so we can continually film to get as much footage for the edit. We can easily complete the filming as the shoot will only last a day because the task the artists have been given is only a day long. We will have finished the set-up shoot by midday and will only take a couple of hours in the afternoon to get footage of the artists and actors on shoot. Gareth and I have estimated that it will take us a week to produce individual edits but our deadline can be extended for in 2 weeks time, which is feasible. Our schedule will run from 9.00am to Approximately 3pm.


Legal/ Ethical Constraints 

Legal Issues.

There are defimation laws in place to stop untrue and maybe even offensive things being said about people. For example a libel defination would be when an unjustifies attack, in the form or writing, publication or broadcast is carried out in some way. This mainly applies to journalists but also media producers. Another form of defimation is slander, which is when a verbal attack is carried out. When these defimations are carried out, they can only be justified if what is said, written or published can be proved as fact, or if it can be deemed as a fair comment that is done in good faith, or if something is in the greater public interest, and it protected by parlimentary reporting.

Another legal issue is copyright, which is part of an intullectual property law. The original makers of books, plays, songs, photographs, etc have autamatic ownership over their own work. Although it is wise to seek legal protection to ensure extra protection. You cannot copyright an idea, only the application of that idea. These pieces of work cannot be used or copied without the permission of the originator, which is usually in the form of payment or royalties for example the distribution of CD’s.

The style of this documentary is factual so we will only be showing  the  actions of those involved which shouldn’t show any untrue information.

Ethical Issues.

Discrimination is also a legal contraint but also an ethical one. It is illegal to dicriminate and offend anyone on the basis of their gender, disability, age or ethinic prigin when employing in the work place. How the media would present such groups and issues are by representing them as architypes or stereotypes.

Ethical issues are not inforced by law, but certain practices and protocal are in place with some media companies to prevent issues such as offensive material (watershed), privacy, explotation, etc, which are all issues of morality (what is right or wrong).

Our documentary just shows the actions of those involved which isn’t of a religious, ethnelogical or cultural nature.


Our documentary will only be used for educational purposes and will not be released to the public for personal profit, therefore we are not infringing copyright.


Call Sheet


Personal releases

Because our video is for educational purposes only, we are not oblidged to acquire personal release forms as it will not be distributed or shown to the general public. However, just to be on the safe side and to get acceptance incase it is shown to other students in the future and not just educational authorities, I gathered personal release forms from all the participants, here are a couple of release forms I acquired :

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Task 1: Development of Documentary

Task 1: Development of Documentary


As part of my documentary unit I will look at the history and development of documentary as a genre.


1877: Eadweard Muybridge develops horses in motion‘, which was a series of consecutive photos. Muybridge then invents the zoöpraxiscope in 1879, a contraption for projecting and “animating” photographic images.

1883: Etienne Jules Marey experiments with chronophotography, the photography of people in movement.

1895: Auguste and Louis Lumière stage the world’s first public film screening on December 28, 1895 in the basement lounge of the Grand Cafe on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris.

1895: A Senegalese woman is filmed by Felix-Louis Regnault during Paris Exposition Ethnographique de l’Afrique Occidentale. This is the beginning of the use of the camera to document ethnographic research.

1919: A manifesto (Kinoks-Revolution Manifesto) is issued by Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov. He calls for a new style of cinematic reportage that documents real life. He criticized the Soviet film industry for relying on the same fictional techniques employed by literature and theatre. Vertov insisted that the future of cinéma depends on reporting the truth. In 1922, he started to produce Kino Pravda (“Film Truth”). This was a sequence of news reportage films that influences both later newsreels and later documentary styles, including cinéma vérité.

1920’s:Several European experimental filmmakers begin to work with styles that use avant-garde cinématic filming and editing techniques, for example fluid camera work and montage. As well as abstract narratives to create impressionistic, highly poetic quasi-documentary works (or “visual poems”). These works include various “city films,” such as Walther Ruttmann’s Berlin: A Symphony of a Great City (Berlin, die Symphonie der Grosstadt) (1927)and Alberto Cavalcanti’s Rien que les heures (1926).

1922: Robert Flaherty films Nanook Of The North. This isgenerallyconsidered as the first feature-length documentary. The film usesa lot of the conventions of later documentary and ethnographic filmmaking, along withthe use of third-person narration and subjective tone.

1925: Sergei Eisenstein films Battleship Potemkin. This is a fictional recounting of an uprising again the Czar. It combines documentary elements with experimental editing and narrative techniques. An influence to the modern day reconstruction videos.

1926: Young Scottish academic John Grierson (1898-1972), writes a review of Robert Flaherty’s ethnographic film Moana for the New York Sun (February 8, 1926). This stemmed from his interest in mass communications in the US. During the review he mentions the term “documentary.”

1928: Dziga Vertov films The Man With The Movie Camera (Chelovek s kinoapparatom). The film portrays a typical day in Moscow from dawn to dusk. Vertov’s aim was to capture “life caught unawares.” During which he uses experimental editing techniques and cinématic innovations to transform and enlighten the content.

1928: John Grierson joins the British Empire Marketing Board (EMB), a governmental agency. He then organizes the E.M.B. Film Unit. In the EMB and later on, Grierson collected a group of talented and energetic filmmakers, including, Sir Arthur Elton, Stuart Legg, Basil Wright, Edgar Anstey,Alberto Cavalcanti, Harry Watt, and Humphrey Jennings.

1930-37: The Worker’s Film and Photo League is formed in the US. It then transformed into Nykino in 1934, and finally into Frontier Films in 1937. The league had the aim of making independent documentaries with a politically and socially drivenagenda. Members include Paul Strand, Ralph Steiner, Leo Hurwitz, Willard Van Dyke, and Joris Ivens.

1935: In 1935, the Resettlement Administration, an agency established to provide aid to farmers and other rural populations, decided to produce films as a method of broadcasting its message to the wider public. The films produced under the Resettlement Administration represent the only production during peacetime by the United States Government of films. Intended for commercial release and public viewing. They started a new direction for American documentary filmmaking in terms of cinématic style and technical sophistication.

1935: German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl is commissioned by Adolph Hitler to film the annual Nazi Party rally of 1934. Triumph of the Will was the end product, a milestonefor both documentary technique and in the use of film as a powerful propaganda medium.

1935: March Of Time newsreel series is introduced.Started up by Roy Edward Larsen, a senior executive of Time-Life-Fortune, Inc. Larsen and his co-workers wanted to draw the attention of the public, andMarch of Time accomplished this by mixing dramatic reenactments, high-quality location footage, and forceful narrationprovided by Westbrook Van Voorhis. The point was to inform and dazzle audiences with “pictorial journalism” These were shown 15-20 minute segments shown between feature films in theatres.

1938: John Grierson visits Canada to consult on the possibilities of a national Canadian film organization. He was appointed Government Film Commissioner in October 1939.During the six years after accepting to lead National Film Board, Grierson gathers a team of more than 800 filmmakers.

1942-1945: Frank Capra enlists as a major in the US Army Signal Corps. During this time, he oversees the production of the documentary/propaganda series Why We Fight.

1950-60’s:With newly developed, hand-held cameras with synchronized sound, a new generation of young filmmakers in the US and Europe attempts to redefine the nature of the documentary film. Termed variously Direct Cinema (US), Cinéma Vérité (France), and Free Cinema (Canada and England), the films created by these filmmakers strive for immediacy, spontaneity, and authenticity—an attempt to bring the filmmaker and the audience closer to the subject. These films are often characterized by the use of real people in unrehearsed situations, as opposed to actors with scripts. Voice-over narration is avoided, and directorial intervention is kept to a minimum. Sets and props are never used and most films are shot on location.

1951: CBS Television introduces the first regular news magazine series, See It Now, hosted by Edward R. Murrow. The program establishes a standard for investigative reporting by tackling large issues at that time, including McCarthyism to racial integration.

1953: National Educational Television (later the Public Broadcasting Service [PBS]) is founded.

1955: Armstrong Circle Theatre is first broadcast on American television. The program is a continuing sixty-minute series. This utilized the form that would be known as “docudrama”—dramatic recreations of real events.

1960: Jean Rouch, a veteran of ethnographic filmmaking in Africa, shoots the pioneering work Chronique d’Un Eté (Chronicle of a Summer) (released 1962) with sociologist Edgar Morin. The film deals with Parisians’ thoughts and feelings at the end of the Algerian war. His approach to documentary is to place his characters in a situation with dramatic possibilities, let them improvise, and then film them. Rouch states that Chronique is an attempt to combine Vertov’s theory and Flaherty’s method. He describes this film as “cinéma vérité” in tribute to Vertov—a direct translation of Vertov’s term “Kino Pravda.”


1962: Canadian filmmaker Wolf Koenig produces Lonely Boy, a profile of pop singer Paul Anka, and one of the earliest pop concert films. Unlike Drew, Pennebaker, the Maysles, and other Direct Cinéma advocates, Koenig integrates the filmmakers into the work “in the theory that the process itself was part of the reality of the work.”

1963: On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder uses an 8mm Bell & Howell home movie camera to film the employees of his clothing company while they waited to see President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas, Texas. Zapruder films the Kennedy limousine and inadvertently captures the assassination of the president on film.

1965: Sony introduces the first consumer 1/2-inch video tape recorder. Philips introduces the compact cassette for consumer audio recording and playback on small portable machines.

1967: D.A. Pennebaker filmsDon’t Look Back. This was an early portrait of Bob Dylan. This film, together with Pennebaker’s concert film Monterey Pop (1967), were two of the earliest films using real life drama to have a successful theatrical distribution.

1968: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) established

1960’s and 1970’s: In the late 1960’s, many filmmakers stray away from the approach of earlier cinéma vérité and embrace a more political and cultural approach to filmmaking. Civil rights, anti-war movements, and the women’s movement contributed to the rise of this technique. Political, social and sexual activism gives people from unspoken communities for example women, gays and lesbians an opportunitity to present their views and ideologies to a wider audience.

1970s– The late 60’s and 70’s and later decades see shifts in the narrative approach of many documentaries. Although cinéma vérité, third-person narrative and other earlier documentary forms continue, first person video storytelling begins and is considered something of a unique genre. The genre lies “somewhere in between the essay, general reportage and the well-told tale. It is marked not only by the first person voice in testimonial, but also by the bringing of the viewer into the world of the storyteller’s experience. Often socially engaged, it is rarely polemical. Indeed, it typically does not make a direct argument, but an implicit request for the viewer to recognize the reality of the speaker, and to incorporate that reality into his or her view of the world.” (Aufderheide, Patricia. “Public Intimacy: The Development of First-person Documentary.” Afterimage, July-August 1997 v25 n1)

1971: New Day Films cooperative is formed by feminist filmmakers Liane Brandon and Amalie Rothschild. It was made to distribute social issue films by independent filmmakers–the first distributor to be run entirely by and for filmmakers.

1973: PBS series, An American Family, the forerunner of what would later be called “reality TV” shows, provides a close-up view of Loud family from a real and natural perspective. Directed by Alan and Susan Raymond. The series shocks American audiences familiar with “Leave it to Beaver” television families.

1975: Sony introduces the Betamax consumer videocassette recorder (VCR) (cost: $2295)

1976: JVC introduces the VHS format VCR (cost: $885)

1980: Sony introduces the first consumer video camcorder.

1982: Sony’s Betacam, a single-unit broadcast-use camera hits the market.

1987: PBS series P.O.V.(Point of View) premieres. The program is a showcase for independent documentary filmmakers with strong political or social opinions, as well as giving an opportunity for viewers to respond to the issues presented.

1988-1991: Congress passes legislation mandating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to negotiate with a national coalition of independent film producer groups to establish the Independent Television Service (ITVS) to ensure that diverse voices be championed on public television. In the next decade, hundreds of notable documentary works air on PBS and elsewhere.

1999: The Blair Witch Project, a fake vérité documentary, grosses over $100 million in the US alone

2001– An enormous number of television programs utilizing some of the techniques of cinema vérité are programmed—so called “reality TV.” These include MTV’s Real World and The Osbournes, Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, The Fear Factor, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Joe Millionaire, The Mole, and Chains of Love.



UC Berkeley. (unknown). CHRONOLOGY OF DOCUMENTARY HISTORY. Available: Last accessed 19/06/14.

Documentary Styles/Techniques

Direct cinema (people filmed in uncontrolled situations; usually no added music; usually no use of narration; lengthy scenes to reveal glimpses of character; suggests an objective observing of reality by audience; requires active participation on the part of the audience)


This technique used as part of documentaries is made-up of staged reenactments of past events, to create the look and feel of real life events. The location and settings are staged, and the people involved are actors. A good example of the use of reconstructive footage would be an English TV programme like crime watch.

Archival footage

This technique involves the use of direct cinema or previous documentary footage, or photographs from the past. It is collated and shown with the objection to review events that took place in the past to create perspective on chosen events. A good example of the use of archive footage was in ‘First Contact’ made by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson, a documentation recounting the finding of a native population in New Guinea who were situated in the highlands, a place that was otherwise known to be uninhabited. It combines the use of footage from 1930 when the Leahy brothers ventured into the unknown area, still photographs from the original expedition along with interviews from the remaining inhabitants and the surviving members of the Leahy brother’ gold prospecting party. They tell their experience of the unforeseen meeting. The documentary was nominated for Best Documentary Feature and for an Academy Award.


Interviews are widely used in documentaries to get the opinion and views of the subject to the viewer through asking questions. This could either be through a direct interview, where the subject is seen and heard answering the questions of the interviewer who can also be heard and maybe even seen asking the questions. The more common use is the indirect interview, where you only hear and see the subject talking and not the interviewer, this is usually to make an impression that the subject is talking directly to the viewer. A good example of this is by one of the leading British practitioners Nick Bloomfield and his creation of ‘Aileen The Life and Death of a Serial Killer’. He uses several techniques to create this thought provoking documentary, one of the most compelling being the verbal accounts from the serial killer herself and her family and associates.




Robert Yayhke. (unknown). A PRIMER OF DOCUMENTARY FILM TECHNIQUES. Available: Last accessed 19th June 2014.