Documentary videos are fun to watch, one can find documentaries about any topic. Wildlife, Culture, Road trips, Taboos and the list goes on. The interesting part of a documentary is that you can experience the journey of the documentary just by watching it and as a result you end up both educating yourself and also cursing yourself for stuck in a desk job not being able to explore the world. But as fun as it maybe to watch a documentary, it isn’t that easy to make one, certainly not when the client approaches a video production service company as blank as an empty word file. This is a case study on a documentary that we produced from just a pile of footage’s given to us.

Please take a look at the documentary before we move any further.

Alright! So. It looks fun. You feel like you should go on a bike ride too (which you will probably postpone until forever) Anyways when the client met us, all they had with them were the endless footage’s captured by their Go-Pro camera fitted to their helmet.     

They were driving 6 hours/day for 5 days. So that’s 30 hours of footage were a group of men who did three things.

1. Driving

2. Refer No 1

3. Ditto.

The client said “we would like to see this as a video”, cool as a cucumber. After banging our heads for some time, we decided to turn this into a documentary. Sounds like a plan huh! But how? That was the question that made everyone excuse themselves for a cup of tea. We still did not have a plan until the panic monster called deadline showed up, there were no more walls to hide behind. After much brain storming and creating a lot of ideas we finally found our answer in the word “DOCUMENTARY” itself. Documentaries are primarily about documenting emotion and information.

But we just had footage of few men riding their bikes that only documented different terrains to say the least. We pitched an idea to our client requesting a shoot that would document the riders experience. After initial reluctance riders did come to the shoot with their bikes and decided to document their experiences in celluloid. But that’s the tricky part.

It’s not easy for non-actors to open themselves up in front of the camera, even though some where natural it was still hard for them to randomly talk about their trip. We quickly realized they had to be guided, by guiding we do not mean prompting, we did not want them to repeat the written lines, instead we guided their answers through our questions. Sounds shady? Let just say we knew what we wanted from them so we framed our questions in a way that would evoke the kind of response we wanted, a few riders did surprise us with unexpected answers but it was all in good means. Sure, you can’t hear us questioning in this video but that’s because its only the answers that matters.

Now that we had shots of riders documenting their experience we still had to structure the documentary in a certain way that conveys a certain message which the clients insisted “Bike riding can change your perspective of the world”. Our strategy was to give the viewer both the exiting visual experience of different locations and the emotional experience of the riders. The visual experiences were delivered through the montages in the video and the emotional experience was delivered through the interviews of the riders. We structured the documentary with both visual and emotional experiences in a way that it is not forced but which flows through like a river with no check dam in its path.

The tool which we used to evoke both enthusiastic and emotional response from the viewer was the music. Music did help in setting up the mood over the course of the video but it had to be backed up with good editing technique. In this video the music and the editing techniques are in complete synergy evoking the intended reaction from the viewer. It is challenging to reduce an almost 32 hours of footage to a 6 min 40 sec documentary but by accepting the challenge we did find a way to convert a bunch of arbitrary footage’s into what we consider a meaningful documentary.