Initial Ideas and project development.

I developed my initial ideas during the planning stages of my project that can be viewed on the planning tab on the Major project page.

There are numerous skills I want to improve during the production of this film. Technical camera skills are not a strong point of mine. Improving my knowledge of camera’s and technical issues will help me in my chosen career in the future as a Producer as I will have the expertise and vision to create creative projects. The demand for multi skilled Producers who can shoot as well as lead with vision has increased in the industry to increase productivity. Knowing how to operate a camera and shoot will give me a competitive edge against other applicants. More information on self shooting and how this can benefit a person in the television industry can be viewed here.

In order for me to become confident in self shooting, I need to improve my technical skills on cameras. The skills I most want to develop during this project are:

  • Framing of subjects
  • Using light – natural and man made
  • Using 2-shot camera techniques to give a unique look to my documentary
  • How ISO and Shutter speed can alter footage and how it looks on screen

Further research

As my documentary is aimed at a Channel 4 audience range between 16-35, I decided to further research Channel 4 documentaries and the codes and conventions they typical use. By doing this, It will help me understand what Channel 4 commissioners look for in their program’s and enable me to apply my finding’s to my own work. I looked at numerous different documentaries that focused on disability that have been shown on Channel 4 in the recent past years. My findings can be found here. I learnt that disabilities can be presented in different ways and the way in which they are presented can affect the way the audience feel. In addition, each documentary represented disability in different ways. Some were voyeuristic so allowed the audience to experience and sympathise with a character, others used less emotion and more comedy. I found I was more drawn to the emotional documentaries showing me that empathy and sympathy impact the way the audience think. It is also important to mention that I found that all the documentaries I looked at focused on basic human emotions of happiness, sadness, love, anger and fear. Using these emotions takes the audience on a journey and this is what I want to do with my audience.

I looked at Channel 4’s commissioning guidelines at to find out what traits Channel 4 look for so I can apply them to my documentary. I found that Channel 4 Commission documentaries that feature:

  • Warmth and humour
  • Authenticity – Ideas must reflect the real world.
  • Freshness – Tells a story that hasn’t been told before.
  • Innovation – Use of technology that is breaking new ground.
  • Compelling storytelling – Gripped by narratives that unfold.
  • Distinctive and eye catching.

I think my documentary idea is authentic. I think I am covering a topic that reflects the real world today. Attitudes about disability are changing today and are more accepted in society but I want to discover if disabled people are treated as equals in society. I think my idea is both engaging and relatable to a wide, broad audience. I feel my idea can bring a documentary perspective to the topical subject of disability. Disability covers such a broad range. Not all disabilities are the same. I want my documentary to feature different disabilities to offer different points of view.

Research on Framing can be found here

Further research on subtitles can be found here.

Further development of final idea.

Through Primary research, learning that the DDA was abolished in 2010 and replaced with the Equality Act 2010 helped me a lot as now my documentary will be current and relevant.

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If I had carried on referring to it as the DDA, this could cause confusion to viewers and it would give out incorrect information and this may cause viewers to not take the documentary seriously as inadequate research was done. Viewers may think the documentary was filmed years ago and is irrelevant to now due to using DDA terminology. The research carried out on the DDA in my initial planning is still useable to my documentary as the topics are still relevant to the Equality Act. The Equality Act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. I like how the Equality Act is not singling out disabled people. The Disability Discrimination Act actually sounds quite negative whereas the Equality Act sounds much more positive and opens future opportunity for me to deliver to a diverse audience. In the future, I could expand my documentary to a series to cover other areas of the Equality Act such as same sex couples or LGBT communities.


Pre Production is a major part of my production to ensure everything runs smoothly and any crew and contributors involved with my film knows exactly what is going on. Conducting secondary research means I have real facts and through learning these facts and statistics, it enabled me to create relevant questions to ask my subjects and also gave me an idea of professional contributors I wanted to include in my film. Alternatively, I feel I could have done more primary research. I asked questions on social media but I think a focus group or questionnaire may have benefited me more in learning about what society think about the topics I am concentrating on and to discover viewing habits.   This is because I want to create a documentary that is of interest to my targeted audience. Administrational paperwork is a skill that comes natural to me. I have a good eye for detail on paper! This part of the production process is one I enjoyed the most. I felt like I applied my knowledge and skills well to the pre-production process. The experience of using these skills will be essential and useful to me as  a practitioner as it shows I can use analytical, organisational and problem solving  skills which will be essential to a career in production management that I want to progress in.

All pre-production for my documentary that I carried out, can be viewed here:

call_sheet 1     call_sheet 2    call_sheet 3    call_sheet 4    call_sheet 5    call_sheet 6 Contacts List   crew call_sheet 1    crew call_sheet 2    filming Schedule                              Legal Constraints     recce_checklist 1     recce_checklist 2    recce_checklist 3 recce_checklist 4    recce_checklist 5   risk 1    risk 2   risk 3   risk 4 ab   Script – Robert     script MDUK    Script Questions – Doug Paulley     Script Questions – Romina Puma      Script Questions amy     shooting schedule     AV Script  permission 6.   permission 5.   permission 4.     permission 3.      permission 2.       permission 1.



When I initially started shooting, I encountered many problems and was not happy with my footage. I was unprepared from a technical level. I was confident with the pre production paper work side of things (Health & safety, call sheets, Recce’s etc) as this is the area I want to work in, and I think it shows in the detail of these items however the research I had done previously on framing, composition and conventions, I did not apply at all. At the time I wasn’t thinking about the look of my film rather just getting the interview done as I only had the location booked out for two hours and I only had the contributor for an allocated time. I couldn’t go back to re shoot the interviews I had done due to time and location issues.  In order to correct the issues I had faced and ensure I  didn’t make the same mistakes again, I took part in a lighting workshop to develop my knowledge and skills. The outcome of this workshop can be found here.

I encountered many issues when filming. I learnt that as a practitioner you should always double check everything. I was told that the camera I was using didn’t need an external mic as the inbuilt audio was good. However when listening to my interviews back, there was a lot of background noise and humming and some subjects were too quiet. This could have been avoided if I had used an external mic to pick up sound.

Also my assistant wasn’t up to speed with camera techniques and although I asked her to set the camera up to the same setting’s I was using, she didn’t. As a practitioner I should have double checked this. She was also confused as to what shots I actually wanted her to take meaning the two camera set up I wanted in order to get different views of the same interview did not go well. All of the footage from the second camera was unusable. In the future I will ensure all crew helping out know how to operate the camera and are able to do so confidently.

Most importantly I have learned that you cannot put a time on interviews. To get the best look, it may take numerous takes and setting up of cameras and equipment takes a lot longer than you think. Rehearsal run throughs are important to put contributors at ease. Having experiencing the issues with my initial interviews, I knew to give extra time to my next contributors and spent time setting up equipment and testing different light settings to get the best look. Equally I also experienced keeping my contributors waiting around whilst I did the set ups which can be irritating. In the future, I think it would be a good idea if I was able to go set up all equipment and have a call time to set for contributors.

I found that when asking the questions to each of my contributors, I was finding myself listening to their stories which then prompted me to ask more questions. This was helpful as it meant I was delving further into feelings and emotion of my subjects and thus giving me a deeper story in my film.

Post Production.

During Post Production, I was able to try and change my over exposed shots with colour correct. I changed the colour to fit with the following clip below.

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When I tried the colour correct with a darker image of my shoot it caused the white background to go Pink so I decided to stick with the above shot after colour correct.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 12.14.26

Colour correcting the over exposed shots means they don’t look so out of place and fit in with my documentary. In the future to avoid this I must ensure my camera is set to the correct ISO and Aperture so my subjects are not over exposed.

As I didn’t get enough cutaway shots relating to my subjects and their stories, I found royalty free footage online at the following websites:

This footage will help my film to flow and stop random jump cuts and also add to the telling of my story.

I decided to be the narrator as I have a personal experience with disability. In order to create the script I was telling, I researched actual facts and figures from various websites so my information is true and revealing and will also help my audience to understand just how important this story is.

I got facts and figures from SCOPE  – a disability charity and GOV.UK and also Department of work and pensions.

Overall, although time consuming as I had a lot of footage, I really enjoyed putting my documentary together.