Documentary Production

Prof Dev Vrat Singh


Central University, Ranchi

Professor Dev Vrat Singh has been actively engaged in the media profession, teaching, training, and research for the last 24 years. A professional-turned-academician, Prof. Singh earned his doctorate in Mass Communication in the specific area of television news. He studied radio and television journalism at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi in 1997. He was actively engaged in television journalism with many national channels before joining media academics. At present, he is a Professor of communication at the Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. Previously, he has also been associated with Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Institute of Mass Communication and Media Technology, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra and Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Haryana. Dr. Singh has authored five books on Electronic Media History, Television Journalism, and Television Content. His 20 research papers have been published by many reputed research journals. He contributed chapters in 12 books and more than 50 articles in various newspapers and magazines. He has supervised more than 100 Master’s Degree and M.Phil. dissertations and two doctorates. He has been frequently invited as a resource person by the national broadcasters All India Radio and Doordarshan in its programs. His research interests are Indian Perspectives of Communication, New Media and Visual Media


Press Release

Public Relations Society of India

 Day 14 of PR – Mass Communication Orientation Programme for Students with

Prof. Dev Vrat Singh (Central University, Ranchi)) on 14th October, 2021

New Delhi

14th October,2021

On the fourteenth day of the lecture series, Prof. Dev Vrat Singh was the guest speaker for this academic initiative by PRSI. In his lecture on ‘Documentary Production’ He started by telling about the importance of documentary, photography, and visual media.  He discussed software that helps largely in script editing. He talked about the importance of pre-visiting as an art of pre-production at the location to identify issues and planning to solve them during actual production. He also discusses various equipment used by directors and producers like Tripod, reflectors, memory cards among others. He explains the structure of the process which includes, pre-production, production, and post-production. He encourages a variety of shots as sometimes, useless shots become useful at the editing table. He talks about the importance of logging and discusses the Script format in detail. He gives advice on what to use and what to avoid while editing. The lecture was well presented with various examples and was a success.

The Public Relations Society of India started 15 Day PR – Mass Communication Orientation, inaugurated by Shri Naresh Bansal – a member of Rajya Sabha, Mr. Phileppe Borremans – President of International Public Relations Association and organized by Dr. Ajit Pathak – National President of Public Relations Society of India and Mr. Y Babji – Secretary General of Public Relations Society of India took place on October 3rd, 2021. The programme was conducted in association with the Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies and sponsored by HPCL.


प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

पब्लिक रिलेशंस सोसाइटी ऑफ इंडिया

छात्रों के लिए जनसंपर्क और जनसंचार अनुस्थापन कार्यक्रम

चौदवा दिन: वृत्तचित्र निर्माण (डॉक्यूमेंट्री प्रोडक्शन)

प्रो. देव व्रत सिंह

(केंद्रीय विश्वविद्यालय, रांची)

नई दिल्ली: 14 अक्टूबर, 2021

पब्लिक रिलेशंस सोसाइटी ऑफ इंडिया के 15 दिवसीय पीआर-मास कम्युनिकेशन अभिविन्यास कार्यक्रम के चौदवे दिन पर अतिथि वक्ता थे प्रोफेसर देव व्रत सिंह जी। प्रोफेसर सिंह रांची में स्थित झारखंड केंद्रीय विश्वविद्यालय के जनसंचार विभाग में संचार के प्रोफेसर हैं। वह पिछले 24 वर्षों से मीडिया प्रोफेशन, टीचिंग, ट्रेनिंग और रिसर्च में सक्रिय रूप से लगे हुए हैं।

छात्रों के लिए ऑल इंडिया पीआर मास कम्युनिकेशन ओरिएंटेशन प्रोग्राम के आज के सत्र में प्रो.देव व्रत सिंह ने ‘डॉक्यूमेंट्री प्रोडक्शन’ यानि वृत्तचित्र के निर्माण के उपर चर्चा की।उन्होंने हमें बताया कि कैसे एक वृत्तचित्र का निर्माण किया जाता है और इसे बनाते समय क्या बारीकियां शामिल होती हैं। प्रोफेसर सिंह ने हमें बताया कि वृत्तचित्र एक बौद्धिक कार्य है जिसमें तकनीकी और रचनात्मक दोनों पहलू शामिल होते हैं। उन्होंने उद्धृत किया कि वृत्तचित्र को ‘रियलिटी ऑन द रील’ के दस्तावेजीकरण के रूप में वर्णित किया जा सकता है। यह एक फिल्म का एक गैर-काल्पनिक (नॉन-फिक्शन) प्रारूप है। उन्होंने बताया की अब हम डिजिटल क्रांति के युग में रह रहे हैं, जिसकी वजह से समकालीन समय में मीडिया पेशेवरों के लिए दृश्य अब पहले से कहीं अधिक प्रासंगिक हैं।

उन्होंने आगे उन सॉफ्टवेयर्स के बारे में चर्चा की जो स्क्रिप्ट संपादन में काफी हद तक मदद करते हैं। उन्होंने वास्तविक उत्पादन के दौरान होने वाली समस्याओं की पहचान करने के लिए प्री-प्रोडक्शन के हिस्से के रूप में स्थानों का पूर्व-विजिटिंग के महत्व के बारे में बात की। उन्होंने निर्देशकों और निर्माताओं द्वारा उपयोग किए जाने वाले विभिन्न प्रकार के उपकरणों जैसे ट्राइपॉड, रिफ्लेक्टर, मेमोरी कार्ड आदि पर भी चर्चा की। उन्होंने प्रक्रिया की संरचना की व्याख्या की जिसमें प्री-प्रोडक्शन, प्रोडक्शन और पोस्ट-प्रोडक्शन शामिल हैं। उन्होंने उत्पादन के दौरान अधिक से अधिक शॉट्स प्राप्त करने के लिए भी प्रोत्साहित किया क्योंकि वे संपादन टेबल पर उपयोगी हो सकते हैं। अंत में उन्होंने छात्रों को लॉगिंग के महत्व के बारे में बताया और स्क्रिप्ट प्रारूप पर विस्तार से चर्चा की। आज के पूरे व्याख्यान को विभिन्न उदाहरणों के साथ प्रस्तुत किया गया जो की फेसबुक और यूट्यूब लाइव पर सफलता से आयोजित किया गया था। इस 15 दिवसीय पीआर – मास कम्युनिकेशन ओरिएंटेशन पोग्राम की पहल पब्लिक रिलेशंस सोसाइटी ऑफ इंडिया द्वारा की गई है, जिसका उद्घाटन श्री नरेश बंसल – राज्यसभा के सदस्य, श्री फिलिप बोरेमैन – इंटरनेशनल पब्लिक रिलेशंस एसोसिएशन के अध्यक्ष और डॉ अजीत पाठक द्वारा आयोजित किया गया है। इस कार्यक्रम के सहयोगी भागीदारों है – हिंदुस्तान पेट्रोलियम (एच.पी.सी.एल) एवं विवेकानंद इंस्टीट्यूट ऑफ प्रोफेशनल स्टडीज (वी.आई.पी.एस)।


Summary of the Presentation
By Mr. V.S.R. Naidu
Chairman
Amaravathi Chapter

Summary of 14th PRSI Orientation Program of Mass Communication for Students, the Speaker being Prof. Dev Vrat Singh, Central Univesity of Jharkhand, Ranchi and the Subject being-“Documentary Production”

Initiating his lecture on the topic, Prof. Dev Vrat Singh made a reference to the digital revolution we are in for the last 2 decades and the importance of digital smartphones which can capture images, videos, etc that are being shared on social media. Against this background, the importance of visual communication becomes very crucial and the documentary, photography, and all other visual media becomes very relevant and the importance of visuals also increased manifold, he said.

Coming to Documentary, the core part of visual communication, he clarified that Documentary is nothing but documenting the reality on the reel.
It is a non-fictional film or television program that provides a factual report on a particular topic captured during actual occurrence or re-enacted using still images, video, animation, graphics, or interviews of people involved in real events with an emphasis on factual content than an entertainment.

He mentioned that millions and millions of people are watching U-tube format which is providing a platform for a lot of documentaries.

The basic purpose of a Documentary is to document factual events/content. He made a reference to Four important things one needs to remember while attempting for a documentary viz Facts, Documents, Reality, and the Truth.

According to him, the subjects broadly chosen for documentaries are; *Historical,
*Profile-about life journey of a person. It’s called a Profile documentary such as the documentary on Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore…
*Tourism- these documentaries give a feel of virtual traveling and a feel of a visit.

  • Educational
    *Political
  • Science on scientific issues
    *Issue based
    *Corporate- now-a-days corporate sector are also using documentaries for image building.

Prof. Dev Vrat Singh mentioned that in India many are working on different issues and are involved in documentary production. He exhibited some videos of Mike Pandey, known for Wild Life & Environment, Bedi Brothers on Wild Life. He further mentioned Anand Patwardhan’s Political documentaries based on contemporary political issues, Anwar Jamal who works on Social & Cultural issues, Gouhar Raza on Historical & Science documentaries, Saba Dewan whose specialisation is on Women issues and Ashwin Kumar on Wildlife and Social issues.

The very important aspects involved in the process of Documentary making, according to Prof. Dev Vrat are; *Developing an Idea:-selection of the topic is the first and foremost exercise, has to be the latest and need-based topic for the society.

  • Brainstorming:-involving team members, experts and concerned people.
  • Framing the topic:- it has many dimensions such as climatic and weather conditions, the category of people to be covered whether it is farming community or Urban community.
  • Concept:- the perception from which the theme to be selected and the area to be covered.
  • Treatment:- how the topic to be treated. Always preferable to focus on one small area or perspective of topic.
  • Interest Generation:-proper care has to be taken to generate interest because the documentary is meant for audience.
    And lastly * Creative Elements:- involving interesting Videos, Images and Interviews etc.

“Documentary making is an intellectual work”, he remarked. Before initiating a documentary production, he emphasised on “Research” as a very very important aspect involving the following exercises and are broadly divided into 2 categories viz Primary Sources and Secondary Sources.

  • Primary Sources are the People on the location and the People related to the topic.
    It is necessary to visit and talk to them to get an idea of the proposed documentary.
  • Secondary Sources:- consisting of Reading books, Search in the Internet, Watching the previous productions, going through Newspapers, Magazines and Government records apart from Self experiences of the theme.

The next important step in a documentary production according to Prof. Dev Vrat Singh is “Scripting”. An expert can only do it and It can not be done in one go. The format of the documentary has to be simple and it should be interesting.
While scripting, the writer needs to keep in mind the idea of the documentary, Images required, characters involved, Places to visit, Concepts, Events, Dreams, Fantasies, Memories, Real-life experiences, Social Issues, and Social problems.

He advised that the scriptwriter has to make a list of shots that need to undertake pre-visits to the locations before shooting as it gives an idea about future challenges while shooting besides the advantage of connecting the people and the locations. It is also necessary for the scriptwriter to take sample shots to see how they look like, the kind of shots and also an idea about lighting levels whether any artificial lighting is required and most importantly the Reconstruction part to judge about nature of the shots and the persons who are likely to enact in the documentary.
Stock footages are also very important for future use, he said.

Scripting does also requires an idea about the Audience profile- the kind of people-or they Rural or Urbanites, their education and knowledge level, Language and symbols to be used, etc.
It’s needed to decide whether to go for Traditional formatting where an anchor‘s service is used or to go with the Latest & New experiments where narration is by actual people.

The speaker further cautioned about certain Limitations of Scriptwriting & Documentary production such as *Fund constraints as it is linked up with time and resources, *Sponsor’s need which is purpose-oriented as in the case of Government organisations or Tourism departments to attract domestic, national, and international tourists, *Amount of Time available to obtain permissions required, to deal with *Legal issues, *Time & Season-usually winter season is preferred and *Limitations of equipment requiring audio-video and lighting equipment.

The Rough Script is an essential part of Documentary production, he emphasised. It is required for guiding the shoot, should contain the list of visuals with details, to provide tentative narration, if needed, list of people to be interviewed, list of questions to be asked, location details, and lastly the production plan.

Sometimes, the Director and Producer also contribute to Scripting. Rough scripting helps the Director and also the Cameraman in regard to narration and sequence of the story and with the kind of shots required.

Later on, the script is again edited and the final output – the edited script is prepared for the shoot.

Prof Dev Vrat mentioned Computer Software Companies that have their own format and help in Scripting software.

He pointed out that “Pre-Visits” (Recce) -are part of pre-production and they are very much required in order- to get the real feel of the people and the location/s; to know about the possibilities; to be able to foresee the difficulties, and to plan the production. Pre-visits are also required to assess the season, to decide the timing of the shoot to be done in the morning or in the evening, to make travel arrangements, food arrangements, and to hire the people locally or from another place depending upon the budget provision.

He detailed about ‘Hiring of equipment’ used for the production of the documentary such as Video cameras, Tripod, Microphones, Lights, Reflectors, Memory Cards, and Batteries.
He also made a reference about Booking lounging arrangements and Hiring vehicles for transport.

Now comes the action part of the Documentary production- Shooting. Prof. Singh recommended taking as many visuals as possible at different angles and also a variety of shots because useless shots also might be useful while editing.

After the shooting is over, “Logging” is very important, he said. Logging is Raw footage in the various forms of clips. The clips are to be numbered datewise and location-wise.
Logging helps in transforming the shooting script into an editing script. A shooting script is done with no idea about a sequence of a story, visuals, graphics, etc while an Editing script is done with clarity of visuals, graphics, videos, still images, etc. Once the Editing script is totally done, it becomes the Final script with a Title plate, Data tables, Maps, Charts, Illustrations.

Care to be taken about Supers, necessitating to mention the Name and Designation while interviewing a person. In case there is any inconvenience about the language of the Bite person, translation is required, he cautioned.
‘Voice’ is quite an important element in a documentary for which a professional needs to be hired from the market, might be a Male or Female depending upon the need and mode of the documentary and the charges range from Rs.30/-K for half an hour film in one language. In some cases, there might arise dubbing into different languages in the National interest.

Lastly, the documentary has to have a ‘Credit Line’ covering all the team members, he stated.

In a nutshell, the entire exercise and process of production of a Documentary are divided into 3 parts-Pre-production, Production, and Post-production.

“Once the editing is over and documentary is ready, how to approach the audience and how to show it to the world”-Prof. Dev Vrat Singh asked and concluded his speech with a note that it is done by Broadcasting on TV channels or by releasing the film in the shape of CD/DVD or through YouTube/Vimeo or by participating in Film Festivals and Competitions.

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