Content Story: Mini Documentary

For the final project in an online video production class, a mini documentary was required. Mini documentaries allow you to showcase not only your filmmaking abilities, but your storytelling abilities, and how you can merge the two skills together to create an enriching and immersive experience for your viewers. 

In an age where everyone talks about COVID whenever they can, I decided to take a different approach to my project and not bring up the pandemic whatsoever. Instead, I felt that a story about two brothers who grew up playing video games, and eventually learned how to mod video game consoles, would be entertaining. 

The timing worked out as I was going to visit them a week before the project was due, so I can get all of the filming done while I was there. The filming process was a lot trickier than I thought, as trying to find light when I don’t have any of my own proved to be a challenging task. We ended up using a powerful halogen light placed very far away so it would not blow out the exposure, and for the most part, I think the interview and b-roll footage look pretty good. 

When I started editing the project, however, I quickly realized that I did not capture enough b-roll if I wanted to stretch my project to the five-minute time limit. I decided to fix it the only way I knew how, and went into After Effects to create some basic animations that could help describe some of the processes that my interviewees were discussing in the video. 

Mini documentaries are also one of those projects that require a lot of planning, especially trying to figure out which shots you want to be featured in your final video. Always plan to capture as much b-roll as possible, even if you don’t think you’ll use it in the final edit. You’ll be surprised by how smart of an idea that will be looking back.

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