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How Is a Conservation Documentary Different from a Regular or Short Video?
How Is a Conservation Documentary Different from a Regular or Short Video?
When it comes to choosing what kind of video you want for your organization you can sometimes come away feeling even more confused.
In a sea of short videos flooding social media, some organizations seek to go a different routes to stand out and maybe even create events or fundraisers centred around a signature film.
Documentaries, regular videos, and short videos are all forms of visual media, but they differ significantly in terms of purpose, structure, and impact. While regular videos and short videos often aim to entertain or convey a specific message, documentaries are unique in their ability to delve into real-life subjects, present in-depth research, and convey powerful narratives that bring about awareness, education, and social change.
Defining a Documentary
Documentaries are like the intellectual cousins of regular and short videos. While they all fall under the umbrella of visual storytelling, documentaries have a distinct flavour that sets them apart. So, what exactly defines a documentary? Well, think of it as a genre of filmmaking that aims to capture and present real-life subjects or events, often with a journalistic approach. Documentaries delve into the untold stories, shedding light on social issues, historical events, or even quirky subcultures.
Documentaries Are Like The Spinach of the Video World
While regular and short videos may entertain or inform, documentaries go beyond mere entertainment value. They strive to educate, raise awareness, and provoke thoughts and discussions. Documentaries are like the spinach of the video world, nourishing our minds with meaningful content.
Exploring Time Constraints
Length of Documentaries
When it comes to length, documentaries are often the marathon runners of the video world. They can span anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. This extended duration allows filmmakers and the organization to thoroughly explore complex subjects, diving deep into the intricacies of the chosen topic. Documentaries give viewers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the subject matter, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.
Significance of Duration in Regular and Short Videos
Regular and short videos are more like the sprinters of the visual realm. They are designed to capture attention quickly and deliver a concise message within a short span of time. These videos are meant to entertain or provide quick bursts of information. In our fast-paced world, where attention spans are shorter than ever, these bite-sized videos cater to our need for instant gratification.
Goals of Documentaries
Inform and Educate
One of the primary goals of documentaries is to inform and educate the audience. They act as a window into worlds we may have never encountered otherwise. From nature documentaries that teach us about the wonders of environmental causes to investigative pieces that expose the urgent need for conservation efforts, conservation documentaries have the power to shed light on important subjects and expand our knowledge.
Raise Awareness and Advocate
Documentaries serve as a platform for raising awareness and advocating for change. They spark conversations and inspire action. By shining a spotlight on topics such as climate change, habitat destruction and restoration, species at risk, conservation causes, etc, they have the potential to ignite social movements and create a lasting impact.
Entertain and Engage
While documentaries are often associated with serious subjects, they can also be highly entertaining and engaging. From stories of conservation success and restoration, to heartwarming tales of human triumph in challenging landscapes to study and save birds, documentaries can captivate and emotionally resonate with viewers. They prove that learning doesn’t always have to be dry and dull – it can be a thrilling and captivating experience.
Contrasting the Storytelling Approaches
Linear Narrative in Documentaries
Documentaries typically follow a linear narrative structure. They unfold in a chronological order, presenting events and information in a cohesive and logical manner. This approach allows filmmakers to build a comprehensive narrative arc and guide the audience through the story from start to finish. By presenting facts and testimonies in a structured way, documentaries offer a compelling and immersive storytelling experience.
Non-linear and Experimental Narratives in Regular and Short Videos
Regular and short videos often experiment with non-linear storytelling techniques. They may use flashbacks, jump cuts, or other creative editing methods to convey their messages in a condensed format. These videos are quick and snappy, aiming to grab attention and make an impact in a short amount of time. By breaking traditional narrative conventions, they can surprise and engage viewers in unique ways.
Examining the Differences in Filming and Editing
Extensive Planning and Pre-production in Documentaries
When you tell your conservation story in a documentary format you spark a connection. Documentaries help make us human. It is through storytelling that we learn lessons and shift perspectives. Stories help humans learn what is right and what is wrong. Documentaries about conservation can change minds
Documentaries require meticulous planning and pre-production to ensure everything falls into place. From scouting locations to securing interviews and coordinating shoots, every step is carefully thought out and executed. This attention to detail is what helps documentarians capture those compelling moments that make us go, “Wow, I can’t believe that happened!” So, if you enjoy behind-the-scenes glimpses into the filmmaking process and appreciate the effort that goes into capturing real-life stories, documentaries are your jam.
Flexibility and Efficiency in Regular and Short Video Production
Regular and short video production, in contrast, tends to be more flexible and efficient. Since these videos are often scripted or have a specific message to convey, the production process allows for quicker turnarounds and improvisation. With less emphasis on lengthy planning and more freedom to experiment with different filming styles and editing techniques, regular and short videos can be a playground for creativity. So, if you prefer a more laid-back and spontaneous approach to video production, regular and short videos will be your cup of tea.
Analyzing the Impact on Viewer Perception
Immersive and Thought-provoking Experience of Documentaries
One of the greatest strengths of documentaries is their ability to immerse viewers in real-life stories and provoke thoughtful discussions. These films often tackle social issues, historical events, or personal journeys, providing a deep emotional connection. Documentaries can challenge our perceptions, evoke empathy, and inspire us to take action. So, if you want to be transported to different worlds, see life through someone else’s eyes, and have important conversations, documentaries are a must-watch.
Capturing Attention and Quick Engagement in Regular and Short Videos
Regular and short videos excel at capturing attention and delivering quick engagement. These videos are designed to make an impact in a shorter time frame, offering bite-sized entertainment or information that can be consumed on the go. With their fast-paced editing, catchy hooks, and snappy humor, regular and short videos can grab your attention and leave you wanting more. So, if you’re in need of a quick pick-me-up or a humorous distraction, regular and short videos are the perfect go-to.
Gregg McLachlan is a full-time professional conservation filmmaker and photographer based in Ontario, Canada. Since 2010 he has worked in the field with Canada's leading conservation organizations at the local, provincial and national level to tell their stories of research, programs, and causes