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Sarat Kumar Jena


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Course Name : Documentary

Code(Credit) : CUTM1275(2-2-2)

Course Objectives

  • To introduce the learners about theoretical knowledge and practical aspects in 'Documentary Filmmaking'.

  • To impart knowledge of Pre-production, Production and Post=Production in Documentary Filmmaking along with research and screenplay writing, technical aspects, social aspects, financial aspects, cast, crew and characterization.

Learning Outcomes


  • After the successful completion of the subject the learners will be able to understand the theoretical and aesthetical aspects of documentary cinema.

  • The learners will be able to produce a documentary cinema.

Course Syllabus


Module I



Documentary Theory


Understanding the Documentary
Observational and Verite documentary
The performative/fictive in Documentary: Using reenactment/reconstruction
Ethics and Representation


Module II




Researching the Documentary
Modes of Research: Library, Archives, location, life stories, ethnography
Writing a concept: telling a story
Script Writing, Treatment
Writing a proposal and budgeting


Module III


People and Techniques


The Documentary Crew



Sound for Documentary


Module IV


Video Documentary Production


The Documentary Camera

Shooting styles

Production details and logistics

Editing styles


Indicative Reading List


Badley, W.Hugh. The Techniques of Documentary Film Production, London , Focal Press.
Barnow Erik and Krishnaswamy Documentary.
Das Trisha How to Write a Documentary.
Ellis , Jack EC, A New History of Documentary Film.
Mehrotra, Rajiv , The Open Frame Reader: Unreeling the documentary Film Ed. by PSBT.
Rabiger, Michal, Directing the Documentary.
Renov Michael “The Truth about Non Fiction” and “Towards a Poetics of Documentary” in Michael Renov ed. Theorizing Documentary AFI
Film Readers, New York and London: Routledge, 1993.


Central QA Policy

Session Plan

Session 1

Screening of Documentary

Rabindranath Tagore (1961) by Satyajit Ray

(Produced by Film Division of India)

Rabindranath Tagore (1961) Directed by Satyajit Ray

Session 2

Screening of Documentary : Biography

The NAT THEORY (2014) by Sarat Kumar Jena

(Produced by The Puri Foundation, Gandhinagar (Gujarat))


Session 3

History and Theory of Documentary

History and Theory of Documentary


Session 4

Introduction to Documentary


Session 5

Documentary Theory and Practice

Documentary : Theory and Practice


Session 6

Dimensions of the Documentary

Dimensions of Documentary


Session 7

Types of Documentary Film

Types of Documentary Film


Session 8

Observational and Verite Documentary

Observational Documentary

Verite Documentary


Session 9

Performative and Fictional by using Reenactment and Reconstruction Techniques

Reenactments in Documentary


Session 10

Authenticity and Representation: Documentary and Realism

Realism in Documentary : Theoretical Aspects

Social Realism in Documentary


Session 11

Introducing Documentary Filmmaking: Commercial vs. Documentary Cinema


[Theory] [Practical]

Session 12

Pre-production - I

Finalizing Theme, Subject, Problem Area


Session 13

Pre-production - II



Session 14

Pre-production - III

Writing the Story

Documentary Story


Session 15

Pre-production - IV

(a) Script Writing

(b) Treatment

Documentary Script Writing


Session 16

Pre-production - VI

(a) Writing Documentary Proposal (Background, Problem, Finding)

(b) Finance of the Documentary


Documentary Proposal


Session 17

Pre-production - VII

(a) Cast and Crew (Actor, Technical Staff, Supporting Staff)

(b) Shooting Equipment, Outdoor Location, Studio

(c) Designing Sound for Documentary



Session 18

Pre-production - VIII

(a) Screenplay Writing

(b) Storyboarding



Session 19

Production - I

(a) The Documentary Photography (Still and Moving Camera Operation)

Documentary photography


Session 20

Production - II

a) Introduction to Production Design



Session 21

Production - III

a) Lighting

Lighting Documentary


Session 22

Production - IV

a) Shooting Style

Shooting a Documentary

Shooting a Documentary II


Session 23

Poduction - V

Sound Designing of Documentary

Sound Designing for Documentary


Session 24

Post-Poduction - I

Editing the Documentary

Post-Production Technique


Session 25

Post-Poduction - II


Post-Production Technique


Session 26

Post-Poduction - III

Titling, Sub-Titling

Post-Production Technique


Session 27

Post-Poduction - III

Voice Over

Post-Production Technique


Session 28

Post-Poduction - III

Colour Correction and Mixing

Post-Production Technique


Session 29

Post-Poduction - III

Voice Over

Post-Production Technique


Session 30



Documentary Film Pitching


Case Studies I

Documentary Filmmaking on Environment

Case Studies II

Documentary Filmmaking on Social Change

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