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If you are planning to create a documentary, collaborating with a professional video production company that possesses the necessary experience and skills is crucial for a successful outcome. If you require assistance with your documentary project in Northern California, BA Productions is an excellent choice to guide you.

In this blog post, we will share some tips to consider when creating a documentary. We encourage you to continue reading below as these insights will help you prioritize the important aspects of documentary production.


When creating a documentary, it is important to recognize that extensive preparation and hard work are necessary before beginning the shooting process. Take the time to plan and focus on the objectives of your project.

What is the core story you want to convey? Avoid incorporating too many elements that may affect the overall outcome of the documentary.

Consider the shooting schedule: How many days will be needed? Who will be responsible for editing? Establish clear guidelines for these essential details. For instance, if you plan to create a 30-minute documentary, allocate 7-8 days for shooting. If you intend to make a longer documentary, expect a more extended production timeline.

Consider the following aspects: conducting interviews and capturing B-roll footage, incorporating animated infographics, selecting background music, identifying your target audience, and determining the desired length of the documentary.

If your documentary exceeds one hour, you may consider splitting it into shorter chapters or episodes. For beginners, starting with a 30-minute documentary or creating 3-5 episodes of shorter videos lasting 8-10 minutes each can be a suitable approach.

Choose Your Protagonists

When creating a documentary, it is crucial to identify individuals or a group that will be the focal point of your video. Determine who will be the main character or characters. Will you use an interviewer in front of the camera to engage with the subjects?

Focus on a relevant topic and find someone deeply involved or knowledgeable about it. Select a person who will drive the narrative of the documentary. If additional people are involved, consider their roles and their significance to the overall video.

Use the Right Gear

When shooting a documentary, it is essential to utilize the appropriate equipment to capture high-quality footage. If you are unsure about which camera to use, partnering with a professional video production company can provide access to the necessary gear for shooting a documentary.

Whether you are producing short 10-30 minute documentaries or long-form documentaries, a video production company with experience and expertise can ensure the video is captured properly. Consider the duration of the shoot and plan accordingly with sufficient storage and battery power.

Save your footage on hard drives to have a backup in case of any issues with the original files. Expect to accumulate several hundred gigabytes of video footage for a long-form documentary.

Additionally, prioritize sound gear, such as high-quality microphones, as good sound quality is crucial for the audience to clearly hear your protagonists. A well-crafted documentary with low-quality sound can significantly impact the overall quality of the video.

Interview the Protagonists

Prior to shooting a documentary, it is important to conduct thorough interviews with your protagonists. Prepare a set of questions that delve into who they are, their beliefs, and what they are willing to discuss.

Plan your b-roll shoots accordingly, conducting initial interviews at the beginning of the shooting process and incorporating additional interviews throughout.

A final interview can be used to tie everything together. Keep in mind that the protagonist’s journey may evolve during the process, and capturing these changes can add depth to the documentary.

Be Meticulous in Editing

Understand that the raw footage you have is not the final product. Skillful editing is necessary to highlight your topic and convey the protagonist’s story to the audience. Transcribe the footage and take note of time codes.

While this task may be laborious, it is essential for efficient searching and referencing, particularly when working with lengthy interview footage. Consider working with a video production company like BA Productions that can shoot and edit your videos to meet your specific requirements.

Capture Ample B-roll Footage

B-roll footage is supplementary footage that supports the main action of a documentary. It includes visuals that enhance and complement the primary video content.

For example, film your protagonist engaging in activities relevant to their story. Spend ample time with them to capture various moments and experiences that can be incorporated into the documentary. Show what they do and the experiences they go through during the shooting period.

Incorporate Chapters

When creating a documentary, it is important to structure it in a way that builds tension and maintains audience engagement. Rather than presenting all the important aspects in a single monotonous video, break it up into chapters or segments.

Ask key questions, provide answers, and gradually unfold the story, sharing important information along the way. Avoid overwhelming the audience with too much information at once. A well-executed documentary should be easy to understand and follow, even for viewers who are not experts in the subject matter.

Hire a Professional Video Production Company

When shooting a documentary, collaborating with a professional video production company is crucial to creating a compelling video that captures the attention of your target audience.

If you reside in Northern California or the surrounding areas, BA Productions is an excellent choice. As an award-winning video production company, we have the expertise and experience to bring your documentary vision to life. Feel free to explore our portfolio of documentaries for reference.

Are you in need of a professional video production company for your documentary? Look no further than BA Productions, an award-winning video production company serving Northern California since 1992. Our comprehensive services include Aerial Filming, Broadcast, Documentaries, Promotional, and Corporate videos.

With a dedicated team ready to assist you, we are committed to delivering exceptional results. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 877-378-7225 to discuss your project requirements. Trust BA Productions to bring your vision to life. Call us now and let’s get started!