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Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary Filmmaking

River Wharfe

River Wharfe

Documentary Filmmaking in a “Nutshell”

Documentary filmmaking is an exciting and rewarding experience. Recently my husband has made a documentary about three quirky folk exploring the beautiful rivers of Yorkshire. We are pleased to say it will be released on Amazon Prime shortly.
This is a brief explanation of how to go about making a documentary.

Boroughbridge Yorkshire

Boroughbridge Yorkshire


You need to think of an idea. A subject you are passionate about.
Once you have your idea, then I would suggest you research the topic and check that it has not been produced previously.
Research the name of your production before submitting it to a commissioner.

Putting your idea into practise

Once you have the materials, locations and crew, you need to piece it to together.
Casting call sheet (see my casting call sheet article) is helpful but not essential if you are a one-man crew.

Ilkley River Wharfe

Ilkley River Wharfe


1.Film your footage
2.Edit material

3.Add your interviews and any other essential media,  information, voice overs, music and titles.


If you are filming on your phone there are some great apps out there now. Just look for one you like and try it.

Adobe premiere.

I prefer editing on an Adobe. This is a subscription-based package software.
They discount students at 64% and so pay approx. £16.00 per month.

DaVinci Resolve

My husband prefers this software for editing because his expertise is in filming documentary style programs and it has a superior colour grading system. It comes with a variety of options to colour your footage. The advantage of this package is that you are charged a flat fee outright. I think it is $290.00.

This sounds a lot easier than it is, but in practise it will be more complex. Just start filming and you will learn on the job and
you can start filming on your mobile, DSLR, Go-Pro or even rent a camera.

River Wharfe Harrogate


My husband would recommend a go-pro.

It’s quick, cheap and easy

A basic go pro if you are just starting out he would recommend

GoPro Hero 9. Waterproof LCD touch and rear screen 5K Ultra HD. Live Streaming webcam Stabilisation

GoPro Hero9

A more professional go pro he would recommend the  Go Pro Hero11 which is waterproof and is ultra HD Video. It has additional image sensor and can be used as a live streaming webcam with stabilization.

Remember, most documentary style programs need subtitles. These are very time consuming, so I suggest you pay for a professional to do this.

I would highly recommend Documentaries and how to make them by Andy Glynne

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Yorkshire Dales


Other books recommended

Adobe Premiere Pro for Dummies

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