A guide to direct cinema.
A film technique that seems commonplace today once revolutionized the field. This article looks at direct cinema filmmaking.
In the early days of film, directors used bulky equipment to make movies. This oversized and heavy gear limited how and where they could make films. As technology changed, so did our vision of the role film and video could play in our society.
What is direct cinema?
Direct cinema is a sub-genre of documentary filmmaking. The name comes from the idea that the director and his crew observe and record events in real-time rather than shoot an event staged for the camera. You could say that direct cinema was the forerunner of today's vlogging. In both cases, events are recorded as they unfold, and then minor post-production edits assemble the recorded events into a storyline.
Made possible by inventions leading to lightweight video and audio recording equipment, direct cinema grew in popularity as more of a movement than just a genre through the 1950s and 1960s. News reporters and adventurers soon adopted it to take the audience along to dangerous and exotic locations. Direct cinema left a powerful impression. For example, newsreels featuring Walter Cronkite in 1968 Vietnam may have even changed the tide of that war.
More informative than purely entertaining, direct cinema gained followers as a less opinionated and more factual type of filmmaking. Because it often requires voice-over audio, stitching clips together, and other post-production enhancements, today’s direct cinema is heavily dependent on editing software to make a polished film.
To produce your own direct cinema film, you can use video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro to create the finished product in post-production. Try taking your audience along with you on your next adventure. Fit your clips together and add a voice-over to set up each scene.