A documentary is a non-fiction narrative that tells its story through technical and symbolic elements such as:


Her Sound Her Story includes interviews from XX Australian musicians. The interviews were framed in an eye level mid shot. They include different mise en scene for different musicians.

Screen Shot 1
Screen Shot 2

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  •  Identify the difference in Mise en scene and how it communicated different ideas about the musician?

    The interviews were often shot and edited using different camera techniques.



  • Why do you think director editor Sangiorgi Dalimore chose to film and edit these interview sequences with different shot sizes? What effect does it have on the audience?

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Lower thirds titles

Normally documentaries include lower third titles to identify the interviewee. The typography, colour, shape, and any other graphic communicates ideas about the story to the viewer.

  • Using an editing program or a word processing program, trial adding 3 different types of titles to this still. 

  • Consider different typography styles, different colours, shapes, positions on the screen. If available, trail different transitions to edit the title in an off the screen.

  • Explain what you did with each trail and the intended effect on the audience. Which trial do you think was most effective? Compare with the original lower third titles in Her Sound Her Story and analyse the differences in audience engagement.


A cutaway is short shots of related footage that is intended to engage the viewer by providing visual interest away from just the “talking head”.

Cutaways often use more stylistic film techniques, such as extreme close up, pull focus, stylised editing transitions.

These are 3 stills from the documentary Her Sound Her Story during the X interview.

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  • Describe the Shot Size:

  • Camera Angle:

  • Mise en scene:

  • Lighting:

*Link to ACMI / Lessonbucket

Titles and credit sequences

A convention of film narratives is title and credit sequences. Depending on the media form, the titles and credits will be constructed differently, for example a YouTube video might not include an opening titles sequence but a film may.

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Watch X – Y

  •  Describe the way three technical and symbolic elements were used in the opening title sequence. Media codes can include: camera techniques, sound, lighting, mise en scene, editing….

Director Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore and Producer Michelle Hunder identified that the main narrative of the story: “the power of women coming together to support one another”... how do you think technical and symbolic elements work together to communicate this narrative?

Archived footage

A convention of documentary is to include archival footage. This is generally to support the story by communicating historical information or context.

  •  How does Her Sound Her Story use archived footage?

  • What ideas and information odes the selection and inclusion of this communicate to the audience?