Wedio teamed up with Matt Harris – director and producer of Rom Boys - to give you the best tips to get you started.

Documentary Filmmaking:
Best Tips to Get You Started by Matt Harris

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Matt Harris

Documentary Filmmaking:
Best Tips by Matt Harris

Interested in documentary filmmaking? Check out tips of Matt Harris – a director, and a producer of Rom Boys.

Trailer

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Intro

1

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Making a documentary

34

Filming interviews

120

B-roll

187

Prep stage

248

Camera equipment

404

Tips & tricks

502

Level up

586

Mistakes to avoid

635

Inspiration

761

Ending & credits

900

Meet Matt

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What you’ll learn

Shoot a lot of b-roll, especially in slo-mo which can get you out of many tricky situations in the post.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media and film festivals when it comes to distribution.

Use a color check passport, great for color balancing, especially if you have two camera setups.

Create a database of people who you’d like to interview and spend a lot of time on research.

Using two sources of audio is key – a shotgun and a lav microphone.

When interviewing your subject, cover the red light on your camera…

About this Masterclass

Masterclass Chapters

Matt Harris introduces you to the world of documentary filmmaking. He describes creating a documentary, the importance of research, and making relationships. Last but not least, he will give you some tips and tricks.

Making a documentary

First of all, Matt explains how to create one by clarifying the different process that comes into play. He describes the pre-production, production, and post-production phases.

Filming interviews

Matt describes how he prepares an interview before being filmed. He describes how this masterclass was filmed, and how he wanted it to present it.

Shooting b-roll for documentaries

He explains how he shoots and chooses b-roll footage. He describes how he did it for the documentary Rom Boys, which he directed, shot, produced, and edited.

Preparation for a documentary

Matt then tells us how he prepares the filming by taking the example of Rom Boys. For it, he knew that there was a community of skateboarders who had gone to this skate park for 40 years. Preparing relationships with these people for this documentary was then crucial.

Camera equipment

Matt lists which materials he has used, starting with cameras. He then continues with microphones, lights, drones, etc.

Tips & tricks

Then Matt gives some tricks on installing a better ambiance for the interviewees, and some tips he feels are necessary and worth knowing.

Getting better

The best documentaries can shift stories from one to the other without making the viewer lose track. Having or creating compelling characters is the key to keeping the audience engaged.

Mistakes to avoid

Matt describes which mistakes are crucial to avoid while shooting a documentary. For example, he says that most of the time, things are unpredictable, and so you should be prepared for the shooting, which sometimes gets longer and longer.

Finding inspiration

Before wrapping up, Matt shares his main influence and hero: Ridley Scott. He reaches to have the same mindset as Ridley Scott. It means making a low-budget film by respecting all the deadlines.

About Your Instructor

Photo of the instructor

Matt Harris

Director and filmmaker

London, United Kingdom

“Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down.”

Matt Harris is a UK-based award-winning DOP and director. He is specialized in high-end documentary and branded content.

He has got more than 20 years of experience in both photography and film. He has worked around the globe with TV companies in the UK, US, and Europe. He started as an underwater photographer living in the Marshall Islands.

His work focused on branded content and corporate promos. But also high-quality documentaries and narrative and music videos in recent years.

His first feature-length doc - Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad, which he produced, directed, shot, and edited - was picked up by 1091 Pictures and is currently rated Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 100%.

He also won the best feature documentary at the 2020 Paris Surf and Skate Film Festival. He is also a semi-finalist for best cinematography in the documentary category at the NY Cinematographers awards later in 2021.

If you enjoyed this masterclass, be sure to check out our guide about documentary filmmaking, where you can download a completely free guide to help you get started!