Documentary – Montage

Assignment Brief – Make a short Montage Sequence that could fit into the beginning of a longer form documentary.

  • Duration – 1 minute
  • Filming – 3 Hours
  • Crew – 3 persons minimum
  • Camera Kit – Canon C300 or Panasonic AG101

In a moment of untypical inspiration I came up with the idea for this film within a short time of the assignment being set. I’d always wanted to make this type of time lapse film and this concept fitted the brief perfectly.

My original idea was to film in a public location at a time and place where people would normally be funneled through a narrow gap or entrance to a building, for example a Train Station or large retail shop. But I discarded this idea o one wet day when it seemed that the entire student population was seemingly passing through BU’s Atrium thus making this the perfect location for my film shoot.


I spent a few lunchtimes checking out the location for natural lighting and for it’s camera and subject positions. In the final decision process It was the lighting that decided me on how to approach the setup. The natural light coming through the glassed areas of the Atrium I wanted to one side of the camera. This essentially gave me only one option for locating the camera and the subject where not only I could film with the light to one side but would also be safely out of the way of passing students and importantly not blocking any exits or in danger of being walked into.

For this shoot I used the Panasonic AG101 as the Canon C300 was still being serviced. Panasonic AG101Initially I was somewhat disappointed with the camera choice because I felt it seemed overally complicated and the sensor is quite small compared to the DSLR’s I usually use. But I changed my position on this somewhat when I saw the initial results of filming using the Nikon lenses that come with the kit.

The quality of the YouTube video does not really truly represent the actual quality of the video footage produced, needless to say the original footage quality is exceptional, I’d even say better than videos I’ve produced using the Canon 5D.

Negatives there is no Zoom in the kit but this is balanced by an excellent range of Nikon prime lenses ranging from 20mm up to 85mm. I’d have liked a longer lens say 135mm for the final close up but I did not know this at the time.


A lighting check determined that F5.6 was the prefect setting for exposure and depth of field. I used this setting throughout for the filming process across the whole range of lens changes. I also kept the camera and subject location fixed, just changed the framing by swapping lenses.

The opening sequence is shot wide using the 20mm, then going up a lens size to the 35mm then onto a 50mm and finishing on the 85mm lens. I then repeated this sequence but with the tripod lowered one section and adjusted the camera to focus onto the subjects boots. I shot 5 minutes sequences for each lens change and apart from some shots which were disrupted by outside events, for example people blocking the camera, the whole shoot took just under an hour.


I edited the footage using Premier Pro CS6 by using the music soundtrack as a guide/inspiration for the editing points. I exported the media using H264 setup for upload to  YouTube.


I confirmed firstly with my subject that it would be OK to upload onto YouTube, I was also aware that the music is copyrighted and therefore I turned off monetisation and disabled playback for mobile device under YouTubes T&C’s.