View Full Version : Starting Narration for a Doc

01-09-2005, 05:16 PM
Im curious as to the beginning process of writing and recording narration. We are starting to edit our doc and the questions aobut narration keep coming up. Anyone here know where we should begin? Are there any good books on narration, internet sites or documents that can put us on the right path?


01-12-2005, 04:15 PM
The less narration, the better. Sounds like you're doing the narration last, after doing the cut. IMHO, that's the way to go. It means you're telling the story first and using the narrator to cover gaps.

Try to tell the story thru the people you've filmed, leaving narration to fill in the gaps. That is, unless the narrator is an important part of the story.

As an example, my current doc has a narrator who grew up in the same kind of cult I'm filming. Her insights are an integral part of the story, but still, her narration comprises less than 3 minutes total of the 90 minutes. Even so, or perhaps because, her V.O. is extremely powerful. To me, narration is like talking heads - cover it with b roll whenever possible.

01-15-2005, 09:34 AM
Get a good writing program.
Final Draft AV works for docs.
There's freeware out there too.
One side audio,---one side video.
In this case video description doesn't have to be detailed as I think you have your pictures assembled.
Get comfortable,---and view you project.
Economized your words.
There's a saying among writers, "I would have made it shorter, but I didn't have time."
Writing short is a learned skill. And it is not easy.
Trim, Trim Trim. Don't ramble. Be stingy with your words.
Don't use three when one will do.
Watch video and see what it's saying,---then add to it with voice over.
If the pictures are saying something,---don't state the obvious.
Let your pictures do the talking!
Use voice over to clafify and to support.
Silence is OK! Maybe not for radio but for video and film it's OK.
You still have natural sound, music and pictures.
See voice over as another element,---and not usually the main one.
In short,---write tight and keep that narrator on a short leash.
Pay him/her by the word as an incentive.
Also,---have some damn fun!!!