Richard Leacock

I believe that every documentary has its own character in narrative technique. From the paper of Tobias, ‘I had been raised on my father’s plantation in The Canary Islands. We grow bananas, tomatoes, we made cement pipes and pumped irrigation water. Of the more than 200 men and women that worked there, I think about three could read and write (Tobias, M. (ed.), 1998)’. Particularly, we can change a perspective to treat this issue. When we shoot a documentary, we should consider the perspective from different angles.

For instance, if we want to make a film about plant including bananas, tomatoes, we should describe the scene from the perspective of plant that is from the plant itself. A simple example of documentary, ‘Kingdom of Plants’, it expresses the feeling of plant.


In my opinion, plants are the foundation of organic sphere. The wisdom of plant is far beyond the people’s intelligence and imagination. Combustion rock rose to expand their territory. Meanwhile, new 3D technology is becoming a significant part of the success. It reveals a whole new dimension in the lives of plants by using 3D time-lapse and pioneering techniques in 3D macro photography from beginning to the end.


Certainly, there are some comparisons which the documentary has provided. In documentary, we usually apply some methods to demonstrate the difference or change like comparative montage. At the beginning, the term of “montage sequence” has been used primarily by British and American studios, which refers to the common technique as outlined in this article (Reisz, Karel, 2010). It is significant to a film or a documentary that the sequence is how to arrange. It is mentioned in the paper of Tobias that ‘What am I looking for? I hope to be able to create sequences that when run together will present aspects of my perception of what took place in the presence of my camera. To capture spontaneity it must exist and everything you do is liable to destroy it – beware! Filming is searching for and capturing the ingredients with which to make sequences (Tobias, M. (ed.), 1998).’



Different sequences will construct different situation that describe different meanings to the audience.  The director casually shoots a few shots that he presumes will be used in the montage and the cutter grabs a few stock shots and walks down with them to the man who’s operating the optical printer and tells him to make some sort of mishmash out of it. He does, and that’s what’s labeled montage (Don Siegel, 1997). In cross montage, two cross cutting action occur at the same time in different space so that a tense atmosphere and a strong sense of rhythm shaped. In the micro film, ‘Awaiting’, which is directed by Jiang Digui in Korea, the cross montage is applied in it. The scene of a young woman and an old woman appeared in different time and space crossly profoundly expresses the time span.

Different ways can describe different scenes. Moreover, same scenes can express different meanings through different techniques like montage. Maybe it is the essence of film or documentary.


Tobias, M.(ed.), the search for reality: the art of documentary filmmaking, (p. 43-50), CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 1998.

Reisz, Karel, (2010), The Technique of Film Editing, Burlington, MA: Focal Press. ISBN 978-0-240-52185-5.

“Don Siegel,” Who the Devil Made It, Peter Bogdanovich, Alfred A. Knopf, 1997, p. 724-725. Interview made in 1968.

Richard Leacock

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