Challenges We Faced Creating a Documentary

Ace Media’s capstone semester took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—not an ideal situation for a semester filled with filming, interviewing, and editing scenarios. We had to come up with of solutions to problems that we never thought that we would have to deal with, including getting good sound quality during interviews while not being able to attach a mic to an interviewee, filming interviews outdoors in order to remain socially distant, and travelling together in a car while wearing masks and taking every possible precautionary measure.

The subject of our documentary, Ruby Sutton, passed away in 2015. All of the senior capstone groups were given a deceased documentary subject in order to aid with COVID-19 safety measures. Because we were not able to personally speak with the person that our documentary detailed, we instead spent most of our time pouring over historical writings, old videos, and the awards and accolades that were given over her lifetime.

Most of our interviews took place over Zoom, a video conferencing service. Before those interviews began, we had to coach the interviewees on how to set up their frame, how far away/close to be to the microphone, and, if possible, the lighting of the room that they were in. It was difficult to not have as much control over the scene, set-up, and filming of these interviews, and a lot had to be done in post-production to ensure clear picture, sound, and continuity between the different interview clips.

While this semester was, arguably, much more challenging than other senior capstone courses of the past, we learned a lot more than we would have had everything been normal.

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