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- A documentary television series, sometimes called a docuseries, is a television series that is presented in a number of episodes.
- A documentary television film is a documentary film made especially for television stations or for specialty documentary channels, or in case of political and historical documentary subjects in news channels, without the intention of showing it in movie theaters. This film is included in television movies and distinguished with theatrical feature films. Another good example of television documentaries is the travel documentaries that are featured in specialized geographical or tourism television channels like the National Geographic Channel. The films might end up showing in film societies or in theaters that specialize in showing documentaries. However, on rare occasions, television documentaries become so popular that they are launched for wider release in movie theaters.
History of television documentary and production techniques
Televised documentary finds its roots in film, photojournalism, and radio.
The emergence of documentary film within its televised format followed the advent of launch of the world’s first high-definition public television service on 2 November 1936 by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Following this initial broadcast, the BBC’s television service continued, albeit in limited capacities, up until 1939 with the onset of the Second World War. This suspension lasted throughout the six-year wartime period. Regular television broadcasting was resumed in 1946. The subsequent expansion throughout the coming years of the BBC’s network towards nationwide coverage, additional channels, as well as the introduction of novel competition into the television network market (notably Independent Television) spurred opportunities for the emergence of televised documentary. In course with the British conception of a televised broadcasting network, television documentary also finds its origins in British media.
Traditionally, much of television documentary production was done using 16mm film cameras with quarter-inch tape recorders providing sync sound. The small and agile nature of 16mm film crews made them ideal for shooting documentaries in hostile environments as events were unfolding. Before portable video recorders became commonplace in the industry, 16mm film cameras were the only method of production that did not require significant technological infrastructure. Using just an Arriflex or Eclair 16mm camera, a Nagra tape recorder, and a basic lighting rig these crews created some of the most significant documentaries produced in Britain. This way of working continued until the late 1980s when portable video recorders started to be implemented in documentary production.
- Al Jazeera Documentary Channel
- Animal Planet
- Discovery Channel
- DOC: The Documentary Channel
- Docu TVE
- Documentary (TV channel)
- National Geographic
- WORLD Channel
- A 16mm documentary crew prepare to shoot a basic interview sequence
- A 16mm documentary cameraman discusses the cameras used for documentary, and drama, production
- A 16mm lighting technician discusses their equipment and the drawbacks of lighting for documentary production in domestic settings
- Robson, David (27 October 2016). "Eighty years ago the BBC made its first live broadcast - and the world changed for ever". Express. Express. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- Chapman, James (2015). A New History of British Documentary. New York, NY 10010: Palgrave MacMillan. p. 173.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Ellis, John; Hall, Nick (2017): ADAPT. figshare. Collection.https://doi.org/10.17637/rh.c.3925603.v1
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