Documentary films are based on original research, study, analysis, draft script, verification of script, finalisation of script and then recording of the audio-visuals and post-processing. It is a very strenuous process of re-creating facts and making them into a story that is convincing and engaging. Documentaries are very powerful weapons of societal transformation and, if used properly, can do wonders for progress of mankind.
Documentary research should cover all fields of documentary sources from the ancient documents like parchments tointernet sources and all evidence available on site including what is available for visual documentation of materials and places and audio recording of people who have some knowledge on the subject. These data inputs will have to be analysed for appraising and ascertaining the provenance and credibility of the information contained in them.
Personal documents like diary notes, letters and memoirs will have to be double-checked for subjective deviations from truth. Public documents like books, magazines, newspapers and other printed works will be more reliable. Wherever available, official documents like gazettes, official statistics, government orders and declarations, statements of rulers and officials and records of well-established organisations will be the most conclusive evidence in a matter of doubt.
The visuals of whatever is available, including relics of any material or place relevant to the subject must be gathered and analysed for integration in the documentary. The oral evidence of those who have something to say about the subject must be recorded, even if the same is against the theme of the documentary or detrimental to the way we are planning to project the subject. The inclusion of such audio-video clips will be subject to the thematic width, duration of the film, target audience and the overall impact that is intended.
Documentary films must be full of useful and verified information, making sure of the credibility, authenticity, relevance and impartiality. Apart from being informative, the narration should be interesting and enjoyable. The visuals should not be dry and static, but rich and dynamic. Otherwise even the best content will get few satisfied viewers and even those viewers would not be impressed enough.