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Documentary for the Small Screen by Paul Kriwaczek

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Section C

Building the Form

A television documentary is constructed not only of pictures and sound, but also time. Time is the universal though unrecognized factor that underlies all the work. As real life itself does, so television productions unroll continuously and unrelentingly from beginning to end. They don’t speed up, slow down, reverse or stop. Without the regular and continuous unrolling of time they don’t exist. Stop a film or a video and time is killed; sound and movement vanish; the film dies. Start time moving again and the production springs into action.

Time on television is not continuous as it is in life. Television time moves forward in discrete steps. On film, wherever we are in the world, time steps forward in paces of one ...

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