What is Documentary: Definition and 41 Discussions

A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record". Bill Nichols has characterised the documentary in terms of "a filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception [that remains] a practice without clear boundaries".Early documentary films, originally called "actuality films", lasted one minute or less. Over time, documentaries have evolved to become longer in length, and to include more categories; some examples being: educational, observational, and docufiction. Documentaries are very informative and are often used within schools, as a resource to teach various principles. Documentary filmmakers have a responsibility to be truthful to their vision of the world without intentionally misrepresenting a topic.
Social-media platforms (such as YouTube) have provided an avenue for the growth of the documentary-film genre. These platforms have increased the distribution area and ease-of-accessibility; thereby enhancing the ability to educate a larger volume of viewers, and broadening the reach of persons who receive that information.

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  1. russ_watters

    Three Mile Island Netflix Documentary

    Netflix recently released a documentary on the Three Mile Island accident. I'm just finishing watching it, and would like to discuss it. https://www.netflix.com/tudum/articles/meltdown-three-mile-island-release-date-cast-news...
  2. jedishrfu

    B Documentary on the International Math Olympiad

    and the associated movie staring Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis (Daniel Lightwing in the documentary) You can find the movie on Amazon Prime Video as a Prime movie.
  3. Astronuc

    Chasing the Moon, PBS documentary

    We're now familiar with the Hidden Figures within NASA's space exploration programs. Another program explores further contributions (2019). https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/chasing-moon/?feature_filter=All The Women Who Brought Us the Moon...
  4. PeroK

    B Discovery of the Omega-minus (Documentary)

    There is a documentary on the BBC iPlayer from July 1964 on the discovery of the ##\Omega^-##. It includes interviews with Gell-Mann, Ne'man, Feyman and Samios (from Brookhaven). It's available for over a year. If you have access to the BBC iPlayer it's definitely worth watching. Wonderful!
  5. T

    I Need to identify a physicist from a documentary on TV some years ago

    I remember watching some documentary on TV some years ago and in it, they were mentioning how there was a physicist who was doing some research on radioactive elements in the laboratory, but because he was little bit crazy he believed that the fez hat he wore on his head would protect him from...
  6. DennisN

    Empire Strikes Back Documentary (1980)

    Hi! Today I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of small pictures suddenly were uploaded as a complete video. I feel something amazing has happened. On a second thought it probably wasn't the Force. It was just a notification I got since a friend emailed me about a new...
  7. A

    B Documentary about Hawkings contributions to science

    Hello Community, as mentioned above I am currently gathering information for a documentary about Stephen Hawking scientific contributions. According to "The Guardian" the most important are: - Singularities in Gravitational Collapse -Blackhole mechanics -How Blackholes can vanish -How Galaxies...
  8. BillTre

    10 Minute Zebrafish Documentary

    Here is a short (10 minute) documentary that was recently made about using zebrafish in biomedical research. I have spent many years working with many aspects of zebrafish research, so I am kind of biased towards their use. It is nicely done and discusses some of the advantages of using...
  9. doggonemess

    Wanted: specific youtube science series, forgot who made it....

    This is a desperate attempt to find a set of videos I saw about a year ago on YouTube. It was not one of the big, well known guys like Veritasium or SciShow, it was just one middle aged guy. He explained scientific advancements through history, and gave really, really detailed accounts of how...
  10. B

    Will Brian Greene make a "The Hidden Reality" documentary?

    Brian Greene made excellent documentaries on his first two books: The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos. Has Brian Greene ever said whether or not he will make a documentary out of The Hidden Reality? I googled it and didn't find anything saying yay or nay.
  11. Greg Bernhardt

    Resistance: Documentary on Antibotics

    Last night I watched a good documentary on Netflix Instant called "Resistance". It discusses the issue of antibiotics in human medicine and agriculture. Lots of interesting history with debate about how we've badly mishandled antibiotics. Some heart breaking stories of people who caught an...
  12. Serious Max

    Time Dilation Explained by Stephen Hawking: 1 Day = 1 Year?

    Here (at ~3:50) they say if the ship reaches 99% of the speed of light, a single day on the ship = year on Earth. But it looks like it's going to be one week on Earth. http://cosmology.com/images/3TimeDilationTable1.jpg Is it just a simplification of some sort in the video?
  13. M

    MHB Grisha Perelman documentary

    Hello If, like me, you've been looking for a documentary on Perelman for a long time, here it it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng1W2KUHI2s Ng1W2KUHI2s You can activate the English subtitles by clicking the "Captions" button.
  14. edward

    Earth From Space Documentary

    I original posted this in GD. It may be more appreciated here. It is a lot more than just pictures. It is long so get a drink and a some snacks before starting to watch.
  15. T

    Science bits of Hawking's documentary

    Since the religious bits closed down the other thread, I wanted to mention something about the science bits. Since I didn't see the documentary myself, I can't say whether Hawking got it wrong or was misquoted. But both of these things are dodgy... "It is a zero sum game, positive energy in...
  16. T

    Stephen Hawking's did god Create the Universe discovery documentary

    I just saw Stephen Hawking's Did a creator create the Universe documentary on the discovery channel: http://curiosity.discovery.com/topic/space-exploration/did-god-create-universe-episode.htmThis really is one of the best documentaries I have seen on creation event cosmology. Stephen says that...
  17. J

    Using the F word in a documentary about bullying

    I just read an article by Roger Ebert about how a documentary should be rated: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/03/even_as_i_write_on.html [Broken] This looks like an important documentary, particularly for teens to see. But, the MPAA has slapped an R rating on it because it uses the F...
  18. Ivan Seeking

    PBS documentary: Tupperware

    Tonight, PBS is running a documentary about Tupperware. Strangely, this brings back a lot of memories for me. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/tupperware/ [Broken] Does anyone still buy Tupperware? Did anyone here have a mom who sold Tupperware? Mine did, and she did it big...
  19. S

    What are some must-see documentaries about space and technology?

    helle there! im new here on this site, been active without a account but now i made one to join the forums! so I am looking for good documentarys that does not contain false information or very old ones ( don't mind old ones if the information is right!) im really into technology and i...
  20. Ivan Seeking

    TMC 1956 U.F.O. Documentary: Albert M. Chop's Project Bluebook Story

    Tonight TMC broadcast this unique film, which is mostly a reenactment of UFO events that involved and were studied by the Air Force in the late 1940s and early 50s. I believe all the information presented wrt to the individual events is consistent with conclusions of the Air Force's Project...
  21. D

    Where can I find counter-claims to David Cole's documentary?

    It's the one that's in three parts, and says Auschwitz. He also mentions some things on the Phil Donahue video that don't get answered. Is there a place that counters his claims?
  22. N

    Length Contraction Documentary

    I need help with length contraction. I need videos that explains or proves that length contraction is possible even if it is just the visual interpretation of an observer. pls help.
  23. L

    The World's First Time Machine: A Documentary and a Mystery

    I just finished watching a documentary called The World's First Time Machine on youtube about a dude trying to use lasers to send particles back in time. It's kinda old but I'm sure a lot of you have already seen it. I can link it if you want. But they were acting like the dude was on the...
  24. U

    The Elegant Universe- string theory documentary

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html" Did a search and didn't see any posts about it, so if you haven't seen this, check it out, it's pretty cool and will let you know the basics about string theory if you're not familiar with it. Any opinions on it?
  25. C

    Dangerous Knowledge Documentary

    Hello everyone. I recently found this documentary which some of you may find interesting. In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing - whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which...
  26. T

    Medical Documentary on a very isolated tribe

    yesterday I saw a documentary on a very isolated tribe,descovered in 1981! in the past,when they fought wars with other tribes,they eaten they're oponents to gain they're streinght(nonsence,of course) this however rised a question...what nutritional proprieties does a human have? (I'm not...
  27. F

    News PBS Documentary on Torture

    Having seen the film "Torturing Democracy"--a film documenting the cruelty inflicted upon detainees of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib--I am made to wonder: how is it that the President and Vice President, among others in their administration, have not yet been incarcerated themselves...
  28. G

    Physics Docs: Recommendations on Cosmology, Astronomy & Theory

    Hey everyone. I'm sure some of you probably know of some really good physics/cosmology documentaries out there. I've seen NOVA's Elegant Universe and Carl Sagan's Cosmos series, and I was wondering if anyone else knew of any physics documentaries that they would recommend? Can be about the...
  29. B

    Documentary about the geniuses of the past millenium

    hello everyone... Well I've always wanted to do something with physics or maths and just totally love these two. But lately this ambition was fading away till like a few hours ago when I watched this documentary about the geniuses of the past millenium, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and...
  30. G

    Is the Dawkins Documentary Debate getting out of hand?

    I hope this is an appropriate forum for this debate; my opponent recommended it. We started a debate about Richard Dawkins' style of criticizing religion - particularly in his documentary "The Root of All Evil?" - in a different forum, where an in-depth debate would have been clearly off-topic...
  31. T

    News Exploring an Alternative Perspective on 9/11: Loose Change Documentary

    There is a good documentary which i saw called Loose Change which gives you another perspective of how the "accident" or "incident" happened at the world trade center. the documentary can be found on places such as Youtube or google video and i found it amazing. Most of you probably know it and...
  32. A

    Does anyone know this documentary?

    I can't really give any specific information on it other than from what I saw. If anyone has traveled on Singapore airlines before, you'll know what I mean when I talk about the "in seat tv" that they have. In fact, they probably have it on other airlines by now, But I don't know since I...
  33. A

    Earthlings (Documentary)

    There is a documentary called Earthlings. Every single person should view this documentary and understand what happens to animals at the hands of humans. What humans do to animals on a daily basis in industry, for sport and entertainment, and in vivisection laboratories is abhorrent; it is...
  34. A

    Documentary on cutting-edge physics Strings / LQG

    Hello there, I am filming a documentary on cutting-edge physics, and I was wondering what constitutes a "professionally researched theory." What is it about ST and LQG that make them "professionally researched?" Are there other non-profesionally researched theories out there? Thanks...
  35. dduardo

    [Documentary] Fear of Girls

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7521044027821122670 [Broken] D&D fans should especially like this video.
  36. P

    Belgian triangle documentary

    Take a look at this video. http://www.untoldmysteries.com/HARD-UFO-EVIDENCE-Unsolved-Mysteries-Belgium-UFO-Wave-1991-19min43sec-untoldmysteires-com.rm It shows much more detail by simulation and by what eyewitnesses (police) report. For example there was an orange/red ball that exitted the...
  37. W

    What We Still Don't Know: Martin Rees' 3-Part Documentary

    Is the title of a new Three Part documentary by Martin Rees:http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/W/what_we_still_dont_know/index.html [Broken] If anyone gets to see this outside the UK, there is an interesting angle on 'perceptions and awareness'..or self-awareness. If one looks...
  38. P

    News Top Sinclair newsman denounces employer over Kerry documentary

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.sinclair18oct18,0,3085177.story?coll=sfla-newsnation-front [Broken], but that site requires registration.
  39. russ_watters

    News DNC Pre-Emptive Attack on Kerry-Vietnam Documentary

    A company that owns a bunch of TV stations is working on a documentary of Kerry's post-Vietnam activities. HERE is an article. It smells a little like the CBS->Bush thing, except that until it airs, its tough to really know what its going to say. Needless to say, Vietnam is not good publicity...
  40. C

    Black Sky: Space Ship One documentary on Science Channel

    Science Channel showed last night a documentary called "Black Sky" that was a 2 hour behind the scenes look at the operations at Scaled Composities and a short history of Burt Rutan. They have footage of the construction of the carrier plane White Knight and the test flights of Space Ship One...
  41. M

    Did anyone see the documentary about Einstein's wife?

    My father told me that he saw this documentary about Einstein's wife and they said that she was also a Physicist. They claimed that Einstein took some of her ideas and she never received credit. Do you think it is possible that a man would take a woman's ideas and she would never get credit? I...
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