Visual or Audio?


Have you ever heard of Darlene Love? Or maybe more recently Judith Hill? I hadn’t before I watched the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom on Netflix. The synopsis offered by is as follows, “Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.” This documentary just recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and rightfully so. I was completely blown away by both the powerful women that were portrayed in it and the style and editing of the documentary itself. Naturally, I thought of our own Right to Marry radio project. Although 20 Feet from Stardom is a visual representation, the techniques, transitions and other aspects are very reflective of what we hope to accomplish in our own work. Music and words are used beautifully as a transitioning tool. I would recommend this documentary on the transitions alone!

We can also view 20 Feet from Stardom as something to compare audio and visual documentaries. Although serving the same purpose, visual documentaries offer, well, the visual image. This visual image opens up so many doors for the producers, offering something concrete that the viewer can latch on to. On the other hand, audio documentaries allow us emphasize the interviewee more. The listener focuses more on the emotions and the tones of the voice. This does put more pressure on the producers. We must weave our story in such a way to emphasize further what the interviewees want to say.

I would definitely recommend you check this documentary out on Netflix! I have attached the trailer from YouTube with this post.


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