"Who Killed The Electric Car", Chris Paine (Documentary) Q: How Do Documentary Filmmakers Construct Documentaries To Position The Viewer To Respond In A Particular Way?

1079 words - 4 pages

The recently released documentary, Who Killed The Electric Car, from the award-winning director, Chris Paine, looks into the debatable topic of who caused the death of the revolutionary idea of the electric car in the 1990s. The documentary presents a one sided view, and through the use of persuasive conventions, convinces the audience that the car companies are to blame and it was only them who hammered the last nail into the coffin of the electric car's bright future. This desirable affect was achieved through the use of techniques such as accelerated motion, different angled camera shots, selected music and the use of pause. The documentary was constructed to allow the least amount of response from the antagonist of the film, the motor companies, that ironically originally introduced and produced the electric cars. These techniques and other such conventions contributed to the overly bias and persuasive view demonstrated to the viewing audience.The documentary used a series of different camera angles, speeds and movements to enhance the scene and exaggerate certain details. These conventions were effective in showing the viewer that the electric car was not slow, it looked good, and it was the future; just with the use of camera shots. During the introduction of the EV1 electric car, the audience was exposed to the car through the use of accelerated motion, which made the car look faster and a shot when the car was driving towards the camera. These effects were effective and showed the sleek body of the EV1 in much more detail than in a still shot or a basic panning effect. Throughout the film, the EV1 was pictured mostly with low to medium panning shots; this was particularly effective in giving the impression that the EV1 just keeps on going without a recharge, meaning more range per charge. One particularly interesting example was when the interview with an EV1 supporter was shown with the smog of Los Angeles in the background, this was clever because it showed the devastating effects of carbon monoxide on the local and outer environments. The shots demonstrated were chosen well and effectively portrayed a certain side to the story, the shots on the 'good guys' were medium and normal whereas the shots of the motor companies were lower down creating the impression of power and wealth.Sound and music effects played a big role in provoking emotions for each scene, effectively hinting to the viewer if a significant point had been raised or a discovery had just been made. The director also used music to make a scene appear sadder or happier than in reality, and the music helped to show the characters emotions without them speaking any dialogue or thoughts on the matter. A clear example was when the documentary showed the cars of the fifties; funky music was played, creating an overall happy and bouncy atmosphere within the scene. The music also hinted to the viewer that everything was normal and the motor industry was progressing, as a company...

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