I really liked this documentary. I started watching it before bed last night with the plans to only watch 30 mins. of it and an hour the next day. Instead I ended up watching more than hour before I decided I absolutely had to go to sleep. I finished watching it before I left for work this morning because I wanted to know how it ended.
For the most part, I thought the interview set up was pretty standard. As far as the lighting goes, it seemed like pretty flat lighting, which makes sense for these type of interviews. Occasionally, it seemed like certain spots of light were really two bright, usually on a person's face. It seems like it could have been a little softer. A few people had very interesting backgrounds, like the woman in the store, the man who studied linguistics, or Vivian’s friend. Most of the other people had a lot of blank wall space behind them, which seemed a little boring.
The questions in this documentary we’re basically the narrative. John Maloof acts as the narrator, but, for the most part, he is asking questions that are answered through interviews. And, usually, those answers lead to more questions.
I really enjoyed the B-roll of the movie, I thought it really kept me intrigued and painted a great picture of the events. I notice two main types of b-roll used throughout this documentary, both were very effective in my opinion. The first was reenactments. This was mostly during the beginning, to try to catch the audience up quickly on what Maloof had already learned about Vivian. It covered why he was buying random slides to him beginning to scan all the slides he has acquired. They showed footage of an auction house in action, a storage facility, and Maloof bringing in all of Vivian's stuff as well as scanning in several of the slides. I thought this was a great use of B-roll to help people understand what led up to the interviews. I don’t recall them using reenactments for any part of Vivian's life. They did occasionally go to a location (or similar looking location). An example of this would be when Vivian’s friend was talking about the last time she saw Vivian, when she ran into her on the way to taking the kids to the beach.
Another method of B-roll was her photos and videos. Almost always, when they would play an audio recording she made, they would show a video she recorded, usually of something related to what she said in the audio clip, sometimes the family/child who was being interviewed.
As a filmmaker, this documentary was really inspire in that it made me want to make documentaries. They we’re not really something I wanted to make before I saw this film.