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Learn how to watch, research, or create documentaries. Plenty of resources for equipment and editing. Created for UNIV1120, but anyone can use.

Finding video and audio clips that you can use

This is material under Creative Common License, or material that you can reasonably purchase

What about clips from the Internet?

Clips published online are still protected by copyright. However, you can make a Fair Use argument for the use of some clips. You should be sure to seek guidance from your instructor. Students making documentaries for a class assignment, with no intent to make a profit, may have a strong fair use argument.

General advice

  • Attribute everything that you didn't create or film yourself
  • Where possible, attribute clips from other sources in a lower thirds caption as they are being seen. Not everyone watches the credits and you don't want confusion.
  • Wherever you can be the creator, take the opportunity. (Remember, it's pretty easy to make your own soundtrack using GarageBand.)

Libraries & Archives

Use GIL-Find's Advanced search to limit to items in "Media" or "Media archives". Use the following links to search in specific Special Collections. For information about researching in the Special Collections Libraries, click here.

Digital Library of Georgia

Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Richard B. Russell Library

Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection

  • Streaming AV online - Use facet limiting in your searches
  • Request viewing


NOTE: Many video archives and libraries have usage rules built into their researcher applications. You may be required to request usage via a particular method. This may be as simple as an email to a designated contact, or it may require a special forms. Also, the amount of time needed to make a request may vary. Whenever you work with a video or media library, please be up front about what you would like to do with any material you find.

Don't let it scare you off, though. Librarians and archivists are eager to help, and want to be sure their collections are used. They just are careful to follow any institutional or collection rules.

Adding stats to documentaries

Statistics can add authority, personal connection and urgency to a topic. Are you talking about people going hungry? What's the situation for people in Athens-Clarke county? Are you making a video for a group that fights poverty? What's the average income for this county? How many are in poverty? Statistics can be provided in a chart or graph, as a text quote, or part of a voice over as related images go by.

Key to finding stats

Is this something trackable?

Who would track it?

Would it be public? How would I access it?

Better Google Searching