All entries should follow the National History Day standards outlined in the Contest Rule Book (http://www.nhd.org/wp-content/uploads/Contest-Rule-Book.pdf). In addition to the NHD rules, there are certain additional format requirements due to the virtual contest. Please follow these rules to ensure your entry is properly judged.
Entry Requirements for the State Contest
Documentaries must be submitted in a file format that can be read by Apple QuickTime or Windows Media Player. Summit electronic (word or pdf) copies of the process paper and bibliography with the entry.
Entries in the Documentary Category have evolved more than than those of any other category. Documentary entries once consisted of slideshows and audio cassette tapes. In the mid 1990s they evolved into Powerpoint presentations. By the early 2000s iMovie and other video editing software allowed students to become even more creative with documentary entries. Today typical documentary entries integrate student narration, audio and video clips, music, still photos, and other media into a short informative movie.
Today's video editing software allows students to incorporate many interesting and exciting special effects into their documentaries. When properly used they can be a great tool to move the viewer through your documentary and highlight important information. However, special effects can also have the effect of over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing information. Too many special effects can make your documentary appear like a sequence of flashy special effects instead of an informative video. Critical information and important points can be lost in all the glitz.
Speaking too softly, too loud, or too fast when recording the narration for your documentary can cause the best choreographed video to lose points if the judges cannot hear or understand what is being said. Background music, if played too loud, can also cause important information to go unheard by the judges.
Use all ten minutes allowed for this category. Use special effects sparingly and with a purpose. Watch a PBS and/or History Channel documentary to learn how they are put together and how special effects are used. Speak clearly when recording narration. Make sure music that is integrated into your documentary is playing at a level that allows the speaker or speakers to be heard throughout the video.
Integrating interviews and multi-media clips into your documentary is a great way to tell your story and lend credibility to your documentary. Note how the documentary at right, winner of the Captain Ken Coskey Naval History Award at the 2012 National History Day Contest integrates interviews into the story.