Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016: SEED: The Untold Story

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SEED: The Untold Story examines the disappearance of seed varieties, a crucial environmental and food security issue, focused around the work of several passionate seed collectors including Dr. Vandana Shiva in India who says “...as the corporate greed creates the seed famine, more people realize … [Read more...]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016: Arrival in Sheffield

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I just arrived in Sheffield to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest. There are a lot of amazing documentary film and VR projects showing at this years festival, I look forward to going over the catalog over dinner tonight, it’s amazing how VR has captured the interest of the documentary community, Sheffield … [Read more...]

Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk when Telling Truth to Power

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Many of the most important issues facing our society are also those that powerful people or institutions don’t want made public. Documentary filmmakers who tell truth to power often face aggressive attacks from powerful individuals, organizations, businesses, governmental agencies, and industry … [Read more...]

Two entry-level, versatile, compact, sound recording kits for your consideration

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I'm often asked by my students what's a good sound recording starter kit that provides the most bang for the buck on a tight budget. In response to this question, I've assembled the following kits based on gear I've purchased and used myself. While I often prefer to use bulkier, higher-performance … [Read more...]

The seven presentation design habits of great presenters

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After years of sitting through way too many banal, sleep inducing PowerPoint presentations, I finally could not take it any more and dashed off this missive which I originally wrote for my students. I believe there are seven crucial presentation design habits that will help you develop more engaging … [Read more...]

A conversation with Elaine McMillion Sheldon about Hollow

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Hollow (requires Google Chrome) is an interactive documentary and community participatory project that examines the future of rural America through stories of over 30 residents of McDowell County, West Virginia, an area that is representative of many regional boom-and-bust economies across the … [Read more...]

Is Final Cut Pro X finally ready to be viable replacement for Final Cut Pro Classic?

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This post is a follow-up to the "Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors" workshop I did at Boston Neighborhood Network on Saturday, December 13, 2014. If you're still editing with Final Cut Pro Classic (my way of referring to Final Cut Pro 7.x or earlier) and sitting things out, you will … [Read more...]

Is the Audio-Technica BP4029 the perfect cinéma-vérité microphone?

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In an ideal world I'd have a ninja-class boom operator with me on all of my documentary shoots, but short of that I usually place a wireless lavaliere on my subjects in order to capture the best dialogue possible while providing then with mobility along with the intimacy of a small crew. However, on … [Read more...]

Four approaches to structuring micro-documentaries

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A micro-documentary differs from a long-form documentary in terms of length, structure, and quite often, purpose. While most long-form documentaries tell a story with a classic three act narrative structure, shorter documentaries require different  strategies for structuring the viewer’s experience. … [Read more...]