Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk when Telling Truth to Power


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


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...]

A conversation with Elaine McMillion Sheldon about Hollow


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


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


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...]