Basic Documentary Video Starter Kit (consumer level gear)


You do not need fancy gear to start making documentaries, but choosing the right gear is important. This post presents a list of good gear to consider when starting out making documentary videos. This post is based on a handout originally provided with my Documentary Video Boot Camp course offered through Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Using both channels (an audio channel is a terrible thing to waste)

Practically every camcorder records two channels of audio, which allows you to record in stereo (Left/Right) or two discrete channels (1/2). Lately I’ve been using the Sennheiser Evolution G2 wireless a lot and it started to bother me that I was only recording one channel from the wireless reciever into the 3.5mm stereo plug on […]

Scott Kirsner: Inventing the Movies

In this video I interview journalist and author Scott Kirsner about his new book, Inventing the Movies: The Epic Battle between Innovation and the Status Quo in Hollywood. The interview covers an example from the book and takeaways for innovators in any field. Scott blogs about the movie industry and technology at Cinematech, which is […]

New Media Expo 2008 Discussion

To wrap up New Media Expo 2008, I sat down with Steve Woolf (Epic Fu), Zadi Diaz (Epic Fu), Steve Garfield (, and Walt Ribeiro (Ustream.TV), here’s the unedited conversation. Recorded on Saturday, August 16, 2008. We discussed topics such as what was best about the show, issues as the big-players enter the space, and […]

Slava Rubin of IndieGoGo at New Media Expo

David Tames and Slava Rubin

I met Slava Rubin, co-founder, chief of strategy and marketing of IndieGoGo back at Making Media Now 2008 and was pleased to catch up with him again at New Media Expo in Las Vegas. IndieGoGo is an online social marketplace connecting filmmakers and fans to make independent film happen. Here’s a short video interview with […]

Kino Flo DIVA and Kobold 400W HMI PAR

Here’s a little video I made with Steve Garfield to demonstrate the use of daylight balanced lighting in an outdoor interview situation, using the lighting to help create a better balance between subject and background. The instruments used in the video are the Kobold 400W HMI PAR and the Kino Flo DIVA 400.

The Smile Boston Project (Trailer)

The Smile Boston Project is a 20 minute documentary that I recently completed. The film will premiere at the 16th Woods Hole Film Festival on Saturday, August 4th at 5:00 P.M. (screens with Justice Louis D. Brandeis: The People’s Attorney). The film follows artist Bren Bataclan through the first three years of his Smile Boston […]