A Memory Box and an Interactive Documentary: Now What?

In recent weeks both my colleague Amy Lauters and I have been blogging about turning a box of memories she received during her research on wives of farmers into an interactive documentary prototype. We both have perused the box’s contents and have made a loose inventory of what was inside. The general contents included the…

Some Observations on Web-Based Interactive Documentaries

In preparing for making an interactive documentary prototype, I have been exploring other interactive documentaries, specifically web-based ones. Web versions offer the most universal access and can require less programming than tablet or smart phone apps. The following post gathers my observations in learning more about the best practices of these experiences. Story A clear,…

Procedures for Making an Interactive Documentary

My colleague Amy Lauters recently gave me a box she received during her research on farmers’ wives. A family had sent it to her with the hopes she might find it helpful or interesting as part of her work. I took a quick peek at the box’s contents. It contained pictures, a geneaology, newspaper clippings,…

Starting with Smartphone Filmmaking

During the last year or so, I have been looking at different points of entry into filmmaking. This post focuses on perhaps the easiest entry point: a smartphone. A smartphone offers a complete filmmaking kit that fits in your pocket, with recording, editing, distributing, and, of course, viewing. Both Apple iPhones and Android phones offer…

Some Lessons in Nonlinear Editing

In the last few months I have begun to learn more about nonlinear editing. I can now assemble a simple video with basic edits and sound, but nothing I have produced thus far has much polish to it just yet. Part of the lessons I have learned has involved trying different programs. I have tried…

Some Alternatives to Adobe Cloud Products

Updated August 26, 2019, to include a link to Gimp. Adobe has come to dominate with its extensive program offerings: Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Illustrator. For the professional, the suite might be a must-have. Some prefer the cohesion across the options, and they like access to conistently updated software. Not everyone supports their subscription…

How to Learn Filmmaking without Pursuing a Degree

For many years, I considered pursing a degree in documentary production. With so many great master’s-level programs out there, from Wake Forest to Montana State, the temptation was quite strong. The desire to take on more debt, however, not so much. Degree programs do offer several advantages: Focused and compressed learning time Access to the…

10 Lessons from a Beginner’s DSLR Course

In June 2019, I attended a DSLR boot camp presented by Tom Dunn, a commercial and art photographer based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He presented this workshop through Film North, a film arts organization also based in the Twin Cities. This course is my seventh through this group. While I have taken digital still photographs…

11 Lessons from an Augmented Reality Course

I recently completed a short course on augmented reality and ARCore, Google’s augmented reality engine. Basically, augmented reality offers a layer of information between the user and the world through a device such as a smartphone or headset. That information might include environmental data, biometric data, visual representations, user instructions, and much more. While AR…