Some Reflections on a Recent Video Production

During the last two months, I completed a short film about a dying cat. I created the video as part of an online class titled “D.I.Y. Documentary Mobile,” taught by Kia Geraths through Northwest Documentary based in Portland, Oregon. This post reviews some of what I learned in the production process. The course’s primary goal…

11 Tips for Beginning Documentary Makers

Starting production on your first documentary can be an exciting — and scary — moment. On a couple occasions this summer I asked Twitter followers about their favorite or most memorable advice to new documentary makers. This post rounds up some of those responses. 1. START. Seriously, start. Do something, anything. Conduct some background research,…

Plans for an Interactive Documentary Production Class

This fall I have the amazing good fortune to teach a class in documentary. This one is titled Interactive Documentary Production, a class that I had developed and proposed almost two years ago. Due to budget and enrollment issues, the class was canceled last fall. But this fall it will be running, with 10 students…

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…