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Internation Film & Video Workshops in Maine


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#1 MJ Hasty

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 09:27 AM

Hello,
I'm a newbie considering the "Four Week Documentary Film School" hosted by International Film and Video Workshops in Rockport, Maine.

Anyone have any info on this or similar programs? I need a crash course in documentary film.

Thanks!

MJH
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 10:12 AM

What do you need to know? :)


I can't speak to that program or others, but I do know that the world of documentary film isn't always the smoothest running in the world.

In terms of producing, financing comes from a myriad of sources as filmmakers struggle to shoot as much as possible within very tight financial restrictions. Of course a lot depends on your topic and what you actually need to accomplish. If the story is long-term, you need the resources (money, people, equipment) that will be available when you need it from time to time instead of in one big lump, like a narrative. If your project can be shot fairly quickly, your needs are of course different.

In terms of "cinematography," many docs now go with video for cost purposes. Quality aside, the "little" cameras can be less obtrusive than larger professional equipment, especially if you're shooting real people doing real things. Being a fly on the wall sometimes takes precedence over acquiring the best image possible.

For any project though, you might consider investing a little more on "interview days." A Director/Producer can probably handle a small camera well enough to shoot those "event coverage" days when the subjects are just doing their thing. But for interview days, it is best to bring in a professional who can light and shoot the interviewee well (and professional Audio Mixer!). Again, each documentary is different so it's difficult to paint with such a wide brush, but in general, your interviews will provide the foundation for which the B-roll will be framed. It's important that the "soundtrack" (the interviews) look and sound excellent while with the B-roll, you can usually get away with less than perfect image and sound.
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#3 MJ Hasty

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:47 AM

Thanks Bryan!
This may sound very mundane, but what I really want to do is make documentary-style film for use mainly in the college classroom. For instance, I'd like to do a bio-pic on this really interesting anthropologist, a guy whose work everyone reads in Anthro 101 but there are no films devoted to him and his work. The film would involve interviews with other anthropologists plus some on-location shooting in central Africa, where he did much of his work. I'm an anthropologist myself (now shifting out of academia).

I have a Canon XL-2, just figuring out how to use it, very new at all of this. I am considering taking courses on camera, lighting, sound, and editing, to give me a foundation. I'm reading Viera and Viera's book on lighting right now (Lighting for Film and Digital Cinematography), very helpful.

Your advice on interviewing is greatly appreciated---yes, the lighting and sound would be key in the kind of film I have in mind. I am going to have to figure out how to raise the money to afford professionals on the interview shoots.

Thanks again for the feedback, I have lots of questions but feel a bit silly about asking the professionals.

MJ Hasty
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#4 Mitch Deoudes

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:10 AM

Note that the International Film & Video Workshops have a couple of documentary-specific classes, such as "Documentary Camera," and "The Interview." I took "Camera Assistant" there last summer, and found it to be pretty good. However, the whole place is under new management, so I think the quality of classes may be a bit uneven these days.

Not to hijack your thread - but does anyone out there know of similar programs in the U.S.? That is, short, intensive workshops with experienced working professionals as instructors? Specifically, I'm interested in cinematography.
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rebotnix Technologies

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The Slider

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Opal