Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by T-Reese, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. T-Reese macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2005
    so i have this really great idea for a documentary and i wanna do it... im very serious about it... i took some basic video production classes in high school but beyond that i have nothing... can you guys steer me to somewhere to learn what i need to learn or someone who can help (what kind of camera, how to shoot, how to edit, etc. ) its gonna take awhile to do (maybe a year of shooting then editing after that) i think that this doc can do great things in the right hands, but my hands arent ready to hold it yet... hahah... thanks
  2. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

    Apr 12, 2005
    Outer Space
    I would start by renting the last few documentaries which won the Oscar. You can click on the dates to see the full list of winners. It will also list the other nominees. This may give you the "vibe" of what works. Some of those nominated docs may have behind the scenes type footage. This will give you an idea of the basic equipment you need.

    As far as the mechanics go, outside of schools and books, I don't know what to suggest. I found this, it may lead you to other resources. Try these folks.
  3. sturigdson macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hey T-Reese-

    The good news is that it's a very very good period for documentary filmmaking- and honestly, you should just start considering what you can dedicate to the project... and just begin working on it.

    the filmmaker's resource that Carl linked to has been very helpful to me in the past.

    What i'd suggest is that you seek out a production company or AV crew somewhere in your region and you seek work from them as a PA or a video logger. This is by far the most tedious work on a project, but it can really serve as an excellent opportunity for education. As a logger, you go through ALL the footage that's been shot and you just log it in FCP or Avid- you create the reference files that show different shots, takes, etc.

    As awful as this job can be [ie: really boring] the benefits can be great: if you're working with brilliant filmmakers, you'll learn some of the skills they're using while they're shooting the film AND editing the film. If you're working with terrible filmmakers, you'll begin to see all the ways that what they're doing is terrible- and while you're shooing your own project you'll be able to access this knowlege. It's kind of a no-lose situation. Except for the boredom.

    But here's a couple basic tips: get good coverage. You need to be very smart as you're shooting- get a variety of shots at the RIGHT TIME- meaning you don't move the camera during something that's really important, but you get a good variety of close ups, wide shots, etc. Documentary film, more than narrative film, is really created and written in the editing room- and if you don't have any footage you can cut TO, you can't create a good documentary story.

    My second tip is to pay attention to your audio. Do NOT rely on the camera microphone for your audio. Buy rent or steal a wireless lavalier mic, and really push for your subject to wear it. or have SOMEBODY wear it. Audio is vital- if you miss the shot [and I've learned that I'm ALWAYS missing shots- you just can't capture everything] you need to have GOOD audio to back it up. So look into some kind of audio equiptment.

    Equiptment specifics, honestly, are not that important until you get to a point where you're creating documentaries which have been planned very very thoroughly. In other words- they become very important at a highly polished professional level. So, really, don't worry about the specific technical gadgets you'll need: you'll find what you're missing as you go along- fill those needs as proactively as you can.

    I know this is strange advice, but I feel like you'll learn about specifics as you go- but that getting good audio and decent image are enough for you to begin working on a good film.

    Good luck, mate.

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