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Documentary, new media, video arts...

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:28:09 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2007 by David Tames, released under a creative commons license, some rights reserved.

My Sling Bag Video Production Kit

Sun, 09 Oct 2016 05:19:43 +0000

In January I purchased a Panasonic GH4 as my primary camera for shooting both stills and video after doing my research and shooting with a variety of full-frame, APS-C, and MFT (Micro Four Thirds) cameras. I decided that the full-frame lenses and cameras are simply too heavy for a lightweight kit. The Sony Alpha series […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016: SEED: The Untold Story

Sat, 11 Jun 2016 03:55:21 +0000

SEED: The Untold Story examines the disappearance of seed varieties, a crucial environmental and food security issue, focused around the work of several passionate seed collectors including Dr. Vandana Shiva in India who says “…as the corporate greed creates the seed famine, more people realize that they need to have their own seed … I […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016: Arrival in Sheffield

Thu, 09 Jun 2016 10:56:52 +0000

I just arrived in Sheffield to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest. There are a lot of amazing documentary film and VR projects showing at this years festival, I look forward to going over the catalog over dinner tonight, it’s amazing how VR has captured the interest of the documentary community, Sheffield changed the name of their new […]

Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk when Telling Truth to Power

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 13:18:01 +0000

Many of the most important issues facing our society are also those that powerful people or institutions don’t want made public. Documentary filmmakers who tell truth to power often face aggressive attacks from powerful individuals, organizations, businesses, governmental agencies, and industry associations. A new report by the Center for Media & Social Impact, School of Communication, American University […]

Two entry-level, versatile, compact, sound recording kits for your consideration

Mon, 12 Oct 2015 22:11:36 +0000

I’m often asked by my students what’s a good sound recording starter kit that provides the most bang for the buck on a tight budget. In response to this question, I’ve assembled the following kits based on gear I’ve purchased and used myself. While I often prefer to use bulkier, higher-performance professional sound gear in my […]

Release forms for documentary productions

Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:31:49 +0000

On a professional documentary production, obtaining proper written permissions is the responsibility of the producer and can prevent complicated problems down the line in the event the project is licensed for broadcast or distribution. The four most common release forms used in documentary productions are: Appearance Release, for non-actors Minor Appearance Release, for children, it must […]

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The seven presentation design habits of great presenters

Thu, 28 May 2015 15:59:46 +0000

After years of sitting through way too many banal, sleep inducing PowerPoint presentations, I finally could not take it any more and dashed off this missive which I originally wrote for my students. I believe there are seven crucial presentation design habits that will help you develop more engaging and memorable presentations. These habits are […]

A conversation with Elaine McMillion Sheldon about Hollow

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:54:35 +0000

Hollow (requires Google Chrome) is an interactive documentary and community participatory project that examines the future of rural America through stories of over 30 residents of McDowell County, West Virginia, an area that is representative of many regional boom-and-bust economies across the country. The project is also available in a DVD edition for classroom use along with a study […]

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Is Final Cut Pro X finally ready to be viable replacement for Final Cut Pro Classic?

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:55:54 +0000

This post is a follow-up to the “Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors” workshop I did at Boston Neighborhood Network on Saturday, December 13, 2014. If you’re still editing with Final Cut Pro Classic (my way of referring to Final Cut Pro 7.x or earlier) and sitting things out, you will […]

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Is the Audio-Technica BP4029 the perfect cinéma-vérité microphone?

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:07:15 +0000

In an ideal world I’d have a ninja-class boom operator with me on all of my documentary shoots, but short of that I usually place a wireless lavaliere on my subjects in order to capture the best dialogue possible while providing then with mobility along with the intimacy of a small crew. However, on some shoots, […]

Four approaches to structuring micro-documentaries

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:08:41 +0000

A micro-documentary differs from a long-form documentary in terms of length, structure, and quite often, purpose. While most long-form documentaries tell a story with a classic three act narrative structure, shorter documentaries require different  strategies for structuring the viewer’s experience. Most often a micro-documentary will be 2 to 3 minutes in length, though some can […]

Some quotes on documentary, cinema, and art that don’t fit in a tweet

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:06:17 +0000

Several years ago when I was working on my MFA at MassArt I began collecting quotes related to my thesis work, and here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. Do you have any favorite quotes on documentary, cinema, or art that do not fit in a tweet? Please share them with me via comments […]

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Twelve essential documentary shooting guidelines

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 01:39:46 +0000

Good video is not the result of having the latest camera, support gizmo, etc. Ultimately conceptualization, good composition, smooth movement, and clean sound are the most important components of the shooting process. Here are twelve guidelines to assist your production practice and in your reflection on your results: 1. Do not keep your distance and […]

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Smartphone Movie-Making Workshop Follow-up

Sat, 08 Nov 2014 17:14:40 +0000

On Saturday, November 8, 2014 I conducted a workshop at the Boston International Kids Film Festival at Tufts University, this is the follow-up I promised to post immediately after the workshop. I put together a handout (PDF) for participants with a listing of software, gear, and resources for further study. Here are some notes from the […]

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10 reasons why making documentaries is better than making fiction films

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:18:02 +0000

Peter Broderick, who helps filmmakers “explore uncharted frontiers and avoid dangerous pitfalls and predators,” gave a wonderful talk this morning at Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the many gems in his presentation was his list of ten reasons why making documentaries is better than making fiction films: 10. Grants and Donors 9. Partnerships with non-profits and […]

New Forms / New Opportunities Panel (Sarah Wolozin & Natasha Giraudie)

Sun, 02 Mar 2014 22:20:38 +0000

”Open Plenary: New Forms New Opportunities,“ with panelists Sarah Wolozin (Director, Open Documentary Lab at MIT) and Natasha Deganello Giraudie (CEO, Micro-Documentaries in San Francisco), and David Tames (organizer and moderator), part of the Making Media Now 2013 conference on May 3, 2013 at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, presented by Filmmakers Collaborative.

Reflections on Paul Sharits frozen film frames

Sun, 23 Feb 2014 15:26:31 +0000

On the bus back to Boston this past Monday I kept thinking about the Images of an Infinite Film exhibit I saw at MoMA last weekend. I loved how Paul Sharits’s Untitled, from his Frozen Film Frame series (c. 1971–76) brings into sharp relief the physicality of film.

Smartphone Shorts (follow-up notes)

Mon, 04 Nov 2013 00:14:11 +0000

Follow-up notes to "Smartphone Shorts" at Tufts University, part of the Boston International Kids Film Festival program.

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Seven videos shot with an iPhone

Fri, 07 Jun 2013 16:45:10 +0000

Great work does not always require a fancy camera, sometimes the iPhone is a better choice when you need to maintain a low profile. There are lots of great examples on Vimeo and YouTube of iPhone videos, here are seven examples.

The Hatchback Production Kit

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 22:02:57 +0000

I recently conducted a workshop titled “The Hatchback Production Kit” at the Camera Company Pro Video Show in Dedham, Massachusetts. During the workshop I promised to post an inventory of the items I discussed in workshop. In the workshop I described the kit I’ve assembled for shooting formal interviews. I prefer shooting hand-held and travelling with a single camera bag, however, sometimes I need more gear to achieve specific results.

The 2013 Summer Documentary Film School at MassArt

Mon, 27 May 2013 14:35:35 +0000

If you are looking for an intensive and focused introduction to the process of making documentary films this summer, I encourage you to investigate the Summer Documentary Film School at MassArt. I believe this is one of the best intensive education options available for emerging documentary makers.

Maria Agui Carter talks about “Rebel,” a documentary about Loreta Velazquez

Fri, 24 May 2013 19:55:13 +0000

An interview with Maria Agui Carter, director of the new documentary, Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, secret soldier of the American Civil War.

Documentaries screening this weekend at IFFBoston

Sat, 27 Apr 2013 03:09:33 +0000

Each year the Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) brings to New England an exciting program of films, panels, and parties. I usually seek out the documentaries, here are three that stood out as I was deciding what to see this year.

Join me for Making Media Now 2013 in Boston, May 3, 2013

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 12:00:45 +0000

Join on Friday, May 3rd at Massachusetts College of Art and Design for Making Media Now 2013, the annual must-attend conference for documentary media makers presented by Filmmakers Collaborative. I'm very excited about this year’s theme, Living the Connection Economy (exploring how creative and business connections offer media makers new models for storytelling, production, distribution and engagement) and I'm sure you will be too!

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Kevin Sweet Intervals Series in the Brant Gallery through April 21, 2013

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 00:44:57 +0000

Now through Sunday, April 21st, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each night in the Brant Gallery (3rd floor, South Building) at MassArt, filmmaker Kevin Sweet is orchestrating an { installation | performance | workshop } that is part of his Intervals series. Experience some of his completed 16mm multi-projector loops and create your own (or […]