Last Build Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:13:55 +0000Copyright: Copyright 2007 by David Tames, released under a creative commons license, some rights reserved.
Sat, 14 Jan 2017 14:18:15 +0000I’ve been investigating 3-axis gimbal stabilizers for smartphones and have held off purchasing one because I just don’t like how sloppy they feel, there’s a lot of lag in the motion, you pan, and then it catches up with you on its own terms. But now Tiffen, and drone-maker Yuneec have teamed up to design […]
Thu, 05 Jan 2017 03:41:41 +0000Panasonic recently announced the Lumix GH5 Micro-Four-Thirds camera which I look forward to taking out for a spin. I’ve been shooting with its predecessor, the GH4, over the past year, and I really like the camera. The GH4 has made its mark as a popular camera among independent and documentary filmmakers. I like the fact […]
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 16:54:12 +0000Black Friday (Sophia Al-Maria, 2016) is one of the most intriguing and insightful digital media installations I’ve seen in a while, I saw it at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York last month, and I keep coming back to it in my thoughts. As an artist, Al-Maria has placed 21st century life […]
Sun, 09 Oct 2016 05:19:43 +0000In 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 […]
Sat, 11 Jun 2016 03:55:21 +0000SEED: 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 […]
Thu, 09 Jun 2016 10:56:52 +0000I 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 […]
Tue, 17 Nov 2015 13:18:01 +0000Many 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 […]
Mon, 12 Oct 2015 22:11:36 +0000I’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 […]
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:31:49 +0000On 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 […]
Thu, 28 May 2015 15:59:46 +0000After 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 […]
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:54:35 +0000Hollow (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 […]
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:55:54 +0000This 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 […]
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:07:15 +0000In 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, […]
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:08:41 +0000A 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 […]
Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:06:17 +0000Several 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 […]
Mon, 10 Nov 2014 01:39:46 +0000Good 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 […]
Sat, 08 Nov 2014 17:14:40 +0000On 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 […]
Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:18:02 +0000Peter 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 […]
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.
Sun, 23 Feb 2014 15:26:31 +0000On 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.
Mon, 04 Nov 2013 00:14:11 +0000Follow-up notes to "Smartphone Shorts" at Tufts University, part of the Boston International Kids Film Festival program.
Fri, 07 Jun 2013 16:45:10 +0000Great 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.
Sun, 02 Jun 2013 22:02:57 +0000I 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.
Mon, 27 May 2013 14:35:35 +0000If 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.
Fri, 24 May 2013 19:55:13 +0000An interview with Maria Agui Carter, director of the new documentary, Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, secret soldier of the American Civil War.