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Documentary Techniques
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Old June 14th, 2004, 04:42 AM   #1
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New Documentary

I am just completing the finishing touches to a documentary shot in Thailand and Burma over the last 2 years. The trailer for it is at www.the-promise.info.

I'd love some feedback from you guys. Shot with a Canon XL-1. Thanks to Ken Tanaka for your input with the sound set-up!

Let me know what you think.

Peter Summers
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Old June 14th, 2004, 05:44 AM   #2
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Peter, I've moved your thread to the appropiate forum and
made your link clickable.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 05:50 AM   #3
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I think you brought the feeling pretty well. There was quite a lot
of camera shake though that I thought distracted from what
you are trying to tell and show. Als the first title / logo is hard
to read (black on black).
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Old June 14th, 2004, 05:59 AM   #4
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Thanks Rob,

Good point about the logo. The camera shake is due to extreme shooting conditions, as you can probably appreciate. Also some of the video isn't mine, it was shot by local human rights groups.

Thanks again,
Peter
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Old June 14th, 2004, 06:47 AM   #5
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I really really liked it.

It was actually one of the best trailers I have seen in here.

I love the tone the film is setting.
I like the faces...

It leaves me wanting more...I really wanna see this film.

Great job.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 07:28 AM   #6
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Thanks Christian,

I'm just finishing the final edit and am hoping to get it into a couple of film festivals. Unfortunately the subject of the Burmese people isn't high on the list for UK broadcasters.

I'm really glad you liked it. I'll post any info (if things happen for the film) here.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #7
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Great trailer, Peter!

I´m thinking about making a documentary too, but I want to be totally independent until it´s finished. What books with theory and technical info you recommend me? What is the basic equipment? I was thinking about something that matched EXACTLY to what you said you used in The Promise: 3 CCD cam, shotgun mic, lavalier mic. Did you record your audio with a DAT recorder or it was direct to the cam? What kind of light did you use?

If you want to say a little more about making a documentary, I´m sure everybody will be thankful.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 10:07 AM   #8
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Hi Gustavo

I would encourage you to make use of the wealth of knowledge and experience on this site. This was my first port of call, really.

Then when I got my camera I went around a few charities and offered to do promotional/fundraising videos for them. That gave me a lot of hands-on experience with the camera and the editing. It also helped when I later came to try and get funding as I had a showreel of work that my funder could see.

As I have said, I used a Canon XL-1, shot gun and lav mike set-up straight into the camera using a break-out box. I used only available daylight and did a lot of hand-held stuff, which isn't easy in the heat of the jungle, I can tell you.

The only real negative about the Canon was the size: sometimes it was too intrusive to use in sensitive areas (especially as I was being watched and followed by the Thai military intelligence most of the time.) A smaller cam would have been better sometimes, or one that looks more like a tourist's handycam, do you know what I mean?

Anyway I hope that helps you. Read everything you can: Digital Film making by Scott Billups is excellent, Guerilla Film Makers Handbook is really good but not so useful for documentaries. Michael Wiese has also written some useful books. And practice: don't leave your cam in the box, get it out and shoot stuff!

I wish you all the luck in the world with your project, Gustavo.

Peter
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Old June 14th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #9
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Thank you Peter!

You made it look easier and cheaper than I thought it had to be. Thank you very much for your help and GOOD LUCK TOO!
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Old June 14th, 2004, 01:41 PM   #10
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Hey Gustavo.

I just wanna say to you; If you have an idea, which transforms itself into a story and makes pictures in your head... it doesnt matter how much money you got...it WILL touch poeple!

I have only made one serious doc!
It is entitled IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH and is being edited in this very moment...I can´t wait too see how it turnes out...

Good luck with your film...I am sure it will be great...Like Peter´s...hehe;)
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