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The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

This is a Public Topic geared towards first-time filmmakers. Professional members of The D-Word will come by and answer your questions about documentary filmmaking.

Mark Barroso
Mon 21 Apr 2008Link

Sam:
You need to be realistic about where this film is to going to be seen and conform to the laws of that country. It's folly to ask someone in the States or Germany about releases. If you want a lock-tight, international release because you're making the next $100 million dollar grossing documentary, then yes, get the most airtight release. Otherwise, you're just going to waste time and intimidate interview subjects.

In the US, news people do not need releases. Filmmakers do. On-camera releases are second best to written ones, and generally accepted for non-controversial interviews9"Boy, that show was great!")


Monica Williams
Wed 23 Apr 2008Link

Thank you Robert :-)

Is there a way to find out what networks or distributors pay for documentaries that are similar to mine? Do I need to contact the producers of those films directly or is there an easier way?


Robert Goodman
Wed 23 Apr 2008Link

you can search the trade papers – hollywood reporter and variety – but take the numbers with a grain of a salt. Most docs are sold for very little money.


Sean Riddle
Wed 23 Apr 2008Link

I'm in the education field overseeing students making their films. Occasionally I have students interested in Documentaries and they often have questions about legally using images, people, etc... is there a website or anything that kind of lists when you do and don't need to get release forms on people in your documentary? Or, for example the legality of using images from Scientology, that were shown in public, but using them for your film without approval from Scientology? Or taking images from websites such as YouTube and putting them in your film?


Mark Barroso
Thu 24 Apr 2008Link

Sean, maybe your students will like this comic book written for filmmakers http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/comics/zoomcomic.html.

But the bottom line is, are they likely to sue you? Scientology, yes. Wilma from Walla Walla on you tube, no.


Sam Rabeeh
Mon 28 Apr 2008Link

In reply to Mark Barroso's post on Tue 22 Apr 2008 :
thank you Mark for the additional info. I'm trying to gather as much info as I can so I Can set some realistic boundaries.


Garret Savage
Thu 1 May 2008Link

Mark, that comic book is awesome! Thanks for sharing it.


Ralph Lindsen
Mon 5 May 2008Link

Very good find Mark, best reference to copyright isseus i ever saw.

Anyway, i'm about to make my first big investment in a camera. My budget is around 2000 bucks. For standard def i was thinking about a sony p170 or a panasonic AG-DVX100B. For High def i was thinking about a sony HDR-FX1 or the Canon XH-A1.

It's going to be used for interviews en concert footage. But it's also gonna be used for school assignments and who knows what i'll like in the future.

Advice would be greatly appreciated. Ow, if you have other suggestions, feel free to state them.

And as exchange i have a good tip for everybode > www.vimeo.com a great place to put yr vids/trailers/whatevers online


Robert Goodman
Mon 5 May 2008Link

Standard definition is dead. I'd look at the Canon HV20 and buy a good microphone. It's never just the camera. You need monitoring, batteries, tripod, case, microphones, isolation headphones, etc.


Rob Appleby
Tue 6 May 2008Link

Ralph, you might want to take a look at the Sony A1E. Poor low light focussing, but very useable otherwise. Should be within your budget.


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