I am starting an edit with some HD files on an external drive and am not able to open the files up in QuickTime Player10 or in Final cut Pro 5.1.4. When I double click on the file to open it up in the viewer I get the warning bubble that says "Codec not found. You may be using a compression type w/out the corresponding hardware card" I am running an Intel imac on OX 10.6.4. Has anyone had this problem too? Whats the fix? Thanks.
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.
In reply to Rick Dillwood's post on Fri 12 Nov 2010 :
Personally, I wouldn't trust any distributor that sends you an email and asks you to pay them money to distribute your film. A good distributor could offer an advance against future earnings if they actually anticipate being able to distribute your film in a mutually profitable way. But a distributor that asks you to pay them is just a scam operation.
Can anyone talk about the Oprah Winfrey Documentary Club that's premiering in 2011? I understand she's featuring one documentary a month? Anyone think this is a good opportunity? I can't imagine how having Oprah involved with your film could be bad. How can one get a film to Oprah?
Timoty, I think you submit through Annie Roney at RoCo Films.
Jason, wish we could be more helpful with suggestions about distributing your short. They're just very tough to get out there, and you already contacted the two most logical broadcasters.
Sorry to be flip. Doug is correct, as usual. That's why he runs the joint.
Thanks, Doug, I'll investigate. Have you heard anything about this "club"? I'd think if someone like Oprah was looking for documentaries, it would be another great broadcast opportunity but no one seems to be talking about it. Do filmmakers not know about it or is it a bad thing?
It is a good thing. Any invitation to watch documentary films is a good thing. Shun the Frumious Bandersnatch! But watch docs. We live in the real world.
Here is info on the OWN documentary project – you need to click into the Flash site from this link.
The "club" is based on the book club: one doc per month on cable TV and DVD mail order – an invitation to "get off the couch" have a discussion, do something.
I agree with James says: a good thing.
To me, it's sort of like a new model: traditional, digital, hybrid, Oprah.
My hunch is – to be broadcast by "the club' that your a doc already has to be successful – a hit on the festival scene, awards, nominations, etc. – I could be wrong of course....
Funny that an announcement was just made about acquitions to the OWN club.
Three of the acquisitions are One Lucky Elephant, 65_RedRoses and Most Valuable Players.
I cant remember where I got the information from on the website but a post was made about documentary researchers with there name and contact information. Could somebody help me find it again? I tried using the research tool but couldnt find it
In reply to Bill Jackson's post on Mon 23 Aug 2010 :
Hi there Bill, I haven't figured out how to post a new thread here, so i am replying to you hoping someone will see this post: fact is I know there are some sound studios specialising on inexpensive sound mix for docs in LA, would you know any places? sorry to bug & thx
for my sound mix, i used a really great guy who has a nice little studio in downtown LA. his name is Nathan Smith and he runs a company called NL3 Audio. very inexpensive rates, and he is absolutely obsessive-compulsive about good, clean sound. we had some troublesome air conditioning and street noises in various scenes, and Nathan did a great job with it. tell him i referred you! you can check out his work at www.nl3audio.com
Hello, my name is Derek and althought I have commissioned documentaries and non-fiction film work before. I am now taking a step to be D.I.Y. and do one myself for a bit of a change of pace and discovery.
I would deeply appreciate any help and advice experienced people like yourselves can offer someone as crazy and adventurous as me. I do enjoy diving head first into a new medium that I have no previous formal training. If anything this allows me to innovate, but none-the-less there are plenty of mistakes I could make that could greatly hinder the products production/budget/success etc and nothing is more important than the product itself and its purpose.
My first question has to do with affordable resources and crew suppliments.
I am mapping out the film schedule, travel arrangements, and appointments with talent and talking heads. Already there is multiple conflicts with traveling with my current DP. So understanding that I can't always drag him with me to every opportunity to film or meet with an individual.
So is there a network out there where I can cherry pick videographers, sound engineers, etc that are affordable or willing to do in-kind work from various parts of the country?
My next question has to do with fiscal agents. I am currently investigating and informing my associates about CID (Center for Independent Documentaries) and am in love with what I have found. Especially as someone who is normally playing the role of being the Fiscal Agent/nonprofit resouce. But these relationships can be competative and there is no guarentee that the board and staff will feel inspired to work with us on our topic/film. Are their other non-fiction film organizations that have a good track record and are experienced at being a fiscal agent? Certainly a documentary based FA would have much greater advice and resources to guide or film to reach the market and viewers.
Last but not least. Considering we still have a few months before filming starts. I have yet to invest budget monies towards the bulk of video and sound equipment needed. Our documentary will be taping multiple live performances/jam out sessions, talking head interviews, stills, and moving shots.
Rigs and all aside. We are currently looking at a Canon EOS Mark ii for filming and stills, can anyone recommend a sound setup that can pair with this camera that will caption quality sound? Or better yet, recommend a video/audio pair that you have found most effective in capturing the essense of asceticism in video and sensation of good sound at a comparable price.
I would appreciate any and all advice on these questions and am always willing to be of service should you have any questions for areas I am experienced in. Agreed these are more questions for the member area but I have no creditals thus far in the genre so membership is doubtful.
Maybe in trade of consulting I can help in your films with an environmental, activist, natural resource management, policy, elections, music festivals, community organizing, nonprofit themes.
Always open and always willing,
Derek A. Reuter
Derek – when your schedule has firmed up, feel free to post your crew requests here in Public Classifieds .
Additionally you can search by location/job at http://www.mandy.com/1/filmtvservices.cfm
Hopefully in this manner you'll find some competent and affordable collaborators. Not quite sure what "in-kind work" you're offering, though.
Thank's john, logging the links now.
I often do things for an altruistic purpose and try to cut costs everywhere I can so that the objective and community benefits are achieved or not compremised. Volunteering professional services on a chartiable or education project is in-kind time. If possible maybe some of these videographers would be willing to help for a day for recognition on the credit rolls, webiste, etc instead of wanting a chunk of the funding. By having a nonprofit umbrella the project and leverage their designation it allows for any person to get a tax write-off (in some cases monies paid later by foundation/invoices not project budget) for the hours, materials, supplies, services supplied towards the project.
As for "in-kind" work I am offering. Simply ask, each situation I have encountered in regards for help has always been different. If I am unable to help myself I may have a list of resources to direct you to.
I'm confused about the various "no student films" or "no student funding" or "film must not have been made while a student" etc. ad nauseum....
what's this about exactly? and does the fact that I'm a student and making a film, even outside of class, automatically target me as someone not eligible for funding??
it's sooo frustrating and just a bit unnerving... the current film I'm seeking finishing funds for and other guidance – it's grown outside of my original class project and truly taken on a life of its own. I'm happy of course and no longer see it as a student film (again, am not sure what that is even supposed to mean!).
can someone help explain this to me please??
As far as I know, student films are classified as this because they are made with film school resources. If this disqualifies you for certain finishing funds, maybe the school can point you to an alternative. Take this up in the NAmerica funding topic?
Jo-Anne, thanks but I'm still not clear what exactly constitutes a "student film."
also it raises a new question – what you said about school resources – why would that make any difference?
and no, my school knows no more resources than anyone else.
*this is posted here because the term "student film" is used in a number of designations not just for funding, i.e., film festivals, etc. sometimes there's even a separate category.
maybe every instance "student film" has its own definition??? it's so exasperating....!
Hi Linda, it's really not that complicated. A student film is a film for which you received credit toward a degree using the school's resources – be it their equipment or their editing facilities, etc.
so why the discrimination? who cares whose facilities are used? what's the dif?
and what about a film (such as the one I'm in the midst of now) where it started as a class project but outgrew it and now I'm finishing it separate from class?
some situations have also used the designation "no students" rather than "student film" which makes me feel like my work is somehow automatically disqualified just because I'm a film student.
Hello members, anyone have any suggestions as Gaffers, DPs, or Directors what lighting/camera combination has worked best for you?
It somewhat depends on what type of shots you're making. Talking heads inside will obviously need a different appreach than outside shots. You're also constrained by your budget. Care to tell a bit more what kind of project you're embarking on?
Filming subject is upon American Folk Music from the region and its events. From Old Time to modern emerging genres.
Most interview shots would be scheduled in home, office visits, classooms, archive areas, and outdoors. The other shots will mostly be from outdoor summer events, darkly lit venues, front porches, barns, and in home band jams. At times we will take shots of nature, buildings, homes, and scenes of natural discourse and activities of the human talent and scholars. Of course always expect random opportunities.
Budget most likely won't allow for multiple cameras and light setups but has yet to be invested on equipment so currently very flexible for any recommendations.
At the very least I want to be able to do a light triangle w/background light that gives a good rim on the subject and would be a bit too much during the night. Any suggestions on a package or combination that would work well and is travel friendly?
Derek – here's a pro bono promotional video I made for a school in Pakistan using a Canon 7D and a monopod. Edited using Final Cut Pro on a laptop – it was almost free to make it, apart from a few days of my time. I'm not sure that's exactly the style you're going for, but it's cheap and fast and fairly easy.
I am starting to edit a trailer together for a doc project in the beginning stages of editing. I need to get the trailer to show and help with some financing. The doc is very archival heavy and has a main character with a lot of published philosophies on various topics of interest to the film. So, the director and I are playing with the idea of including text in the trailer so I'm looking for some advice on maybe good examples of films that use text in a way that is informative and also stylistic interesting and significant. Beyond examples, any experiences with using text/quotes in films? Thanks in advance for any feedback!
In reply to James Longley's post on Tue 7 Dec 2010 :
Wow, what a beautiful piece, James.
Hi everyone. I am just breaking into the world of film making, and I have a great idea on a unique story in Bali and how a couple that moved there is changing the way we eat throughout the world. There is much more here, but that is the gist. They have responded to my interest and want to know my proposed plan. I have never made a film before, and want to find someone to work with me on this project who is a cinematographer. Also I need to get back to them and let them know my ideas this week. Any suggestions how to approach this? Thanks, Kristen
In reply to Nadia Hennrich's post on Mon 29 Nov 2010 :
Hi, Nadia. Sorry I didn't get right back to you. I have been on a couple of projects that have consumed all of my time, and I haven't been on D-Word for several weeks.
If you still haven't mixed yet, get in touch with me. My schedule opens up after tomorrow.
In reply to Kristen Kellogg's post on Mon 20 Dec 2010 :
Well, I just got back from shooting in Bali 2 weeks ago, and currently live about an hour from you, so perhaps we should talk. dan at gmail dot com
In reply to Daniel McGuire's post on Mon 20 Dec 2010 :
Hi Dan. I am currently in Australia, but do you have skype? Maybe we could have a chat on there? Or shoot me an email kellogg.kristen (at) gmail.com Would love to hear about what you just wrapped up as well.
Can anyone recommend any great websites (other than this one) where I can get help on how to make my first documentary?
Not sure a website or a book can replace the experience you will gain by launching in and actually making a short doc exercise – ideally something in your own back yard – walk before you run. I presume you have access to a basic DV camera and edit software? How about a 2-minute portrait of "someone at work" – that's always a classic subject. Try to interpret it in visual terms, rather than relying on interview/talking heads.
Also search for "documentary filmmaking" on amazon.com – check out Andy Glynne's Documentaries and How to Make Them and Michael Rabiger's much more comprehensive Directing the Documentary
Can anyone talk about educational distribution? Who are the game players? Can it be lucrative? Is it a difficult market to crack?
In reply to Kristen Kellogg's post on Mon 20 Dec 2010 :
Documentors started about a year ago and have a lot of resources on their page. I loved their film, Shakespeare behind bars and they are really nice folks in general. They do charge for most things, but looks like you can do a subscription as well.
In reply to Kristen Kellogg's post on Mon 20 Dec 2010 :
If you need to come up with a proposal quick, watch as many documentaries as you can. Make sure you have a good mix of different genres, old and new. Then, figure out what you want to borrow from each, and start conceiving the proposal from there. A quick list of varied docs might be:
SALESMAN (Maysles Brothers)
GRIZZLY MAN (Werner Herzog)
HARLAN COUNTY USA (Barbara Kopple)
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS (James Longley)
DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE (Hubert Sauper)
BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE (Michael Moore)
this list could go on forever... but other than making docs, watching docs is the best way to learn.
John-Thanks for the book recommendations. I read Documentaries and How to Make Them by Andy Glynne today. A lot of clarification and great insight.
Christopher-I have been watching a variety of films the last few days and it's been a tremendous help.
Justine-many thanks for the site! So many helpful hints!
Thanks everyone for helping me take the necessary steps to making my vision become a reality.
sorry for the loud introduction.
hope everyone is well.
I am currently in my final year at university, over here in the UK.
I am studying Film production and Technology, and am working on a dissertation, which is based on, the technology used for cinema release documentaries.
I have started the research, and have noticed, i am getting much more information to do with the theory, artistic and issues and debates in documentary, more than the technology side of documentary film making.
I was wondering if anyone could assist me with any articles, books or websites I could look at which focus on the technology side of film making for documentaries in cinema.
Also, I'm amazed at how there are so many different people on this website. wow! this is like a small community within it self.
Also, are there any camera men, sound recorders and editors and cinematographers, which i could maybe interview through email, just so i can get an insight of those who work in the industry, with first hand experience, that would be so great.
if anyone can help, that would be great.
Thank you for your time.
Perhaps your interest for this topic is only about docs production in the "first world". Anyway, you will find a very broad range of technologies used in docs, from the oldies (but goodies) dvx 100´s to the DSLR´S. So maybe your question should be more in the perspective of "how and why" the diverse options of cameras, sound gear, etc., are being used by documentaries filmakers. Well, is just a suggestion.
In reply to Jaime Cruz's post on Thu 23 Dec 2010 :
Thank you for writing back man, appreciate that! yh I am looking into those camera's at the moment. I am analysing the technologies through time, in reference to films. from the 20's to the 60's and to the 21st century. so I am looking at films such as, man with a movie camera, gimme shelter and touching the void. I want to look at why 35mm were used, why did people stop using them, then 16mm came in to action and now the 35mm is getting back in documentaries. I know the general idea, but i want to get in to more detail. also what the future may look like for documentaries. i wish i could change the title, I really do...but I am stuck with it now, so I just have to get on with it and learn to love it.
Jaggy... because of my age, I might be able to help.
When I started... feature docs were shot on 35mm.
I filmed some pickup shots for 'Janis' and 'The Man Who Skied Down Everest'.
If you wish, you can write me off forum.
In reply to Bill Kerrigan's post on Thu 23 Dec 2010 :
hey Bill, hope your well.
That's great.Seriously, I would love to hear from you, and your work. Thank you for replying back to my post, really do appreciate it Bill.
Is it possible I could maybe get your email add, so we can talk about this?
You'll find the email address of any D-Word member if you click on their name or photo.
In reply to Jaggy Singh's post on Thu 23 Dec 2010 :
Jaggy, please email me here:
kerrigan at mac.com