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Documentary

Time Bending in Movies

Einstein proved that time is relative. But it’s moviemakers like Conor McDonnell who allow us to see the malleability of the fourth dimension. In “100 Second Week” McDonnnell reduces a journey spanning 168 hours to 100 seconds. Time bending in movies can be done in several ways. You can vary the frame rate to create…

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Four ways to use titles in a mini-doc

A memorable mini-doc must have strong images. But as we learn in Robb Montgomery’s “El Tatio Geyers,” concise, carefully written text can add clarity and drama. Montgomery, a celebrated mobile journalist and film teacher, illustrates four ways  to use titles in this short travelogue: He titles the video: “El Tatio Geyers” (0:04) He identifies the location: “In the…

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B-roll extravaganza: the art of visual exposition

Mac Premo’s astonishing–“The Function of Music”–teaches three keys to making a successful video interview: 1) find a person (the interviewee) that the audience might like to know; 2) have a specific subject in mind (often the answer to a question);  and 3) use visual examples (“B-roll”). “The Function of Music,” which was shown at the 2017 Disposable Film Festival, checks all three…

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Using Two Kinds of Dialogue in a Mini-doc

“The Sapeh Keeper” beautifully  illustrates the two kinds of dialogue found in most well-made mini-docs.  The filmmaker Mariah Ahmad gives us scenes where her subject Mathew Ngau Jau is shown talking about the Sapeh, a lute played by traditional Malaysian musicians. These “talking-head” clips are then intercut with  scenes in which Jau’s comments are played as…

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Dancing with Dragons: a natural nature movie

In “Dancing with Dragons” filmmaker Erez Sitzer takes the natural approach to nature moviemaking. He allows his star—a dragonfly— to be what it is.

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Mind Calming with Slow Motion

A few seconds into “London Graffiti Artists,” a title card reads: “The world is racing past us…sometimes we need to slow down.” To help us accomplish that difficult feat, the director Cassius Rayner has shot his mini-doc entirely in slow motion. “London Graffiti was shot using an iPhone 6s and a Smooth C 3 axis gimbal. The…

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