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Documentary

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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Interview Audio in a Mini-doc

Wytse Vellinga’s  mini-doc “Cleaning Up Other People’s Mess”  illustrates nine easy-to-do but powerful techniques . In just under two minutes, you will see an approach that will enable you to add drama to almost any biographical featurette. The nine classic techniques are: starting with a close-up (the car) breaking a single action into separate shots for visual variety…

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The Video Diary and Social Activism

A UK video activist shows how to use a smartphone to create a video diary (a personal mini-doc). The goal is to motivate government and other organizations to be responsive to the needs of ordinary people.

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Shooting an Experimental Mini-documentary

Cassius Rayner gives the lie to the old adage “Those who can do; those who can’t teach.” Rayner is a prolific London-based filmmaker who is dedicated to sharing his skills with novices. In the following interview, he takes us behind the scenes of “Blockley Street Art,” a two-minute experimental mini-documentary.

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