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Posts Tagged ‘documentary short’

  1. Video Supporting Audio in “Holy Cow Lisa”

    February 17, 2014 by

    Holy Cow Lisa from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

    Some of us have posted some great pieces that have relied on an audio recording that is then coupled with either archival photos or quirky graphics to visually illustrate the story. This video does something similar, but while taking things in a new direction. In “Holy Cow Lisa” the filmmaker has recorded a conversation between her professor and herself. As we saw in “The Gap,” the video is a chance to be playful and veer a little off course from audio we hear. The video is a place to be imaginative. We know that the filmmaker is experiencing a break up and we get her feeling of what it is like to talk to people about it and feel. We then get the deeper story of her professor’s experience. She again uses interesting and quirky ways to convey the details of his story. Sometimes she uses more straightforward methods with archival photos, but often she is keeping the viewer aroused with unexpected and humorous scenes or graphics. There is a lot of freedom and FUN possible in this kind of filmmaking. She takes this idea of relying solely on an audio bed upon which separately created visuals are placed even further in a piece she made after this video called “the scared is scared.” It’s hard not to love it because of there is a simplicity to it: Just show what the kid is saying. And yet it feels somehow like you are not just seeing word for word what he saying because the filmmaker has so many ways that what he is saying could be shown, so there feels like a big element of surprise. Yes, I know as a viewer that I am about to see exactly what this kid will say, but how will it be shown to me.


    the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

  2. Triangulation in “Running on Fumes in North Dakota”

    January 30, 2014 by

    Every since I saw the localore project Black Gold Boom I have been pretty interested in the stories coming out of North Dakota about people working in the oil fields there. This piece was especially exciting because I find the experiences of women in this environment particularly telling about how “wild” the area is as it navigates the transition from small town to oil boom town.

    The visuals and her interview help situate the viewer. She expains that she has nothing, while we see a landscape that is barren. It was supposed the land of promise, but nothing about swirling snow or roads clogged with tractor trailers looks promising. The emptiness means that there is room to build something, but what are we building? Unfortunately for Jonnie, this new frontier is occupied by anxiety and loneliness, which is what a lot of people experience, but because she is a woman she experiences it in a different way. In a land full of men, there are no girlfriends and the men only want sex. Her little dog is her only companion.

    What I appreciated a lot about this piece was the way it confirmed the reporting. Though Jonnie is our only character, we still get a triangulation of sorts through the tv reports and radio announcers confirming/backing up/supporting our character’s experiences. Her anxieties are confirmed because other women have gone missing as noted through the new reports.

    Another interesting technique is the use of titling to move the narrative along, and also hold some of the reveals. In one instance we learn that her employer moved her into a trailer. After a beat the next line says that it didn’t have running water. While this feels like cheating sometimes, it seems like it can still be used effectively when you need to move quickly. 

  3. Documentary Short Film Nominee

    January 21, 2014 by

    Since the Internet is abuzz with Oscar nominations, I thought it would be beneficial for us to scope out the competition. One of the nominated pieces for Documentary Short Film, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed) features the world’s oldest living pianist, Alice Herz Sommer. She is also the world’s oldest living Holocaust surviver, making her a registered BAMF.

    What I wanted to pay attention to, although it’s just a trailer, is what is working in terms of this piece. We have an incredibly interesting subject, check. We have interviews from other sources, (trying to remember the triangle, here) and archival footage, photographs and illustrations. Finally, we have the unanswered question; how did music save this person from the Nazis? Along the way we’re sure to learn about the romance and power of music and its influence on all of our lives and the world, hopefully letting us walk away with a warm fuzzy feeling in our heart. What do you think might make this piece award-worthy?

  4. The Record Breaker

    November 12, 2013 by

    The Record Breaker from Brian McGinn on Vimeo.

    Wow. Where do I even begin? First off, this is one of the funnier videos I have seen in a while. Secondly, this man seems like he lives one of the greatest life’s for one simple reason: he is doing exactly what he wants to do. Ashrita Furman has set almost 400 Guinness World Records and has become the man with the most world records of all time. This video, The Record Breaker is a documentary short of Ashrita’s life as he is training to set a new record for climbing Machu Picchu on stilts. This film has been the Winner of the Vimeo Audience Award at the 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and Jury Prizes at the 2012 Palm Springs International ShortsFest and the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival.

    The reason that this film has won so much acclaim is rather easy to see. It is a simple story with a complex character. Filmmaker Brian McGinn has brought to the screen one of the funniest and light hearted documentary pieces I have seen in a while. The two-camera interview’s with the main character and his mother and father were lit very well, with the shadow side of their faces towards the cameras, and the close-up and extreme close-up shots were framed very similarly to how we chose to frame Allyson in our interview set-up. Also, the use of detail shots in this piece is what I think makes it so strong, which helps the viewers see the action up close. Here we have a really interesting character and the filmmaker did a wonderful job of letting the camera capture the moments that truly showed us how happy and content this man is with his life. I was curious after watching this, how much time did McGinn actually share with this man in order to get all of this footage?


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