February 24, 2014 by email@example.com
The Runners from Banyak Films on Vimeo.
Did somebody post this before? Because I can’t believe I’m the first one here to stumble upon it. I suppose it’s only been up on Vimeo for a few days, but anyway… I love this piece. Not only did the directors interview people in a position we’ve never seen done before, but they found a moment where people were inherently willing to put their guard down. There’s something about the existential connection between our inner monologues and our physical beings that makes any kind of motion cause your mind to drift. There’s been times in my life when I’ve been a runner, and the cerebral clarification part of the process was always my biggest reason for doing it.
There’s an awesome article with these fellas at The Guardian that shows the cool bike trailer they created to film the interviews, but also talks about how willing the majority of the people were to start speaking. I think some of the comfort level not only arises from this mindset that people are in mid-run, but also the quick realization that these directors were doing everything they can to not get in the way. I’m finding in my own work that sometimes creating that comfort zone with your interviewee is the biggest part of the process. While filming Grateful Dead bowling, I’ve been having a surprisingly difficult time getting folks to loosen up around me. I think a good degree of the uneasiness comes from the stereo typical angle of mockery that is often used in news pieces in regard to the Deadhead community. However as tomorrow will now be the 3rd week (three and a half) I’ve spent at the lanes, as well as the 2nd time filming, I feel as though I’ve now built up a long enough track record for myself with these folks that they’re finally ready to be themselves in front of the camera. There’s nothing worse than a stiff hippie for some bad interview footage – take my word for it.
Back to The Runners though, this video reminds me of Taxi Cab Confessions. The stories all seem to have that fairly direct and quick path to deep insight, caused by a near instantaneous degree of acceptance.
Category Winter Week 7 | Tags: documentary,vimeo staff picks | 2 Comments
February 10, 2014 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasin Phares from Meditation 4 Madmen on Vimeo.
This video strikes me as a very powerful profile piece. I think the use of black and white was very intentional in keeping the feeling of the video “vintage” to match the content of the video, making a vintage drag racing bike. Overall, the use of detail in this short video is also done really well. I wouldnt typically think to shoot detail shots of a man’s beard but they work really well here (1:44) and they help to add a humanizing anchor to all of the detail shots of the bike.
Something that I think is really powerful in videos, and that Meditation 4 Madmen does really well, is to bring the viewer into the experience. At 1:02, the video runs really quickly through almost indecipherable images and stops on the shot of the man riding the bike. The jumpy music also helps to add the effect here. What I thought worked about it is the choice of quote, sound effects and editing techniques to let the viewer feel like he is experiencing the ride with the biker, and not from a computer screen. What do you think? Does it work for you?
Category Winter Week 5 | Tags: black and white,cinematography,vimeo staff picks | 1 Comment
January 23, 2014 by email@example.com
SKIN from SkinShortFilm on Vimeo.
This film is a bit on the long side, but after thinking about it for two days, I had to post it. It also contains some graphic imagery, seeing that its about a young boy that is a taxidermist like his father. I was first drawn to it because of the display of all of the awards it has won. (Won’t it be so nice when we can do this with our films??) But after watching it in it’s entirety, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I invite you to see if it has the same effect on you…
Firstly, I think the opening shot is the most brilliant shot in the entire piece. The film opens with a reflection of a boy sitting on a bench and as he moves to get up and grab something in the water, the camera slowly pans up and meets his real hand as he is touching the water. Beautiful! I really admire that the filmmaker is telling you exactly where your focus should be and she directs that focus with the moving shot and action in the frame. I also really like the shot at 2:16, where the fore frame is out of focus, and the boy is watching the little girl interact with her dog and turns and rides away. The filmmaker did a really good job of letting the action play out in the scene. A lot of times, we are tempted to cut things as tightly as we can, and we can lose good moments like this that really help with the pacing of the story.
Category Winter Week 3 | Tags: film short,vimeo staff picks | No Comments
November 12, 2013 by firstname.lastname@example.org
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?
Category Week 6, Weekly Inspiration | Tags: brian mcginn,documentary short,giant hula hoop,guinness book,guinness book of world records,record breaking,stilts,the record breaker,vimeo,vimeo staff picks | 2 Comments
November 6, 2013 by email@example.com
Justin Boyd: Sound and Time from Walley Films on Vimeo.
Since we will soon be having a discussion about sound and how we as storytellers can use it in dramatic ways, I thought that this documentary short was really interesting. This guy uses sound in ways that most of us haven’t even thought of! Cheesy enough, it’s true. This video is also just very beautifully captured, so that adds to the awe-inspiring way that this character is enthralled with sound. What works for me in this piece is the combination between sound design and the amount of matched-action sequences in this video.
The scene where Justin goes to collect audio at the train tracks is one scene that really stood out for me, due to the combination of attention-getting tracking shot as he walks up to the tracks, action shot of him putting the recording strip on the tracks, and then the reaction shot of his face and hands with the recording device. To me, it really worked to bring me into the action of this guy actually going out and recording such a large amount of audio to archive. I also really like the scene of Justin inside (with beautiful lighting) where he is going through old recordings. The scene begins with a dolly shot moving across the bucket of tapes as he chooses one to listen to. The sequences goes into another great sequence of matched action editing while Justin puts in a recording he made of his grandfather and then cuts to a cinematic camera movement of a “sweeping across the floor” to the character as he listens intently to this recording of his grandfather. To me, that is a powerful moment that was captured and expressed.
Category Week 5, Weekly Inspiration | Tags: audio,audio storyteller,sound,sound design,sound technician,vimeo,vimeo staff picks | 1 Comment
October 29, 2013 by firstname.lastname@example.org
A Good Life, Too: Alonzo Clemons from The Good Line on Vimeo.
This is the story of a man that was institutionalized for 10 years after suffering a brain injury as a child. He began to make sculptures as a way to express himself. “When they wouldn’t give him clay, he would scrape warm tar from the parking lot.”
This is an example of a character profile that a filmmaker might stray away from due to fear of not being able to understanding the character and their message. However, the people that put together this video short thought outside of the normal realm of creativity to be able to help Alonzo Clemons tell his story. They used text as a tool to help the audience understand his message. Also, I thought that this was also a good example of Wes’s point that video is over 50% close-up shots. The detail shots of Alonzo’s face and hands as he was molding the clay figure were very powerful and effective.
Category Week 4, Weekly Inspiration | Tags: a good life,storytelling,storytelling with subtitles,vimeo,vimeo staff picks | 4 Comments
October 23, 2013 by email@example.com
This video is by no means documentary, but I thought that it was still an excellent example of dramatic storytelling. While studying the fundamentals of multimedia work, we understand that so many powerful stories are based around peoples emotions and how we as communicators evoke similar emotion in our audience. I thought that this piece was worth sharing because it makes use of many techniques we must master as digital storytellers: presenting multiple characters and their backstory, match-action and intentional jump cut editing, choosing a supporting and powerful soundtrack, and evoking a strong response from the audience (I will admit, I shed a tear or two). Does this type of storytelling work for you?
Category Week 3, Weekly Inspiration | Tags: storytelling,vimeo,vimeo staff picks | No Comments