DIY – Low Cost Equipment Suggestions

canon_1960c002_vixia_hf_r800_camcorder_1483980615000_1308395DIY documentary is about simple inexpensive filmmaking.  Believe me, creating great stories and interesting films have little to do with the equipment.  If your phone or video camera records HD video you are on your way to your first documentary. Purchasing better equipment may be a good idea at some point but for now you may want to work with the equipment you own before spending any money.   If you’re attending one of my DIY workshops and are considering purchasing equipment, you should Continue reading

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My new iPhone documentary – “BROTHERS” 2017

Version 2My new documentary “Brothers” wasn’t a planned film.  It all happened when I agreed to teach a DIY documentary workshop at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre this summer and wanted to experiment with iPhone filmmaking.  I started filming two childhood friends of mine who were living in the woods to use as an example on how to film with your iPhone.  I visited them once a month for two years, filming bits and pieces of them without any real vision or plans.  But then like all great documentaries, there was a surprise ending to their Continue reading

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Sign up today! – DIY documentary workshop.

DIY-CBT AdI am teaching a DIY documentary filmmaking workshop at the Count Basie Theater’s educational program this summer. The workshop will get aspiring filmmakers on their way to their first documentary. It’s for anybody who has a story to tell and an iPhone or inexpensive video camera along with editing software on their computer. No experience is necessary!  The course is once a week for 6 weeks, Wednesday nights are for teens and Continue reading

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DIY Lighting

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 4.39.48 PMI’m working on a music video by a great song writer and talented musician named Danny Petronie.  This isn’t a documentary and of course I don’t believe in artificial lighting of documentaries anyway.  But when I saw this picture below I thought it was worth sharing and explaining how I did my DIY lighting for a fireside scene.  It was quite simple, cheap and worked great.  I used three flood lights on the ground (2-yellow and 1 red) and an  LED light taped to a ladder behind Danny to give a moon effect as back lighting.  The LED light was a Ryobi 18-Volt flashlight Model# P705.  It cost $20 for the LED and $30 for the Continue reading

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Indie Street Film Festival 2017


main_banner_cropped.bcafad1d0ac1This is a perfect film festival for DIY filmmakers.  Their submission fee is low as they look for great independent story telling.  They don’t judge films by their budget, equipment, crew or past films.  They even partner with filmmakers and offer VOD (Video on Demand) distribution and promotion.  It’s a professional organization that has a unique vision and plan for giving a Continue reading

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Take your Documentary on a Film Tour!

db-gainesville-poster-copyIt has been said that making the documentary is the easy part and that distribution, promotion and outreach is where all the hard work is.  That may be true…so if you are serious about your film and you are willing to put the work in, maybe you should take your doc on the road and get your story out to a wider audience.

Let me tell you how I ended up on a nine city film tour that started in New Jersey and ended in Florida.  My latest DIY doc is about 80 homeless people living in the woods who wanted to create a tiny house community that they called Destiny’s Bridge.  I ended up putting a short clip from my documentary on YouTube.  It showed a 72 year old man, Sam, watching his home in the woods Continue reading

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Woodstock Film Festival

wff_hor_onwhite_smI just got back from the Woodstock Film Festival in upstate New York.  I went to all three days of the festival but only attended one movie.  The reason is because I went there for the panel discussions and also because it was convenient since I have a vacation house in the area.  Anyway, you can really learn a lot at panel discussions and you can also learn that you Continue reading

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Surround Sound for your Documentary

e-left-surround-demoMany people would suggest that it’s not necessary to enhance sound with effects, foley or speaker separation in a documentary as in 5.1 surround sound.  As if to think that you spend a year or two or three or more of your life creating a film with hopes of drawing a viewer into your story and that using audio to enhance the experience isn’t necessary.  I happen to be one of those people who believe that sound is as important, if not more important, than the video quality.  That is why I decided to add a 5.1 surround sound mix to my Continue reading

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Is Cinema Verite a Lost Art?

Cinema Verite, A Lost Art – Jack Ballo

        This article is from NJ Stage magazine.  To view it in its original format click here        By Rosemary Conte                                              Originally Published: 2016-07-21

bio-pics6Jack Ballo is an award-winning “alternative” filmmaker. His artistic style is “truth cinema”A.K.A. Cinéma Vérité—the French technique of filmmaking originated by Jean Rouch that became popular in the 1960s.

In Destiny’s Bridge 2016, Ballo captures the raw, natural action and dialogue of 80 homeless people and their caregiver, Minister Steve Brigham, who all live in tents in an encampment in the woods of Lakewood NJ, known as Tent City. The film is Continue reading

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The DVD is Still Alive

unknownWhen I bought my iMac about 4 years ago, Apple didn’t include a program to create DVD menus.  They only had a very simple basic DVD menu that is part of the FCPX editing software.  A friend of mine bought the latest iMac a year later and they didn’t even include the DVD burner as part of the iMac.  The reason may be that as Apple’s iTunes has eliminated the need to purchase a CD, Apple may want to get closer to eliminating the DVD for the same reason. Continue reading

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