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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Two-Camera Shoots

nashville-1This DIY documentary that I made in 2012 shows how much you can do by yourself with two cameras.  I filmed a two-camera interview at the home of a singer songwriter in Nashville and I also used two cameras at a live performance I filmed of her at a club in Philadelphia.

It was a big job setting up by myself so I asked if I could come in the day before to set up and Continue reading

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Getting Your Documentary Noticed…

signimagesLook, it’s tough out there in the world of getting your movie noticed.  Please don’t think that if you do make a pretty good DIY documentary that people will come running to see it and that distributors will be knocking on your door to sign a deal.  The problem with a movie is that it’s not tangible.  You can’t look at a DVD and Continue reading

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Editing – Connecting Scenes

images“Yes, but” is what my mentor, Bill Jersey, told me should be asked when making editing decisions. I had no idea what he was talking about.  So the next time I saw him I asked him what exactly “Yes, but” means.  It still didn’t make sense to me…I just wasn’t getting his point.  On the third attempt to understand his editing philosophy I asked him to write Continue reading

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Music Licensing for your Documentary

imagesIt would be fair for me to say that clearing the music for my latest documentary was one of the most daunting experiences I’ve had in filmmaking, since harassing my family and friends for donations on my Indiegogo page.  However, the truth is that the difficult part was not the process, it was learning the process.  As I look back I Continue reading

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The Story Arc is all that Matters.

320px-heroesjourney-svgEvery filmmaker needs to ask one simple question when making a film…what will make a person want to watch it?  The answer is the story arc.  The story arc will make or break your documentary.  Never forget as you shoot and edit your movie that there is nothing that matters more then how you tell the story and how you will keep the viewer interested. Keeping a person curious while being entertained is your job as a filmmaker.  It’s really all that matters when telling any story and Continue reading

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Crowdfunding

unknown-4I would be lying if I said that the experience of creating and pursuing an Indiegogo fund raising campaign was enjoyable.  There were of course some great moments of joy when donations were coming in, but the day to day stuff was brutal.  My first suggestion to anyone that is considering an Indiegogo campaign is to be realistic about how much money you think you can raise for your film.  I did my Indiegogo fundraising campaign to raise funds for my finishing costs. Continue reading

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Bill Jersey Remembers Albert Maysles

unknown-3When Bill Jersey asked me to help him make a short video to be played at the Albert Maysles Memorial Film Festival at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco, I was more than happy to offer my services. Bill is a pioneer of cinema verite and not only was he there when Albert and David Maysles started their career as filmmakers but he also gave Albert his first industrial cinematographer job. Bill also worked for Al on his first feature film “Showman.” It was a lot of fun for me to hear Bill talk about Albert Maysles.  Two pioneers of cinema verite who Continue reading

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