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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Learn The Secrets Of Effective Documentary Storyboarding

Filming a good documentary requires great attention to detail -careful research, passion for the subject matter at hand, and painstaking preparation can combine to create an unforgettable "slice of life" - one that really resonates with viewers. However, you must approach the pre-production part of your project correctly - part of getting it right relies on great storyboarding. Detailed storyboards will allow you to organize a lot of different types of information - you will also be able to plan out the entire pre-production process.

Most documentary filmmakers work hard to create a specific focus or point-of-view (Dylan Avery, creator of the 9/11 conspiracy documentary, Loose Change, is one example of this style), whereas others will strive to avoid bias or editorializing. Whatever approach you take, you will need to go through a process of previsualization before your can craft truly effective storyboards. This previz phase is usually a brainstorming phase, one where test interviews may also be conducted (with or without filming the subject).

The point of previz is to structure a particular focus, and to find subjects who will share their lives to the degree that is necessary to produce a meaningful documentary. During previz, consider locations, research, "casting", and camera shots and angles. Spend a little time thinking about soundtracks, music, and any special effects. Setting the tone and organizing your vision is the goal of previsualization. Sometimes, this is achieved in a group setting - true brainstorming is a group activity. However, you can also work alone - putting your research in a linear order and dreaming up ideas can be very helpful as your prepare to do your storyboarding.

Today, documentary directors are turning away from the tiresome storyboarding methods of past decades. Instead of hiring a live artist, and dealing with delays and drama while waiting for sketches, they are opting for film storyboard software that takes the artist out of the equation. Web storyboard software has come a long way - now, it offers a full complement of pre-loaded artwork, including characters, background, and props. This software is designed to pay for itself over time, by eliminating the need to outsource drawings. It also streamlines the creative process - you can create finished storyboards in mere minutes.

Whichever storyboard method you choose, be it old-fashioned paper storyboards or modern digital storyboards, you will need to map out every second of your documentary - frame by frame. Consider every element of each shot or scene, and then add dialogue and music as well (obviously, this is easier with digital storyboards - the software makes it easy to add or change sound effects). Play with ideas as you craft your storyboard - you can capture the essence of your artistic vision through experimentation. This can lead to a more streamlined, cost-effective filming process. You'll save time, money, and effort when you create polished storyboarding that organizes all the myriad elements of your documentary - before the cameras start rolling.

Today's award-winning and critically acclaimed directors and animators use previsualization technique that visualize scenes in a movie before filming begins. View Free Demo here: Film Storyboarding Software

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joy_Davenport


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Wainwright Walks: Complete BBC Series 1 and2 Box Set [DVD]

Using Wainwright's Pictorial Guides of the Lakeland Fells, presenter Julia Bradbury explores the mountain walks of the Lake District. This collection features all the episodes from the first and second series.

Wainwright5
Excellent product. This is a valuable resource for planning a walk in the lakes - the helicopter fly by of the route as well as JB's commentary. You can show the kids if your taking them so that they can see what they are going to attempt. JB fills you with the desire to dust your boots off and get out there.

A Fell-walker's Treasure4
Every serious fell-walker, and many a less-energetic Lake District fan, knows about the famous Wainwright Walks and the ubiquitous little handbooks with their reverent commentaries and sparse route-maps. For such folk, and many more who simply love dramatic countryside, this DVD set encapsulates all the rugged beauty of the region and the effort needed to reach the most advantageous viewpoints, admirably transformed into something that can be enjoyed, over and over, from the comfort of an armchair.

Julia Bradbury positively radiates her enthusiasm for the subject, while giving proof positive of her own physical fitness and (in spades!) that of her camera team. The Wainwright commentaries and routes are faithfully depicted and the camera work is superb. A real bonus in a box!

mostly breathtaking5
Nice, compact format - breathtaking views of course and a very pleasant companion in Julia Bradbury. It's sure to inspire most anyone to get on their gear and attempt at least one or two of her jaunty peaks.
The Lakes has been one of my favourite places since childhood and this series does it full justice.


Wainwright Walks: Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD]

Wainwright Walks: Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD]
From Acorn Media



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Sacred Music (The BBCs Groundbreaking TV Series) [DVD] [2010]

Series One of the BBC's groundbreaking classical music programme follows renowned actor and former chorister Simon Russell Beale as he explores the flowering of Western sacred music. This four-part documentary series contains a rich mix of personal, political and musical stories and features some of the greatest music ever written, all performed by Harry Christophers and his award-winning choir, The Sixteen.

Review
A beutifully filmed series that should inspire many to investigate further --The Gramophone.may 2010

The interplay of music,image and appealingly-elaborated context creates a rich polyphony of its own. performance **** Picture and sound **** extras *** --BBC Music Magazine. April 2010


One of the best things the BBC has made in years5
These shows were aired in the autumn of 2009 in the afternoon and was perfect viewing before catching the football scores. Here we have all four programmes with extras on two DVDs. Simon Russell Beale takes us through four periods: the Gothic Revolution, Palestrina, Tallis and Byrd, and finally J. S. Bach. The fact the series ends here might suggest that there might be another series (please!) looking at maybe Handel, Henry Francis Lyte and others.

Beale is excellent as a presenter. He has secure knowledege without sounding pompous and arrogant and he also does not try to be "a nice guy" like many others these days. He gets on with the programme without dumbing down leaving others to be anaytical, chiefly Harry Christophers, the conductor of The Sixteen who provide most of the excellent music.

Choral music of this kind rarely gets any attention and to hear it played in these magnificent cathedrals remind us of why they were written. The show also does not force religion onto the viewer and the show can be throughly enjoyed by all. I seriously did not think you could enjoy an hour of Gregorian chant but with the visuals, interviews and performances you can.

At last the DVD!5
I saw this series when it first went out in late 2008 on BBC 4 and was captivated by the combination of the glorious music and the learned approach to the development of the western choral tradition; I was frustrated to discover that the BBC hadn't made it available on DVD despite repeating it in 2009 (and now in 2010). Hooray for Corus, yet again!

Great series marred by poor manufacture2
Having seen this on television I waited with anticipation for the release of the DVD. The series is informative, well-presented and well-edited, but the sound quality on the DVD is poor (which I do not recollect being a problem with the broadcasts), and one of the disks which I received, while appearing to be in mint condition, skips long periods which several different players describe as "damaged areas". Sadly I confess while expecting to be delighted I emerge disappointed from the experience.



Sacred Music (The BBCs Groundbreaking TV Series) [DVD] [2010]

Sacred Music (The BBCs Groundbreaking TV Series) [DVD] [2010]
Sacred Music Series One



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Heston's Feast [DVD]

Do not try this at home! Stimulating and provoking all the senses, Blumenthal pushes the boundaries and takes dining to a whole new level, creating extreme food adventures and true dinner magic . Heston Blumenthal owns one of the world s finest restaurants. He s famous for his unique approach to food and his experimental style of cooking which has set him poles apart from other chefs. In this exhilarating series Blumenthal reinvents gastronomy. Searching through age-old recipes, the culinary alchemist challenges himself to recreate them as the food of the future. For each unforgettable feast he invites six celebrities to dinner, but they soon discover these are no ordinary dinner parties. Blumenthal goes to extraordinary lengths to recreate the Mad Hatter s Tea Party from Alice s Adventures in Wonderland; bakes four and twenty blackbirds inside a pie; combines a variety of animals to create a mythical beast that s part lamb, part goose, part hog and part chicken; stimulates his guests with ejaculating cakes; and fashions an entirely edible scene based on the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas.


Heston at his mental best5
If you know nothing about Heston Blumenthal, then be prepared for something totally different. This isn't a chef showing you how to make a soufflé, it's culinary theatre with a touch of science abuse thrown in. You're never likely to try any of the menu ideas at home, but it's great fun watching him blowing things up & finding new ways to achieve some magical meals. Best of all is the nervous looks on the faces of his guest diners, when presented with unidentifiable & bizarre dishes that are usually not what they seem & the childlike wonder & excitement that follows.
I think it's just brilliant.

Heston's Feast [DVD]

Heston's Feast [DVD]
From Acorn Media



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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life After People - Complete Season Two (2-Disc Set) [Blu-ray]

Life After People - Complete Season Two (2-Disc Set) [Blu-ray]

Life After People - Complete Season Two (2-Disc Set) [Blu-ray]
From History Channel

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Editorial Reviews

DVD Description
Welcome to Earth. Population Zero. What would happen if every human being on Earth disappeared? This isn’t the story of how we might vanish – it is the story of what happens to the world we leave behind. The second season of the fascinating HISTORY™ series Life After People takes a stunningly graphic journey to a world wiped clean of humanity.

From animal outbreaks to massive structural collapses to hordes of toxins and chemicals unleashed across the globe, Life After People: The Complete Season Two reveals what happens in the hours, days, months and years after people disappear.

• The incredible cutting-edge CGI effects are perfect for the Blu-ray format, revealing in superb quality the scientific details of the fate of every aspect of the man-made world and how the landscape of our planet would forever change in our absence. As each scenario is revealed it is easy to forget you are watching CGI and not the actual disintegration of our planet as we know it.

• 2 discs in a luxury 4 page Digipak in a double walled slipcase.



Stills from Life After People - Season Two (Click for larger image)






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Amelia [DVD]

Amelia [DVD] [2009]

Amelia [DVD] [2009]
Directed by Mira Nair

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Amazon.co.uk Review
With her lanky Middle-America looks and her toothy grin, Hilary Swank is a natural fit for the adventurous figure of Amelia Earhart, the world's most famous aviatrix. Amelia ticks through the major achievements of Earhart's career: her 1928 flight across the Atlantic (as a passenger, not a pilot), which made her the first airborne woman to make the trip; more triumphantly, her 1932 solo transatlantic journey; her marriage to publisher George Putnam; and of course the mysterious 1937 around-the-world flight that ended in her vanishing, with engineer Fred Noonan, somewhere near Howland Island in the mid Pacific. With Swank in her pilot togs and director Mira Nair at the helm, the project would seem to have the ingredients for success, but the resulting film is a truly dull, almost featureless affair. The big flights themselves have innate appeal, but otherwise the emphasis is on Amelia's love life, shared between Putnam (Richard Gere) and the dashing Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor)--who, the film clumsily keeps reminding us, is the father of Gore Vidal, seen here as a precocious tyke. A smidgen of Amelia's proto-feminist attitude is included, including her intriguing take on her marriage agreement, but nothing actually cuts deep or generates interest. After a while Amelia becomes a series of events, told with less excitement than the average documentary on the same subject, albeit with prettier photography. --Robert Horton

Synopsis
Hilary Swank and Richard Gere star in director Mira Nair's biopic tracing the life of famed aviator Amelia Earhart -- who made history in 1932 by becoming the first woman ever to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The trip made the aviatrix a national celebrity -- with help from her publicist George Putnam (Gere), whom she fell in love with and eventually married. Their union was tested, however, as Earhart developed feelings for contemporary Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor ), and the couple's marriage faced the ultimate tragedy years later, as Earhart's fierce independent spirit spurred her to attempt to fly around the world -- a venture that infamously shrouded her in mystery, as the pilot simply vanished after crashing into the Pacific Ocean. Christopher Eccleston and Joe Anderson co-star in the Avalon Pictures production.

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Favela Rising

Favela Rising [2005] [DVD]

Favela Rising [2005] [DVD]
Directed by Jeff Zimbalist, Matt Mochary

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Synopsis
A documentary profiling Anderson Sa, a former trader of drugs, who leads his community in non-violent revolution through the music and culture now known as Afro-Reggae.

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