Over on my other blog -- New York Portraits -- I have a short account of what it was like to work on this year's International Documentary Challenge.
The amazing thing, of course, is that we had all six members of Profluence Productions again. Anthony Weeks flew in from across the country, and everyone moved their schedules around to make this work. I expect if we do it again next year, it might not be possible to have everyone here. Maybe the team will split in two. Maybe it will split into six. Or maybe we'll feel we've gotten all we can out of the process of making something for the Challenge.
If we do try once more, though, I think I should leave a few notes for next year while they are fresh in my mind:
First, since making a documentary in five days is crazy on the face of it, you've got to maximize editing time. We should choose projects that can be shot completely on Thursday night. Starting the edit Friday would be much better.
Second, a few days before the event we should have some technical practice. Everyone on the team knows how to work with cameras and audio, but we were overconfident. We used a camera that a few of us hadn't used much -- and had problems with a few basics. Once we got everything working, it was fine -- but it would be best to show up with everything dialed in.
Third, we need better lighting gear. We made it work fine -- I think our interview shots look great -- but being able to set up a softbox or shoot-through umbrella and a big white reflector would have been the way to go. We were saved by taking a long time and not settling until the shot looked good, but could have been much faster with the right equipment.
Above: Dana Bartle, somewhere in the NYC subway system.
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