Cinema Politica recently put out a call for proposals to launch a new genre: documentary futurism, or speculative documentary. It was extremely difficult to put together a proposal for a genre that for the most part doesn’t yet exist, but what I ultimately decided was that this genre should be more about process than any kind of structure, aesthetics, or style (i.e., the opposite of von Trier’s self-indulgent “dogma” films).<
The new season of the television show American Crime is all about indulging North American fantasies about trafficking.
At first glance, the show appears to be taking up the radical project of exploring the roles of border imperialism and the criminalization of migration on the coercive labor conditions experienced by farm workers in the US. If this was the entire thrust of the show, it’s possible something interesting could come of it. However, the story lines centering the farm owners and laborers (that after two episodes, as of this writing, are bizarrely bifurcated by a questionable desire to “show both sides of the story” of farm labor exploitation) are interwoven with, and thus seemed designed to legitimize, hysterical fantasies of sex trafficking of white women and girls.
Documentary filmmakers are not journalists: it is not our job to be “objective” – as if there even is such a thing as objectivity that one could actually practice in fields like journalism. It is not our job either to tell the whole story or give a full history, again, as if such a thing were even possible to do (especially in two hours or less of screen time). Rather, as far as I am concerned, it is a documentarian’s job to tell stories that challenge established narratives, and to do so in a formal and artful manner that encourages spectators to question how they come to understand and interpret the world around them. The best documentary filmmakers have a firm point of view, but they also don’t rely solely on facts to support the story they want to tell. They shift, whether subtly or radically, the foundations from which a spectator comes to understand an issue or topic.
I recently shot this raw footage using my 50D, and I thought it might be helpful to walk folks through the post-production workflow process.
In my previous post, I went through the step by step details of installing raw video with the Magic Lantern hack on the Canon 50D. In this post, I’m going to go through setting up Magic Lantern to enable raw recording and what you need to do to be able to actually shoot full 1920×1080 HD raw video. (more…)
DSLR cameras are fabulous for low-budget, DIY filmmaking, but high quality cameras are quite expensive (4K cameras such as the Panasonic GH4 and the Black Magic Cinema camera run $1700 to $3000 respectively, Black Magic Pocket is $1000, and the Canon 5D Mark III sells used for $1400ish – and all of these are prices for the camera body only with no lenses). Many of the less expensive cameras still go for $800-$1000.
But the Magic Lantern hacks for Canon DSLRs offer some very cheap options for building a true DIY production package. By far the biggest bang for the buck is the Canon 50D, a 2008 camera released without video functionality but with the hack can shoot both compressed (with the H.264 format, the same format all the Canon video capable cameras record in) and raw HD video. (more…)