Dec Retreat: An Intro to Technology

Coming into the retreat, I was not sure of what I would learn and the technological aspects of filmmaking. The only experience I have of video editing is when I make stop-motion animation films. Stop-motion animation is lots of different pictures that are put together to form a film. My stop-motion films are usually very short, only about 30 seconds long, and they involve common household objects like scissors and pencils. I expected this retreat to introduce me to the process of making documentaries, and it did. I now know a lot about making choices in documentaries from our post-lunch discussion with Jason Mittell, a videography professor.

I learned that some choices that are made in documentaries are very important in affecting the outcome of the finished product.  For example, the choice of lighting the interviewee is critical to the overall aesthetic of the film.  If you light a subject from the back, they could be anonymous.  From the side, there is more detail.  It’s not as simple as just pointing the camera and expecting an image to emerge that provides the right context and structure for the specific character.  Also, another choice that is made is setting the subject off center.  There are times when some put the subject directly in the center, which is unusual.  The eyes of the subject should be in the upper third of the frame.

Most importantly, I understood our group’s schedule, which will help me to figure out what I need to do regarding interviewing and filming.  Our group is ready to complete our project, which will cover young people working to help the environment and will attempt to inspire the next generation of youth that will soon inherit our planet and be the future leaders of this world.

Zachariah Burrows

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