Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Transcription Tools for Mac Audio/Video

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Here are two useful transcription tools for Mac users:

First, there’s Inqscribe, which lets you watch your footage and transcribe it at the same time. No more switching back and forth between applications, or using two computers. Haven’t tested it, but it looks promising. Free trial for 30 days, then $69.

The second is Transcriva, which is an audio only transcription tool. Same as above, but no video. I used this to transcribe the Joe Swanberg interview from a few days ago, which I had recorded using my iPod and iMic. It works like a charm. Cost: $20.

Showtime/Smithsonian petition

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Scott Macaulay has an in-depth post about a coalition of filmmakers petitioning to stop Showtime‘s licensing of the Smithsonian’s archives.

Anthony Kaufman‘s blog has a copy of the petition for you to download, as well as a link to the NY Times article on the movement. I encourage you to get involved.

In addition to rooting for the petition drive to work, I’m also curious to see the effectiveness of the petitioning for other reasons. As I wrote a few weeks ago, this is exactly the sort of issue that a healthy AIVF would have been able to lobby against in years past. Now, with AIVF ailing, the petition drive is an interesting test case that might predict how well filmmakers might be able to organize, advocate, and change the system in a world without AIVF.

Southern Filmmakers in Katrina’s Wake

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

GreenCine has a good overview of Full Frame’s “Southern Sidebar”, which has special poignancy this year — all the films are devoted to coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Fair Use, Pt II: Ctr for Social Media

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Agnes Varnum from the Center for Social Media has reminded me of another important resource for filmmakers dealing with issues of public domain, copyright, and fair use. It’s the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. Download it here.

Agnes describes the Statement as “a short handbook that articulates certain circumstances in documentary making when it is appropriate to claim fair use for copyrighted material.”

In her comment on this blog, Agnes adds, “I’m going to be at several fests over the next few months on panels about the issue and helping doc makers understand how to make better use of fair use. It’s a small step, but an important one. We already have a lot of movement on the gatekeeper side to adopt the principles at work in the handbook.”

She’ll be at the Nashville Film Festival (one of my favorites) in April. Check out Agnes’ blog, in addition to the Center’s website, for more info and other dates.

Free Comic for Filmmakers

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

A reader of this blog (thanks, Jon) alerted me to one of the coolest works of edutainment I’ve seen in a long, long time. The work in question is Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law?, and it’s a graphic novel (published by Duke University’s Center for the Study of Public Domain) that explores and explains copyright, “fair use”, licensing and other tricky, sticky issues that inevitably arise when you’re making a documentary. If those topics usually make your eyes glaze over, look no further.

Granted, as a graphic novel, Bound by Law‘s anecdotes about licensing problems in docs like Sing Faster and Mad Hot Ballroom can’t compete with the storylines of, say, V for Vendetta or Watchmen, but I was genuinely impressed with the quality of the art and writing. Plus, how many other graphic novels are going to help save you money and keep you out of court when you make your next documentary?

The cost? A mere $5.95 for the book, or free as a digital copy.