Blog – duckrabbit https://www.duckrabbit.info digital film production and training Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:03:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 73690698 duckrabbit’s Mini-Doc Masterclass: Learn how to make cracking short films in 2 days https://www.duckrabbit.info/2017/02/duckrabbits-mini-doc-masterclass-learn-make-cracking-short-films-weekend/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2017/02/duckrabbits-mini-doc-masterclass-learn-make-cracking-short-films-weekend/#respond Sat, 11 Feb 2017 13:46:23 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39046 Do you, or your organisation, want to make films like this one (we just made this for The International HIV/AIDS Alliance) but don’t know how to get there? Then this course is for you. Making short films is hard. In fact it’s almost impossibly hard if you haven’t been trained and mentored by a film-maker or...

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Do you, or your organisation, want to make films like this one (we just made this for The International HIV/AIDS Alliance) but don’t know how to get there? Then this course is for you.

Making short films is hard. In fact it’s almost impossibly hard if you haven’t been trained and mentored by a film-maker or spent time working on professional shoots.  That’s a real problem for lots of people who want to get paid for making short films but don’t have the opportunity to observe professional shoots.

You can learn the hard way, from your mistakes, and you can also pick up a lot technical knowledge online but it’s better, quicker and less costly to learn from other film-makers successes and also their mistakes.

This course is designed to save you a lot of pain. The pain of saying yes to client briefs that are unachievable; the pain of recording an interview that is unintelligible, filming an interview that is unwatchable or the pain of shooting footage that can’t be hacked together in the edit.

Along the way we’ll also be trying to save you the pain of agreeing deadlines that are un-meetable, budgets that leave you broke, the pain of alienating your subjects so much that they go AWOL and the pain of your film being a shambles that no-one wants to watch or pay for!

We’re going to do that by re-creating a film-set. And on that film-set we’re going to take you through every stage of production up until the point of the edit.  We’ll start with a real world brief. You’ll know it’s real world because it will be almost unachievable. We’ll work through how to take that brief, persuade the client that it just won’t work and then work with them to adapt and agree something that is achievable. We’ll then take you through pre-production. How to set up a shoot that makes sense. How to prepare your guests. How to start visualising the story. Understanding what is actually achievable in a five minute film. What kit to take. How to brief your videographer (if you are working with one).

We’ll teach you the basics of directing. You can’t learn that on-line. It’s all about people.

We’ll practise sequencing shots. We’ll set up and record an interview. We’ll break down how to light the interview, how to record decent sound and most importantly how to get the best out of someone.

Along the way we’ll share with you the lessons we’ve learned and the mistakes we’ve made. We’ll even buy you a beer (or a soft drink).

And we’re going to do all that in two fun and hands-on days. By the end you’ll know how to get all the basics right and with practice, kit and hard work that’s enough to kick-start you on the journey to making really decent mini-documentary films.

To sign up or for more info have a look here.

Still not convinced? Here are some honest, non computer-generated and guaranteed alt-right-free reviews from past duckrabbit trainees.

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Protected: Islamic Fun……….. https://www.duckrabbit.info/2017/02/islamic-fun/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2017/02/islamic-fun/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 16:48:03 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39583 There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Make 2017 the year of the mini-doc – new duckrabbit course dates available… https://www.duckrabbit.info/2017/01/make-2017-year-mini-doc-new-duckrabbit-course-dates-available/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2017/01/make-2017-year-mini-doc-new-duckrabbit-course-dates-available/#respond Wed, 04 Jan 2017 11:41:00 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39517 We are kicking off the year with our first two day mini-documentary production workshop of 2017! It will take place in central London on the 23rd and 24th of February.  We promise an enthusiastic and empowering start to the New Year for anyone interested in documentary film making, whether you’re looking to make your start in the...

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We are kicking off the year with our first two day mini-documentary production workshop of 2017!

It will take place in central London on the 23rd and 24th of February.  We promise an enthusiastic and empowering start to the New Year for anyone interested in documentary film making, whether you’re looking to make your start in the medium or to enhance and develop your skills further.

For more info or to book a place click here

And for those of you worried about the post-truth era, don’t just take our word for it.  Here are some honest, non computer-generated and guaranteed alt-right-free reviews from past duckrabbit trainees.

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“I Have a Name” (…and now I have a face too) https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/12/name-now-face/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/12/name-now-face/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2016 20:55:15 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39497   Every now and again you cross paths with a stranger, and from that collision of orbits something unexpected occurs. It happened to me some months back when photographer Ray Ketcham contacted me via email and tentatively enquired whether I’d be interested in writing an essay to be included in a forthcoming book he was...

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Every now and again you cross paths with a stranger, and from that collision of orbits something unexpected occurs.

It happened to me some months back when photographer Ray Ketcham contacted me via email and tentatively enquired whether I’d be interested in writing an essay to be included in a forthcoming book he was working on. Ray apologized that as this was being done on what was effectively a non-existent budget there would not be much in the way of payment, but maybe I’d be interested in it anyway. He also provided some background information and a few of the portraits he’d be featuring.

I looked. I read. I jumped! Yes of course I’d have a go! Payment? Not interested at all. *

The result of Ray’s labour will soon be publicly exhibited, and the associated book has gone to press and will be ‘out there’ shortly. I kid you not, the images are powerful and moving. It is an insightful, lovingly crafted and unflinchingly honest portrayal of a place, The Boiler Room in Port Townsend, WA.

Well, let me clarify, it’s not as much about the place, as the people who inhabit the space it represents, and the community they have created around themselves.

As well as being a professional photographer for 40 years I worked simultaneously as a professional Social Worker for 23 of those years, and bringing this breadth of experience to bear on Ray’s work was immensely rewarding. Ray’s been in the game longer than me, and it shows. From a photographer’s perspective, he’s nailed it.

But from a Social Worker’s perspective? Even better! What Ray portrays is ‘social work’ in the proper sense, having an effect in the real world. The title Ray has chosen says it all, that: ‘…despite whatever else may befall me, wherever I may find myself, however others may think of me…I HAVE A NAME.’

And, it is spoken with respect.

 

 

*Disclaimer in case you missed it above: I contributed to the book! But I’ve waived any form of compensation, and will not profit from it in any way. I tell you this not to prove how munificent I am, but to underline that there are costs associated with this endeavour that must be met, and we can all help. So if you are moved to help Ray out he will be mightily grateful, and so will I.

Excerpt below from the Press Release written by Sabrina Henry, Ray’s ‘apprentice’:

There is one more thing you need to know about the books. They will be available for sale at Northwind Arts Center and through the Boiler Room. A portion of the proceeds of these sales will go back to NW and the Boiler Room. This is a good way to help support the work of both organizations especially if you are not able to attend the show.

Putting together a show is a very expensive endeavour. Working with Ray on the budget, I know there will be a deficit especially if he is not able to get any further funding, and there certainly is no guarantee that he will. After much debate, I have managed to persuade Ray to accept individual donations to help pay for the show. The donations will be made to the Boiler Room who will issue tax receipts and Ray will be able to use the funds to help pay for printing and installing the photographs. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Ray or me.

The show opens January 14, 2017 with the official Opening Reception on February 4 during Port Townsend’s monthly Art Walk. On February 5 at 1pm Ray will be doing an Art Talk at the Northwind Arts Center. I do hope we will see you there.

 

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A finger, a trigger, a shoe. A death. https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/12/finger-trigger-shoe-death/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/12/finger-trigger-shoe-death/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:06:38 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39489   Grant Scott has a very thoughtful piece on his site The United Nations of Photography titled ‘The Single Image Narrative: Sometimes It Chooses You’ – it’s well worth a read: “The resulting image tells that story, it’s hyper digital clarity creating a cinematic news image for our times. The narrative is clear, shocking and...

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Image Burhan Ozbilici—AP

 

Grant Scott has a very thoughtful piece on his site The United Nations of Photography titled ‘The Single Image Narrative: Sometimes It Chooses You’ – it’s well worth a read:

“The resulting image tells that story, it’s hyper digital clarity creating a cinematic news image for our times. The narrative is clear, shocking and deeply affecting in its emotional coldness.”

Time also has an interesting article that views the unfolding situation from three varying perspectives offered by different photographers, in “Three Photographers Witnessed an Assassination. One Photo Went Viral”

Again, fascinating in its analysis of the event and its aftermath.

The photographers were lucky as several others were injured at the exhibition. The gunman was later “neutralized” by Turkish law enforcement officers. Asked if he slept on Monday evening, Alatan says, “I kept thinking what could have saved the ambassador all night. I tried to find a way.” That he knew Karlov added to the shock of it all: “I wish this hadn’t happened, and I hadn’t taken those photos.”

I read a piece when the news broke that mentioned one detail in that key, viral image, the trigger finger of the policeman/assassin – trained to do what professional users of guns always do, keep the trigger finger off the trigger until you intend to shoot. And that detail spoke volumes about the professionalism and calculated nature of what had just occurred.

But there was one other detail, one that I have not seen mentioned and which for me offers a compelling and deeply affecting counterpoint to that trigger finger and the ‘skills’ that lie behind it. And it’s a detail that makes this image all the more moving for me.

It’s the sole of the shoe of the victim Ambassador Andrey Karlov. It is well-worn, its unique pattern of wear implying considerable use and signifying the humanity that bore down upon it over countless days, weeks, months as its owner fulfilled his duties. And it is ordinary, like my shoes, and your shoes, but visible only because he is sprawled dying on the floor. And then there’s its angle, pointing directly towards the gun that has just been fired, and vertically below the clenched fist and raised finger of the killer.

Photography never ceases to surprise me. That an image can cause me to be moved by something as simple as a worn shoe, connect me with another in a way I would never have guessed, is quite remarkable.

 

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“Do you know what this is?” https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/12/do-you-know-what-this-is/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/12/do-you-know-what-this-is/#respond Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:17:28 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39474 Really happy to hear that this film which we made in Uganda with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance was the recipient of this year’s Golden Radiator Award.  Huge thanks to the Alliance, Gemma, Chris, Oli, Lynda and, of course, Daphine.

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Really happy to hear that this film which we made in Uganda with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance was the recipient of this year’s Golden Radiator Award.  Huge thanks to the Alliance, Gemma, Chris, Oli, Lynda and, of course, Daphine.

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Dirt under your fingernails https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/11/dirt-under-your-fingernails/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/11/dirt-under-your-fingernails/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:39:19 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39453 A tweet caught my eye today, by @maylavelle   It made me stop and think. I replied “Yes it does”. I don’t know about anyone else, but my work experience is what you might call ‘varied’.  I recounted it recently to a group of under-graduates in Falmouth University where I was External Examiner on their (truly excellent)...

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A tweet caught my eye today, by @maylavelle

 

jobapplications

It made me stop and think. I replied “Yes it does”.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my work experience is what you might call ‘varied’.  I recounted it recently to a group of under-graduates in Falmouth University where I was External Examiner on their (truly excellent) Marine & Natural History Photography Degree Course.

I asked the small group I spoke with the same question I had asked previous groups of students “You all want to be natural history photographers don’t you? (they nodded “yes”) …..and would I be right to think that if you don’t find employment in that field you’ll be really dismayed?” 

In one voice they responded “yes, very disappointed”.

So I tell them about my work background, that I was a welder in the shipyards for a year, then completed a proper 4 year carpentry apprenticeship with a local joiner/undertaker followed by several years in the building trade, then into 23 years in Social Work Disability Services involving running a small crafts workshop, developing an outdoors skills course for adults with physical and intellectual impairments, teaching canoeing & skiing, and with the added excitement of occasional stints cooking on canal barges, designing and making stained glass windows and a host of other stuff. They always look puzzled, because I don’t mention photography.

I say “Now…any questions…?” and someone always queries “…er…um…you didn’t mention photography…?”

So I explain how I’ve worked professionally as a photographer for 40 years managing to obtain job-shares or part-time work in most of the other ‘proper’ jobs I’ve had to allow this. But that this other source of income has left me free to undertake the photographic work I want to do, rather than need to do. This has often been working for clients in the environmental and social care sectors, because I value the work they do, and in truth many of these organisations don’t have huge budgets anyway and my contributions are hugely valuable to them.

But, and its a lovely ‘but’ to lob in next, but what has delighted me is that the skills which I’ve gained in my other fields of employment have been hugely valuable to me as a photographer, and often surprisingly so.

Dirt under your fingernails © John MacPherson
Dirt under your fingernails © John MacPherson

One example I offer was trying to get a rather reluctant fellow to cooperate for some images featuring the boat he was building. He was not up for it. Not at all. So we talked, and I mentioned how accurate some of the design features were on his boat (a huge scale model) and I mentioned  davits and cofferdams and double-bottoms and his eyes lit up – “How do you know all that boatbuilding stuff?” so I explained about my shipyard experience and he was fascinated. Then I asked about his family and in the conversation he mentioned that he made some of the models he was working on for his son who has autism. With my long Social Work experience of working with and for people with autism I was able to discuss his son’s condition and situation in some depth. It was a lovely warm conversation and the result was an open and generous offer to photograph, and with a subject who was engaged and communicative with me because he knew I understood where he was coming from.

 

Tools of the trade © John MacPherson
Tools of the trade © John MacPherson

 

It has happened to me more times than I can remember  – another memorable moment recently was talking with the builders renovating an old derelict building as part of a community revitalisation project which involves me tutoring a group of local people in documentary photography skills, and them recording the renovation process. In truth I got the job as tutor because I have a photography AND building trades background, combined with very specific people skills gained through my Social Work employment. The Building Renovation Project Manager gave me the normal talk-through of their work, but I asked questions, technical ones, and he looked puzzled “How do you know all this stuff?” So I told him, and he smiled broadly “Great! So you’ve got dirt under your fingernails too then, excellent!” and immediately we were on the same wavelength.

These moments of real understanding and communication are often vital to gaining access and breaking barriers. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the value such a diverse range of work skills can be when you speak with subjects and try to win their trust and cooperation.

So, to May, and anyone else forging a path through the creative industries, don’t fret over whether that stint as a husky dog poo shoveler in Alaska is relevant or not, put it in your job application, demonstrate that you are adaptable, multi-faceted and willing to get ‘dirt under your fingernails’.

If I was a potential employer, I’d like to see that.

 

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Black bodies, moral choices & the editorial process. https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/10/black-bodies-moral-choices-editorial-process/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/10/black-bodies-moral-choices-editorial-process/#comments Sat, 08 Oct 2016 09:11:20 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39423 You may (or may not) have seen the images in the New York Times this week of the intercepted migrant boat off the Libyan coast. If you did, like me, you may have been shocked, not only by the continually unfolding tragedy, but perhaps more so by the stark portrayal of the unnamed individuals lying dead. Not...

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You may (or may not) have seen the images in the New York Times this week of the intercepted migrant boat off the Libyan coast. If you did, like me, you may have been shocked, not only by the continually unfolding tragedy, but perhaps more so by the stark portrayal of the unnamed individuals lying dead. Not simply dead, but sprawling in undignified abandonment.

 

nyt

 

These images and their use, made me extremely uncomfortable. Siddhartha Mitter, writing in Quartz Africa puts a finger on the reasons why, and in doing so touches on an issue raised on duckrabbit before – the role of the editors in deciding what images are seen, and in what context. Mitter takes this a step further, and so doing gives us all something to think about:

 

morality

 

Thanks to @johnedwinmason for the link to @siddhmi ‘s piece.

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Come and learn to make mini-documentaries with us… https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/come-learn-make-mini-documentaries-us/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/come-learn-make-mini-documentaries-us/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:36:55 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39381 Our two-day mini-documentary production workshop is back, on the 10th and 11th November, in central London.  Over two days, we’ll transport you to the heart of a film set.  We’ll give you the chance to watch and work alongside film-makers on a specially created set. From brief to wrap party we’ll take you through the...

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Our two-day mini-documentary production workshop is back, on the 10th and 11th November, in central London.  Over two days, we’ll transport you to the heart of a film set.  We’ll give you the chance to watch and work alongside film-makers on a specially created set.

From brief to wrap party we’ll take you through the pleasure and pain of designing and delivering high quality short documentary films to even the most demanding of clients.

For more info, or to book, click here…

A big thanks for putting on such an excellent course.. A perfect combination of theory, practice, discussion and humour. I’m looking forward to putting all these new skills into practice. Richard Wainwright – Photographer

‘What an amazing weekend that was, thanks for teaching us so much. I feel like I have a head full of ideas now that need to be put into practice! Matt Saywell, Video producer, British Medical Association

Thanks very much for a really good weekend, great teaching and lots to think about.  Fascinating workshop and highly recommended.  Lucille Flood Comic Relief

Thank you for such an interesting workshop. I genuinely loved it. Phil Le Gal, Documentary Photographer

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The RIBs are awesome… https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/the-ribs-are-awesome/ https://www.duckrabbit.info/2016/09/the-ribs-are-awesome/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:24:09 +0000 https://www.duckrabbit.info/?p=39373 Our latest film for the Born to Engineer campaign.  Big thanks to Lewis and the team at Island RIBs, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. Wonder if they’ll let us have one of these to travel between London and Birmingham on the Grand Union canal?

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Our latest film for the Born to Engineer campaign.  Big thanks to Lewis and the team at Island RIBs, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.

Wonder if they’ll let us have one of these to travel between London and Birmingham on the Grand Union canal?

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