Almost 2 hours crammed in less than 500MB resulted in poor quality. Everything looks smudged and the sound isn't great either. DVD download links can be found at DocumentaryMan.com
Cinéma vérité literally means "true film". It's a type of documentary in which ordinary people in their common situations and at their usual places tell their story and create a course of action, while the director records it and with minimal technical intervention conveys it to the viewers.
Death Before Surrender is a complete opposite to Hollywood blockbusters that most people watch - it was made without a multi-million budget, without a script, crew, professional cast, special effects, additional lighting or even a tripod, in fact - it was made by only one guy.
This film is NOT for the impatient people who lack concentration and imagination - there are no high-speed chases, there is no shooting or fighting and there is no nudity - there are only ordinary people whose individual stories intertwine creating a broader picture of the events that took place, of the events that do not interest everyone...
Even though it's not made for profit, this is NOT a propaganda film - it's just a story about some events and some people told by those very people...
You may NOT alter, transform, or build upon this work, but as long as you do NOT make any profit out of it, you are free to copy, distribute and transmit this film in its original form.
The research, preparations, negotiations and the actual recording of this film lasted for about 5 weeks.
During the 7 days of spring 2004, with the microphone securely fastened to the camcorder by the power of masking tape, almost 6 hours of video material was recorded on MiniDV cassettes. Now, those tapes most likely haven't been stored properly by the provider, since a lot of shots were damaged and unusable. That was unfortunate, but I also had my fair share of luck during filming, when unplanned events and random circumstances turned out to be pure gold. Few shoots that were possible to be retaken were recorded in the summer of 2007.
During the different days of filming, different camcorders and microphones were used, so making it look and sound like it was done with the same hardware was a little bit tricky. However, only one camcorder and one microphone were used at any given time. Camcorders were both 3CCD and 1CCD; 1CCD was crap, but the 3CCD ones were decent in comparison - decent, but not great. Lack of any kind of image stabilization was bad, being that my small body frame isn't best suited to be used as a tripod for almost 7 kilos of equipment. Maybe even worse was the fact that the microphone had to be taped to the camcorder's plastic body. Just to be clear - the masking tape seen in one of the shoots wasn't mine - it belonged to a person on film and I didn't want to move it and "disturb" the authenticity ;)
Most of the editing was done with the software and hardware from 2001 (700MHz, 256MB RAM, 160GB HDD, 15” CRT monitor)... Not the fastest way to go, but it was still possible to make some "editing magic" ;-) Actually, the HDD was from 2006, when it became affordable, 'cause, after all - backup ruleZ :D
I made the film to look good on my WEG 14” CRT TV, so you might need to adjust the picture parameters to your liking, if you decide to download the DVD for free. The sound is best heard with the 20Hz-20KHz ear-cup headphones.
I know that this isn't a masterpiece, but after seeing the first, and even the second cinéma vérité films of other people, I'm pretty darn satisfied and pleased with myself. My task was to make this type of film, and I think I managed to do so. Naturally, I would record and edit some things differently now, but that's water under the bridge. Nevertheless, I still think that most cinéma vérité documentaries are crap :P
Unfortunately, due to my surroundings, I'm not in a position to make a kind of documentary films I wish, or any kind of films for that matter. We live in a world that revolves around money, so, this one was a one-off :(
More details (ranting) can be found at DocumentaryMan.com
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