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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 December 2009
Focal Press puts out a number of books related to fine- and digital art, Feature, Independent and Documentary films as well as Animation Techniques. However, one of their best titles that touch upon all of the above-mentioned categories is a recently released book called Directing The Documentary, The Fifth Edition by Michael Rabiger.

There are many "how to" books, Rabiger reminds us, but there are philosophical and structural differences in making a Feature (fictitious) film and a Documentary film.

For instance, the Feature is a work that is constantly striving to be consistent with a pre-existent script. And, the goal of the director, crew and actors is to be faithful to the written word. A Documentary, on the other hand, starts off with a question and the director, crew and guests attempt to capture future, undetermined events in a relentless pursuit of The Truth. The Documentary, therefore, is essentially the process by which an answer is obtained.

These distinctions are important because it influences how the film would be made, the costs incurred, the manner in which footage is used, types of video, audio and perhaps, digital editing and processing time. There's also issues dealing with "rights" that cannot be known until footage is shot.

The book, Directing The Documentary, lays out in the most minutest of detail the basics and some advanced theories on creating a marketable documentary feature. The text is broken down into two (2) "books." One, "The Fundamentals" is an overview of creating a documentary by examining theories behind pursuing the project, the use of audio and video tools, working with cast and crew, budgetary issues, post-production tools and festivals. The other, Book 2, "Advanced Theories," is just that, an in depth look at aesthetics, production issues (pre and post), the script, narration, music and editing structural problems as well as some thoughts about starting a career as a documentary filmmaker.

This is one of the most valuable books on the subject of filmmaking and documentary filmmaking in particular that anyone who is remotely interested would want to own.

It is my sincerest pleasure to recommend this book without any hesitation.
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on 22 December 2014
When I picked up a video camera some years ago I wanted to read all I could that would give me direction for film making. I got a few 'how to..' books on making documentaries and read them avidly but without feeling particularly inspired until I read 'Introduction to Documentary' by Bill Nichols. After reading this book I soon realised that I had taken the wrong approach. Forget books that try to teach you how to shoot film, how to light, how to edit a script or what camera angle to take. Better still, Nichols' Introduction showed me the different approaches to documentary film making that have evolved over the past century, or so. It went on to give titles of particular films that illustrated these different styles. So, I then watched as many of these as I could find and learnt for myself what it was that made each individual film a 'classic' of its genre. If anyone reads this and is interested to make documentary films then I would highly recommend this book. No 'teach yourself' book will ever teach you how to find your style. One learns by practical work and emulation of those one admires.
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on 6 April 2010
If you want to make documentaries with substance this is the book for you.
I like the how the author encourages the reader to look outside of themselves for inspiration both for content of the film and motivation for making a film. This book as well as encouraging the reader to develop a voice and awareness of the world around them, while also going into the business aspects and craft of documentary filmmaking. The book is also full of practical exercises to get you started in applying what you learn. This is one of the best books I've read about documentary filmmaking, and I've read many.
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on 8 January 2013
Just purchased the kindle edition of this book expecting great things & am very disappointed indeed. No contents page making it practically impossible to navigate, the links to the workshop features don't work, no page numbers which makes access to online content impossible, terrible layout like a mid 90's web page. I'm requesting a refund as it is just dreadful. Massively disappointed as was a huge fan of the paperback versions of this book :-(
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on 19 June 2010
Mike Rabiger's book is very detailed and gives you a tremendous grounding in the things you need to consider when approaching a docmunetary. The book was sold at a discount by Amazon but it would have easily been worth the full price
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on 17 May 2013
Very good book. If you are looking to do documentaries you need to have that in your library. Very well written
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on 19 February 2012
This book will serve me for a long long time. It goes into lots of detail about all aspects of filming documentary and indeed capturing any real world event on film. I love that there are exercises, example documents, it covers techniques and approaches and talks about topics in both a technical/logistical way and a philosophical anthropological way. Michael Rabiger clearly knows his stuff.
On top of all these positives, the book isn't dated in the slightest, there's even online content to extend the use of the book!
Get this book and keep coming back to it time and time again, I will.
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on 21 June 2011
What can I say except that if you make your own documentaries, you should have this book. It covers all you need to know.
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on 24 February 2014
Apart from the excellent technical guidance and well laid out structure....this book has soul!! Thoroughly recommended as essential reading for all levels of experience.
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on 4 February 2013
Great book and a must have for those getting into documentaries. I just wish that you could also get the e-book version at a discount when you buy the book so that it can be read when travelling. The book is not convenient to carry around.
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