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Making Documentary Films and Reality Videos: A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming, and Editing Documentaries of Real Events Paperback – January 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (January 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805044515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805044515
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA?A comprehensive and well-written introduction for aspiring filmmakers. Every aspect of production is covered, from conceptualizing an idea to seeking distributors for the final product. Technical aspects of video and film equipment are touched upon, but are not covered to such a degree that they become laborious. For instance, the subject of lighting, which could easily be a book unto itself, is addressed in a few pages. A filmography of classic documentaries and an appendix describing how to join the International Documentary Association are included. An invaluable tool for future producers and an excellent title to supplement videography and film-production classes.?John Kiefman, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

An experienced filmmaker, writer, and teacher, Hampe hopes to guide the inexperienced through the process of making a documentary, or "reality video," in 25 steps, from idea to post-production. He is meticulous, even including a chapter on informed consent called "Ethics in Making a Documentary," and a most helpful index that provides information on professional associations. Still, despite his use of sound bites and personal anecdotes, one senses that he should have produced a series of videos on the subject instead of writing it all down for its specialized audience of film students, film professionals, and large companies that make informational films. Recommended for specialized collections in communications or film studies.?Lisa N. Johnston, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., Va.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

He seems to mention his own work quite a bit.
B. McGovern
In this book, Barry Hampe provides great advice, helpful concepts, and breaks down the documentary process into digestable servings.
Will Pedigo
Almost any question I found myself raising was addressed in some form in this book.
John Harpur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Will Pedigo on January 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this book, Barry Hampe provides great advice, helpful concepts, and breaks down the documentary process into digestable servings. The book is divided into four sections: 1. An introduction to the concepts and guidelines of the Documentary genre 2. Preproduction 3. Production 4. Postproduction. Barry Hampe fills in the pages with experience, knowledge, and writes in a manner combining the ideas he discusses with pithy examples and stories which he uses to drive his points home. The book has a generous layout, placing information thoughtfully and easily into the reader. Included in the book is a wonderful filmography (including refrence info on where to find and order the documentaries listed), a well rounded bibliography, and even directions to join the International Documentary Association.
I used this book as my introduction to documentary production, because though it is based on Hampe's work specifically with behavioral documentary, the information is easily transferable to any documentary/reality video project. The book stresses concepts in creating a form of reality through visual medium, called verisimilitude, and Barry Hampe demonstrates very carefully the indepth process in which an audience recieves the final cut out of what was originially a simple idea. If Barry Hampe can communicate his ideas so clearly in writing this book, I imagine his documentaries must be stunning.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 1997
Format: Paperback
If you had an experienced friend to guide you into the world of making documentary films and videos, then you would feel as comfortable in your journey as the author of this book leaves the reader. As the book cover states, Mr. Hampe will "tell you why making a documentary looks easy but isn't. [He] traces the two main approaches to documentary--recording behaviour and re-creating past events--and shows you how to be sucessful at each." These are the course notes of a good teacher who imparts his wisdom as well as practical guidance. His writing style is 'chatty' and friendly without ever being banal. Also, in what I hope becomes a publishing trend, he gives an Internet e-mail address where readers may send their comments .... -HMB
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Harpur on January 31, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came upon this book after making 23 drama videos for autistic teenagers. Recently we looked at producing a day-in-the-life type documentary with cutaways of professionals commenting on the activities. I honestly found this book to be a mine of information. Almost any question I found myself raising was addressed in some form in this book. Consequently structuring the doucmentary in terms of narrative, visual arrangement, verisimilitude, camera and sound has become clearer.
I would have liked the chapters on the Documentary Idea and Writing the Documentary to be longer. Personally, I would have benefited more from extending the discussions here. Also the author tends to drive the book along at a fiercely anecdotal rate which is great if you can imagine yourself in the author's shoes, but may not suit everyone's style.
Overall I found this to be a most useful manual and certainly find myself returning to it for advice. What better recommendation can I offer?
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Fadi Hindash on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm a filmmaker from the Middle East. I've come across Barry Hampe's book while in New York and I couldn't think of a better time to have read it since I was developing my first documentary. After reading it, not only did the documentary come together visually in my head but I found myself very clear on what I should eliminate to help tell the story better and put down everything on paper. Since then my request for a grant to shoot the documentary has been accepted. The book demystified the whole process and gave lessons that are easily applicable for the beginning documentarian.

The book leaves you with very little need to pick up another book on making documentaries. I would love to see a revision with a section on pre- (preproduction) whereby the documentaian can learn about what to include in his/her proposal in order to strengthen his/her pitch to production houses or while seeking grants. For instance, sample letter of intention, tips on what to include in query letters, visual aids(?), script of master scenes vs. shooting script. If there is just one thing that could help the reader of this book get out there and start preparing his/her documentary, it would be a section that demystifies the getting started before the actual getting started on shooting.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany C. King on January 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book deals in reality. No theory here. From top to bottom it tells you what to do, and how to do it. I love books like these, nuts and bolts written by the people who acquired their knowledge from experience and not theory. We who are really in the film business and work on the sets laugh at the new guy who talks a bunch of "film school" theory. We know that theory doesn't work and does more harm than good. I also liked the low price of the book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have worked on several films and now am in pre-production of my first documentary. I have read several books on making documentaries and this is the best. The sections on budgeting, script writing, and how to conduct interviews were especially valuable. I highly recommend this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Documentary filmmaker and scriptwriter turned author. My latest book is 'Making Documentary Films and Videos.' I'm currently writing a book on creating client videos and researching a book on making documentaries of behavior. I'm married to the wife I started with. We have four fine sons, four handsome grandsons, and three beautiful granddaughters. I invite you to visit my websites: www.makingdocumentaryfilms.com, www.barryhampe.com, and my new blog site, www.makingdocsblog.com.

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