Friday August 29th, 2014

From “Born From Blood:” How to Pan

KIGALI, Rwanda, 26 July 2014 — I traveled really light on this trip to Rwanda, carrying only my iPhone and no other gear. No tripod. So it was nice to know how to make a fairly steady pan when I saw the opportunity.

I visited a community project in the Rwandan capital, shooting my central character as she showed me around a city that I hadn’t visited since 1996. And a pan shot of the work, the people and the location, seemed appropriate.

So to make a pan with no tripod I suggest: Find something on which to stabilize yourself. A wall. A pole. A car bumper. Anything that will help keep you and the camera stable. Take position at the point where you want to END the pan. Then twist your body to where you want to BEGIN the pan. In this case, I twisted my body to the right. Hit the “Record” button and allow your body to relax and just flow from right to left. As your muscles relax, your body will move smoothly to the end point of the pan.

Pushing your way INTO the pan is counter-productive, in that your muscles are straining (as opposed to relaxing) and this results in unsteadiness. Check out this shot to see what I mean. Click HERE.

These are some of the lessons that I’ve picked up during nearly 40 years in the field, and that I teach both at American University and in my Video Workshops. For more information see http://videojournalismworkshops.com/live.

For my ONLINE course, see http://videojournalismworkshops.com

Wednesday August 20th, 2014

Raise Your Voice! at October 2-5 Video Workshop

WASHINGTON, DC, 20 August 2014 — Learn to Raise Your Voice! with video at my Video Workshop in the nation’s capital on October 2-5. This four-day workshop is an intensive immersion in the craft of visual storytelling. Learn to tell powerful video stories. Raise Your Voice! about issues that are important to you.

To register, see http://videojournalismworkshops.com/live. Space is limited.

See you in October!

Best regards,

Bill Gentile

Tuesday August 19th, 2014

Nicaragua Photos on Cover of Joan Didion’s “A Book of Common Prayer”

WASHINGTON, DC, 19 August 2014 — I received confirmation this morning that two of the images from my book of photographs, “Nicaragua,” will be used as the cover of Audible’s audio edition of “A Book of Common Prayer,” by Joan Didion. This is a great honor, with so much connective tissue.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Joan Didion, but I knew Didion’s daughter, Quintana Roo, who spent some time in Nicaragua during the 1980s. At the time I was working as a photojournalist, and Quintana was interested in the craft. She actually spent more time with my youngest brother Rob (also then a photojournalist) than she did with me, but I remember her as being a pleasant young woman.

Quintana died of acute pancreatitis on August 26, 2005.

I’ve read Joan’s book, “Salvador,” quite some time ago. It is a riveting account of life in that Central American nation during the civil war. From what I understand, John Hoagland spent time with Didion, showing her around Salvador and explaining some of the harsh realities of one of the darkest, most violent corners of the earth at that time.

John and I had spent a lot of time together covering the 1979 Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. We were “stringers” then. He moved on to El Salvador and became Newsweek Magazine’s Contract Photographer for Latin America and the Caribbean. He was killed covering a firefight there in 1984. A year later I became Newsweek Magazine’s Contract Photographer for Latin America and the Caribbean.

I plan to purchase “A Book of Common Prayer.”

 

Saturday August 16th, 2014

Use Long Lenses to “Pull” elements of the Image Together

ARUSHA, Tanzania, 2 August 2014 — A Masai goat herder tends to his animals on a highway just outside of Arusha, on the way to Tanzania’s National Park.

Had I not made this image from a moving vehicle, I would have stepped back and used a longer focal length on the camera lens, to “pull” the goats closer to the viewer. We know that longer focal length lenses compress images, and wide angle lenses separate them.

These are the kinds of things I teach in my Video Workshops, the next of which will be conducted in Washington, DC, on 2-5 October this year. To learn more about my workshops, see http://videojournalismworkshops.com/live

(Photo by Bill Gentile)

Friday August 1st, 2014

Making Video in Post-Genocide Rwanda

NYAMATA, Rwanda, 29 July 2014 — Chantal was the interpreter working for a colleague and I who visited Rwanda in 1996. We were on assignment for “ABC’s Nightline With Ted Koppel,” doing a report on Rwandan women who had been raped during the 100-day killing spree that has come to be know as the “Rwandan Genocide.” I’ve returned to visit some of the friends I made during that first trip, Chantal among them. I’m making a film about my return to Rwanda after 18 years. Chantal is one of the characters in the film.

Some of the 800,000 victims of Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide are buried in a memorial here, in this town about an hour’s drive south of Kigali. I first visited this site, with Chantal, in 1996. I filmed some of the dead.

In this picture, Chantal tries to explain to her 9-year-old son Peter what happened here in 1994, why the remains of so many Rwandans are enshrined in this memorial, why all these people were killed.

It was a tough conversation.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)

Thursday July 31st, 2014

Re-visiting the Rwandan Genocide

NYAMATA, Rwanda, 29 July 2014 — Some of the 800,000 victims of Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide are buried in a memorial here, in this town about an hour’s drive south of Kigali. I first visited this site in 1996 while on assignment for “ABC’s Nightline With Ted Koppel,” doing a report on Rwandan women who had been raped during the 100-day killing spree that has come to be know as the “Rwandan Genocide.” I’ve returned to visit some of the friends I made during that first trip, about whom I’m making another film.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)

Sunday July 27th, 2014

Learn to Build Powerful Videos at Workshop in Washington, DC

KIGALI, Rwanda, 26 July 2014 — Rwandans engaged in community work projects help build a school in this sprawling capital. These projects are one component of the Rwandan government’s efforts to build a sense of community and healing in a country that just two decades ago was the scene of one of the worst genocides in history.

I’m visiting Rwanda at the invitation of an interpreter with whom I worked in 1996 while shooting a story for ABC’s Nightline with Ted Koppel. I use stories like the one I shot for Nightline as teaching tools during my Video Workshops, in which students learn to build powerful videos.

My next event is scheduled for October 2-5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Registration now is open.

For more information, click HERE

Best regards,

Bill Gentile

Friday July 25th, 2014

“Symbolic” vs. “Literal” Images at Video Workshop

WASHINGTON, DC, 25 July 2014 – Sometimes the most literal images are the least explanatory. The least informative. I made this image while shooting a documentary about a yoga camp in Greece. I wanted to depict the grace and the magic of yoga, something that I believe this image, which is a reflection in a window at the yoga hall, accurately conveys.

The picture is not “literal.” Rather, it is symbolic.

This is just one example of the kinds of things we study at my Video Workshops, the next one scheduled for October 2-5, 2014, in Washington, DC. Registration now is open but seats are limited. For more information, see: http://videojournalismworkshops.com/live

 

Thursday July 24th, 2014

Parting Shot From Bangkok Video Workshop

BANGKOK, Thailand – 20 June 2014 — This is the group of journalists with whom I had the great pleasure of conducting a Video Workshop in their vibrant, beautiful Thailand.

It was such an enormous pleasure to work with colleagues eager to learn about the craft, to join the international dialogue that we call “journalism,” and to make positive change.

At the end of the event, one of the participants told me that, during 25 years of practicing the craft, he was most proud of the story he produced during our four-day event. I was deeply gratified by this.

Thursday July 24th, 2014

“Through Their Eyes” to COMMFFEST Film Festival

WASHINGTON, DC, 23 July 2014 — My wife, Esther, and I are pleased to announce that our film, “Through Their Eyes,” has been accepted to compete in the 8th Annual COMMFFEST Global Community Film Festival. Our one-hour documentary follows six American University students in the AU Abroad program studying in Cuba in Fall 2011.

 

According to Withoutabox.com, the COMMFFEST Global Community Film Festival leverages “the power of great films and filmmaking to promote exciting dialogues about global social issues. As a unique platform for filmmakers of all ages and experience levels, COMMFFEST brings together medical professionals and government representatives with visionary filmmakers and engages them with local and global communities to motivate positive change. More than simply a film festival, COMMFFEST is a mechanism through which art and stories truly can make a difference.?Each year, COMMFFEST’s prestigious Making a Difference Awards (MADA) are bestowed upon those filmmakers who best demonstrate a capacity for positively altering the social status quo.”