Bite Sized Documentaries

For someone with a professed interest in documentaries, I don’t watch that many. I’ll watch 4 episodes back to back of my TV fling of the week (total 172 minutes), but I won’t watch a full documentary because of the time commitment to sit still that long (ADD, what?). I’m trying to fix that. Many of us have a desire to better our knowledge of the world (see this blog), but realistic effort tends to fall short, since most of us are intrinsically lazy bastards (and some have lives).

This is the realism acknowledged and addressed by the New York Times’ Op-Docs. Each documentary short is 5 minutes or less and the couple I saw really make use of the visual medium.

Solo, Piano – NYC – Could be a poignant short story, but simple, low quality pictures are far more effective, especially at the end. I wish they had run video instead of stills, but I can see how it would be logistically problematic.

Soda Ban Explained – Though covering current news events, this short was in the same style generally found on vimeo, utilizing stop-motion, hand-cam, and visual gags. It presented information in an engaging manner, with good visuals, instead of dry droning talking heads. That’s the problem with TV news, it’s presented like radio. Except for the weather, the scrolling stock market numbers, and the occasional mugshot, I might as well be listening to the radio.

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