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Welcome to the MIT Open Documentary Lab

The OpenDocLab brings technologists, storytellers, and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary.
Challenging Convention | Raney Aronson-Rath

Challenging Convention | Raney Aronson-Rath

PART 3: Challenging Convention. I remember walking into our newsroom on that day and telling our then head of digital Andrew Golis how clear it was to me how the documentary form would be challenged,...
OpenDocLab awarded a grant to study the intersection of New Documentary forms and Digital Journalism

OpenDocLab awarded a grant to study the intersection of New Documentary forms and Digital Journalism

The MIT Open Documentary Lab received a grant this Fall for $175k from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to map and assess the intersection of new documentary forms and digital journalism....
Latest entries
Live Action Virtual Reality: The Big Picture ∣ Beyza Boyacioglu

Live Action Virtual Reality: The Big Picture ∣ Beyza Boyacioglu

One step into the New Frontier exhibition at 2015 Sundance Film Festival pulls viewers into a long-awaited future. The exhibition space is populated with curious heads, geared up with virtual reality goggles, exploring their surroundings with childlike enthusiasm. The present has finally caught up with the wearable technologies depicted in “Back to the Future II,” which eerily takes place in 2015. We bring our decades-long fantasies, speculations and training to...
How Virtual Reality Technology is Changing Documentary Filmmaking ∣ Deniz Tortum

How Virtual Reality Technology is Changing Documentary Filmmaking ∣ Deniz Tortum

At this year’s New Frontier exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival, doubts about the staying power of virtual reality are fading away. Visitors wait in long lines and the exhibition floors are fully packed for a technology that has been in the making for decades but hasn’t yet been able to quite get off the ground. Of the 15 works presented, 11 incorporate a VR headset, either via 360 degree...
StoryTools: Let’s build a tool for writing non-linear stories | David Dufresne

StoryTools: Let’s build a tool for writing non-linear stories | David Dufresne

  On January 14th, in a room of the Open Documentary Lab at MIT, we are a dozen people gathered around a crazy project, a simple project: Let’s build a tool for writing non-linear stories. An open source tool, open to all. In the room: some designers like Jeff Soyk (UX architect for Hollow), students like Deniz Tortum, fellows like Isabelle Raynauld (author of  Lire et écrire un scenario (Reading and Writing a Screenplay), developers like Cindy Bishop,...
MOOC Course starts February 17: DOCUMENTARY! New Trends, New Formats

MOOC Course starts February 17: DOCUMENTARY! New Trends, New Formats

This MOOC, offered by edX and developed at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, presents the new trends and formats of 21st century audio-visual documentary including a brief historical overview. About this Course Videos will be in English and / or in Spanish. Transcripts in both languages will be provided. The assessments will be in both languages. The course starts on February 17 and lasts 8 weeks. The course, developed by Pilar Carrera and colleagues at...
How to measure the impact of interactive documentaries? | David Dufresne

How to measure the impact of interactive documentaries? | David Dufresne

New York, October 30, 2014, in a large glass room of the Center for Social Innovation. Throughout the day, about 70 people will reflect on the simple question, the “killer” question: “how can the impact of a particular interactive documentary be measured?” The Interactive Department of Tribeca Film Institute and the MIT Open Documentary Lab  have initiated this gathering. Already, for several months, the two organizations have formed a working group to explore...
Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 8

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 8

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media: Decade 1990-2010 by Arnau Gifreu Castells. To formulate a relevant concept for the interactive documentary field we need to explore some aspects of the two key areas: the documentary genre and the interactive medium. This new series presents a combined, parallel, and comparative historical chronology of these areas up to the present moment of confluence. The two stories we are...
To Create Live Treatments of Actuality: An Investigation of the Emerging Field of Live Documentary Practice | Julie Fischer

To Create Live Treatments of Actuality: An Investigation of the Emerging Field of Live Documentary Practice | Julie Fischer

To Create Live Treatments of Actuality: An Investigation of the Emerging Field of Live Documentary Practice Chapter 1: Introduction. This thesis was a long time coming. I arrived at CMS in the Fall of 2012 and – starting to nose around for a thesis topic – couldn’t shake the desire to start studying the meaning and promise of live video communication. I’m only an infrequent Skype user but something about...
Innovating the Documentary | Raney Aronson-Rath

Innovating the Documentary | Raney Aronson-Rath

PART 4 -Innovating the Documentary. In his talk at MIT’s OpenDocLab Profesor Urrichio made the argument that historically, documentarians have always been at the forefront of visual, audio and storytelling innovations. I asked about documentarians today — his response is that today gamers and sports are taking the lead but he’s seeing great progress with documentarians….and he’s expects to see even more into the future. Here’s what director of OpenDocLab Sarah Wolozin calls Urrichio’s...
Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 7

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 7

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media: Decade 1980-1990 by Arnau Gifreu Castells. To formulate a relevant concept for the interactive documentary field we need to explore some aspects of the two key areas: the documentary genre and the interactive medium. This new series presents a combined, parallel, and comparative historical chronology of these areas up to the present moment of confluence. The two stories we...
Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 6

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 6

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media: Decade 1970-1980 by Arnau Gifreu Castells. To formulate a relevant concept for the interactive documentary field we need to explore some aspects of the two key areas: the documentary genre and the interactive medium. This new series presents a combined, parallel, and comparative historical chronology of these areas up to the present moment of confluence. The two stories we...
No Turning Back | Raney Aronson-Rath

No Turning Back | Raney Aronson-Rath

PART 2 – No Turning Back. We’ve all had that moment (well, those of us not born with iPads!) when we realized there was no turning back on embracing the digital disruption that was taking place. Looking back I wonder to myself, how could I not have known how dramatically our field would change? It started for me in a fundamental way four and a half years ago when the...
Dox Magazine | Evolution: An Inside Look at the Open Doc Lab

Dox Magazine | Evolution: An Inside Look at the Open Doc Lab

OpenDocLab Artist-in-Residence Suvi Helminen talks with Principal Investigator William Uricchio in this Dox Magazine profile of the lab and the history of documentary’s relationship with new media technology: From a technological point of view MIT has had great impact on media history in terms of providing affordances for which type of content could be created. Curiously this impact is however often unplanned, because new technology is almost always repurposed and...