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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
How to finance your interactive documentary. Part 1 | Arnau Gifreu

How to finance your interactive documentary. Part 1 | Arnau Gifreu

How to Finance Your Interactive Documentary Part 1: Some Interesting Initiatives By Arnau Gifreu In this series of posts we address useful information for people interested in producing new media in general, and specifically interactive documentaries. Among other initiatives, there are key mechanisms such as financing markets, commonly called “market place” or “crossover market,” which a few years ago started to operate in the interactive and transmedia field. They have...
It started with the human voice | Suvi Andrea Helminen

It started with the human voice | Suvi Andrea Helminen

It started with the human voice By Suvi Andrea Helminen On Tuesday March 3rd, Open Documentary Lab fellow Halsey Burgund gave a talk about his work as a sound artist working with voices and music-scapes. What does this have to do with documentaries? All his work springs from real life and recordings of people’s personal experiences. Inspiration often starts in the most unlikely situations, when not searching for it. In...
On the Front Lines of the Virtual Frontier | Jeff Soyk

On the Front Lines of the Virtual Frontier | Jeff Soyk

On the Front Lines of the Virtual Frontier By Jeff Soyk We had the pleasure of hearing from ODL fellow Raney Aronson of Frontline. She shared insight on the current integration of “interactive” media into Frontline’s offering. The following is a summary and response to her presentation. As soon as journalism-based media was able to go online, Frontline was right there with streaming media. Now they’re expanding upon their digital...
Funding models for documentary.  Part 3: The transmedia documentary | Arnau Gifreu

Funding models for documentary. Part 3: The transmedia documentary | Arnau Gifreu

Funding Models for Documentary Part 3: The Transmedia documentary By Arnau Gifreu Broadcasters constitute an important part of the budget for transmedia documentary production, but there are still few television networks involved in this format. In countries with a strong interest in cultural issues, however, the networks are usually heavily invested in the documentary as a form of storytelling and technology. Examples of this tendency are the NFB, Arte and...
Funding Models for Documentary Part 2: The Interactive Documentary | Arnau Gifreu

Funding Models for Documentary Part 2: The Interactive Documentary | Arnau Gifreu

Funding Models for Documentary Part 2: The Interactive Documentary By Arnau Gifreu Some formulas mentioned in the first model (broadcasters, production companies, other institutions and agencies, micro-patronage systems and collaborative models) are included in this analysis of the second documentary expression form, the interactive documentary. The possibilities of this expression form in relation to possible funding models and consumption are still unknown in light of the fact that the traditional...
Funding Models for Documentary. Part 1: The Audiovisual Documentary | Arnau Gifreu

Funding Models for Documentary. Part 1: The Audiovisual Documentary | Arnau Gifreu

Funding Models for Documentary Part 1: The Audiovisual Documentary By Arnau Gifreu Interactive and transmedia projects are usually complex and require various production skills. Financing projects that require designers, programmers and filmmakers to work together can be overwhelming, therefore seeking funding from diverse sources and budgets is a good strategy. Producers also need to be prepared for the fact that the project may change depending on the funding source. To effectively finance...
Despite Being A Geek In Many Ways | Cindy Bishop

Despite Being A Geek In Many Ways | Cindy Bishop

Cindy Bishop reviews Alessandro Canosa’s talk to OpenDocLab:  “Games as Research Tools for Psychology of Personality and Emotions” Despite being a geek in many ways and choosing software development as my career, I’ve never really gotten into video games or game development. I used to be too much of a cheapskate to get good at games–I didn’t want to just keep dumping quarters into the slots at the arcade, and generally regarded...
Thoughts on Lara Baladi’s work | Thorsten Trimpop

Thoughts on Lara Baladi’s work | Thorsten Trimpop

Protesters during a speech in Tahrir Square, April 8, 2011. Photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy. © Mosa’ab Elshamy. “Tahrir Square: On Archiving and Interpreting the Revolution”   Thoughts on Lara Baladi’s work by Thorsten Trimpop I met Lara at MIT’s OpenDocLab shortly after she flew in from Cairo where she lives and works. The first thing we talked about was — of course — the revolution in Egypt. Our encounter brought...
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...