A UK-based blog about short films and short film-making.

21 September 2005

Watch four-minute documentaries online

Four Docs is a Channel 4 website that shows documentary films, each one guaranteed to be no more than four minutes long. What's more, viewers can upload their own films to the site and have them viewed and reviwed.

This is a great idea for an online film site - you know each film is not going to last more than four minutes, so you don't have to invest half your life in waiting for the film to download. The site itself is also well put together (as you would expect from Channel 4). The graphics are good, the site's fairly easy to navigate around, and the buttons all seem to work.

Not many films have been uploaded yet, but cleverly you can subscribe to an RSS feed to keep updated as new films are uploaded. So many film websites would benefit from a similar RSS facility.

Look out for School Spirit (an inspiring doc about some school children making their own film), and Somebody's gotta do it, a film that allows a refuse van driver to talk about his life and tell some great stories about his work.

FourDocs is aimed at people who make docs, as well as those who watch them. It has a fantastic series of simple guides for the documentary filmmaker who is just starting out. These guides are short films themselves, with accompanying PDF files that can be downloaded. The site also has extensive legal guidelines for documentary makers, advice about copyright, links to useful websites, and interviews with documentary filmmakers.

It looks as though a lot of effort has gone into setting up this site, and it has paid off.

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