is primarily a moving image photographer with a full roster of equipment.
He takes on a variety of shooting assignments with a special interest in documentary storytelling.
He has, over the years, expanded his skills to include editing (AVID), animation & graphics (After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator), website creation (Dreamweaver), DVD authoring (Encore), book layout (InDesign) and subtitling. He also makes his own documentaries and short videos.
Whatever services you need, his well-rounded background helps him see the BIG
He is based in Montreal:
He is a member of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC)
- Richard's New(s) and Old -
** To see videos full screen you first click the YouTube icon and then click the icon to expand **
: Sometimes I make a short film because I have an affinity for the story. I also get to practise techniques which help me in the future. I decided to do a short doc about a couple who for the last 26 years have staged an Irish Ceili for family and friends. I had shot some footage last year and had access to lots of photographs and home movies. Since I was alone shooting the interview with "Harold and Helen", it was great to have a 4K camera so I could concentrate on the questions and do re-framing in post. I used Photoshop and Avid's pan and zoom effect to bring life to the still pictures. And thanks to their son who is a musician I had a sound track which was improvised practically in real time. You can watch the result of my labour of love by clicking the picture.
: During the pass eight months I have been working on and off as a cameraman for the documentary series Mohawk Ironworkers
. It is produced by Mushkeg Media
for APTN. The camera I used throughout was the Sony PXW-FS7. This was a very interesting shoot. The pride these generations of Mohawks have for their work is inspiring. I didn't see as much construction as I would have wanted, but seeing the Cornwall bridge being dismantled was pretty exciting. It seems to take as much planning and know-how to take a large structure down as it does to build something up. Click the picture on the left and you'll see what I mean. UPDATE
The 13 part series has aired on APTN. A second broadcast of the English version started on December 6, 2016. You can also see the episodes on-line.
: Last night I was at CAMMAC at their Thanksgiving banquet for a special screening of a documentary I made called Building in Harmony
is a centre for amateur music making (of which I am a participant). Ten years ago, when the summer program finished, the very old main building was demolished and a new one constructed. I thought it would be very exciting to film this as it was being built to LEED
guidelines which is a green building certification program. Visuals of the building rising up within the beauty of the Laurentians married very well with the participants' music that I recorded. You can see the trailer if you click the picture or if you go to the Documentary
page you can learn more and see the complete production.
: I just finished the edit of a concert put on by the accomplished Barbara Lewis
. Working alone, I set up two cameras with a wide framing on each side of the performing area and operated the central camera. Two high quality mics on a tall stand came into that camera and an audio recorder took audio off the sound system. I adjusted the theatrical lights and added one back light. I can't embed footage from this concert for copyright reasons but I can send people a link upon request. You can also click the picture to see some of the screen grabs.
I have done other concerts in a similar fashion. Go to the December 2012 news post and learn about a documentary I did on a performance of Handel's Messiah. It was a bigger production to film but we still managed to do it with just two people.
I did a second Barbara Lewis concert in April 2016.
This time I made use of my new camera that shoots 4K along with two other cameras. I put the 4K unmanned right in the middle, set a nice composition of the three musicians and while editing I could change the framing at will. As an example you will see, early in this video, a very slow and smooth zoom in. Having the choice of doing this in post gives you great flexibility. Lullaby for a deep sleep
is a song performed and written by Barbara Lewis.
: I got called to a shoot for Tel-Écoute
which provides a listening service for those in need. An easy shoot you would think but in fact it was a challenging one considering there is not much visually going on. Two cameras for the interview and judicial use of a slider helped a lot. Some special image treatment in post-production worked very well. Click the logo and see for yourself. It was produced by Altimage
: I was the DOP on a one day shoot for the non-profit Partenairesanté-Québec to create their powerful new promotional video Do You Know Anyone?
. Using only words and music, the video reminds viewers that all of us know someone, or indeed are someone, with critical health issues. It was a good concept and my job was make the visuals powerful enough to complement the script. I got to use my slider which helped bring life to a wall of pictures. Sometimes the seemingly straight forward shoots can be the trickiest. It was produced by Picture This Productions
: I decided to enter a production into the Toronto Urban Film Festival. They were looking for one minute silent videos that would play in subway systems and shopping areas. It was an interesting challenge and a learning experience but alas my efforts were in vain. There was a lot of competition as I found out. At least I can now play it on this website. So turn down your speakers, click the picture and ENJOY.
: Last night was the premiere of In the Key of Claire
. I have been working for the last 4 years as the cinematographer for this 52 minute documentary. It is a great story about Claire Duchesneau who is a social worker for refugees with HIV, a singer with a severe hearing impairment, a cancer survivor and a woman of great compassion and enthusiasm. Veteran filmmaker Anne Henderson did a great job bringing this story to life. You will soon be able to see the broadcast version on the CBC website.
: I occasionally get to be a journalist (and still do camera and sound at the same time). In that capacity I had the privilege to interview Romeo Dallaire, not just once but twice. I also recorded a voice over with Jane Goodall. But what she might remember more is that I fixed her computer. Your got to be versatile in the media business. Click the image and you will see what I mean.
: If you read the News Item two boxes below you may think I am trying to develop a niche market filming farm animals. I am not really. It just happens that Agribrands Purina wanted some footage shot on the dairy farm Ferme Drapeau & Bélanger
which is one of the largest in Québec with over 500 milking cows. It was a fun shoot especially in learning how such a large operation is managed. But farming as a retirement project.. I don't think so (it is a lot of work!!). Check out some screen grabs by clicking the thumbnail.
: I certainly knew about Joan Rivers when I got booked for a job at Just for Laughs. I learned a lot more after shooting with her backstage at the gala she was hosting. We did quick interviews with the various comedians who were performing that evening. This is footage she wants to have to use in a future show or on the web. She seems to garner a lot of respect and admiration among the comics. Despite her caustic humour on stage she was quite polite with me and was always making sure I had something to eat. If you click the thumbnail you will see screen grabs from the interviews we conducted. These comedians were all very excited to be performing at Just for Laughs
as well as getting to meet Joan Rivers
: You may have thought that Purina only makes pet food. I just completed the forth day of shooting for this company and it turns out they make farm animal food as well. In addition to visiting their factories we did some of the shooting days at horse ranches in Ontario and Québec. Horses are quite beautiful to look at and a joy to film. They can't be told to do an action in exactly the way you want it, but they do give you beautiful images to capture. You just have to pay close attention to know what they will do next. Click the thumbnail to see a short gallery of screen grabs. This is being produced by Altimage
: This was a fun assignment; doing DOP work for two days in the Concordia Music Department. We shot all the interviews with two cameras. Performances or classes were mostly captured on a separate audio recorder so we had a continuous sound track even if the camera was turned on and off. We got to hear some of the students perform at the Upstairs Jazz Bar. We captured part of a recording session being done in their main concert hall. There were courses in electroacoustic music along with choir and ensembles of varied combinations. There were a number of older students and some of them I knew from amateur groups that I have played in. UPDATE
: Concordia has put up the videos we shot on their YouTube Channel. For your interest there is: Music
, Jazz Studies
& Electroacoustic Studies
. These clips were produced by Picture This Productions
: This was the busiest shoot day in my life. There were just two of us to capture a sing-along performance of Handel's Messiah, do interviews and shoot B-roll for what became a hour-long documentary. For the concert we placed two GoPros behind the orchestra giving us a great of view of the audience/singers. We had one DSLR focused on the soloists. My colleague was on the balcony and I moved around getting different angles. Knowing how busy we would be, I did interviews beforehand on the phone. The nine interviews that afternoon went very smoothly with a setup of two fixed-framed cameras (so no mid-interview adjustments were needed). I knew my questions and what to expect. It was very efficient and I got great answers. You can read about how it turned out and see the trailer or the complete piece if you go to the Documentary
: I got to see the inside of Place des Arts' new concert hall and not as an audience member (or musician). I was hired to tape the performance of a talented young pianist. Her name is Alina Israilian, 16 years old and she is performing with the McGill Chamber Orchestra conducted by Maestro Boris Brott. Her father operated a camera of his own and I provided the other one. I decided to throw in my DSLR into the mix which remained fixed on the pianist. I was given a feed from the sound board which was configured specifically for recording. It was sweet to be provided great audio. I was then asked to edit everything together and here is the result; Beethoven Piano Concerto No 3
: I did a documentary More than a BOX with Windows
which is about the construction of Schluter Systems' sustainable energy efficient office building and it had a screening at the Greenbuild Expo in Toronto on Oct. 5th. It is my second documentary on this subject matter and I think we are at the point where these great technologies are becoming common place. If you go to the Documentary
page you can learn more and see both the trailer and the complete documentary. UPDATE
When I brought the documentary More than a BOX with Windows
to Hot Docs in 2012, I was very pleased that a representative of Films Media Group said this documentary would be of great interest to the architectural and engineering schools they sell to. We signed a deal and they now distribute the film both as a chaptered DVD and streaming video. It is also cool that the online content is searchable. Here is the catalogue listing: More than a BOX with Windows
: For quite a number of years in the summer I have been going to CAMMAC
, an organization which promotes amateur music making. It is a great place to go if you sing or play an instrument or just love music. I have recorded a number of the concerts along with some general footage. As a personal exercise I edited the material together into a piece called
The CAMMAC Sounds of Summer
: In 2003 my documentary on Griffintown spawned a coffee table book. After 600 copies sold, it went out of print because of the laborious home-based printing workflow. Because of renewed interest. I created a third edition (with help from Adobe Indesign). I put in more pictures and had 200 copies professional printed. No more collating around the kitchen table. More info at: griffintown.rjburman.com. UPDATE
: All 200 books have been sold and I decided to convert my printing file into an electronic pdf book which I now include with the DVD purchase. Griffintown is a story that still resonates with many interested in local history.
: I am not really into music videos but I got called and I came. It turn out they needed someone to direct it as well. To see the fruit of our labours click this link Panic Now
. I didn't edit it but love how they treated the image.