The Vérité Documentary Cinematographers Dress Code

The Vérité Documentary Cinematographers Dress Code

Eric Becker

Filmmaker Eric Becker – photographer John Keatley

A cool kids uniform is still a uniform.

Documentary shoots usually are small informal teams, each person dictates their own dress code, though some unwritten rules at play. The idea is to be unnoticed by appropriately dressed for anything, you could walk into a church or a sacred ceremony or a jungle or a slum – you never know how the day can pivot, will have to run along side or climb up for vantage point and be able to carry certain equipment on your person.

From day 1 in the industry, I was nurtured/inspired the casual cool of french cinematographers. The objective, Blending in with a giant camera, is already tough; I don’t want to look like a technician. I wanna look like a cool dad; blend in but have small touches of style and flair, that when upon closer inspection pass certain sniff tests by the a range of citizens.

Simple axioms

When on shore, never shorts

I’ve been turned away for having shorts on but no other piece of clothing. They can lend you a jacket, but pants? I wore shorts when I was first filming but over time I have realized, especially developing countries, formality matters as a sign of honor and respect. I just want people to feel comfortable and not be talking about how I am breaking another taboo. Unless you are on the ocean; the beach is technically part of the ocean. Note: wearing shorts is a sign you should be wearing sandals – the teva variety, never flip flops

Documentary Trail

A documentary is a like a good hike, you aren’t gonna wear sneakers or dress shoes, they are comfy but not enough protection. I like a light boot or trail shoe, the dressier the better, waterproof with good traction. You need to be able to climb a mountain then come down and walk into a church. For the hike, you want a good hat, sunscreen, extra layers, better safe than sorry. A good belt, with a Leatherman, a battery bank and tape.

Pocket Game

I like a button down shirt, a modicum of formality but more importantly pockets, place to stash quick items. I’ve never gotten into fanny packs. Camouflage is in, so I would wear a military surplus jacket with huge pockets. Cargo pants seem obviously, pocket-wise, but fashion-wise I get triggered like an ex-cult member by Abercrombie catalog flashbacks. Besides having valuable or heavy items near your knees can go wrong for all involved. For pants I want a slim stretch fit in colors that don’t show dirt: dark, khaki navy but I avoid black.

Tell Me Your Own


Saints out of sinners – the Cinematography of House of Cards

The Underwoods left the land of plausible reality end of season 1 beginning of season 2, entering more of a Shakespearean realm, caricatures of emotions and avarice. The plot and characters have rotated on this axis of moral extreme looking glass, a refracted lense to reconsider the depths of depravity, sex and power, plumbing the depths of darkness we encounter these scary creatures dimly lit glowing like phosphorescent fish in the depths of the ocean. For Cinematography’s sake the show required viewing, the characters move in paintings of perfect composition and color control. I tip my hat.


For more about techniques and trick of house of cards go here.

BIKEPARKNOW – the movement for an urban moto bike park in Baltimore

For 5 years I have been tracking the Dirt Bike issue in Baltimore City. The issue is a kin to many of the other issues facing economically under served in the city, but specifically the African American community who have been systematically oppressed for decades,  undoing the impact will disrupt the status quo in an attempt to find social balance. This is called achieving equilibrium.  Over time we will get into the nuanced issues around the bikes but right now let state something simple.

Urban Dirt bike riding is not going away, more over there is a whole generation of kids  practicing everyday on pedal bikes, dreaming to join the ranks of their heroes. In the current political environment these heroes are outlaws because their passion has not gained bureaucratic acceptance. This dirt bike park and the movement towards a solution is about this next generation of riders and their attitudes towards the system.

There is time for a solution for the summer, if we can find tolerance and compassion around the things we don’t understand.



Passage Interdit or How to hop the Paris Metro like a Pro || Part 1 – Zeitgeist


Turnstile jumping Le Metro is the only true Parisian sport, a subtle act of resistance to help the French stay French . Everyday 145,000 of Les Fraudeurs, the fraudsters, from all walks of life take a free ride, a brush with adventure, and a chance to stick to the man by illegally entering public transit. For all the broke expats and artist for whom the monthly pass is a bridge too far $$, Passage Interdit is a walk through  for getting in, getting around and getting out with out getting caught. As an American, from a place of ridged rules and few exceptions I was fascinated by the 80 year old women duck under a turnstile, or a family of three hold the door and walk in through exit, all the time thinking … what bravery? Jumping the metro is about coming to grips with the reality and fantasy,with control and the state with loopholes and house rules with the adventure of the everyday … stay tuned.

Refugee Remix or 100 year misery machine

You may forget

but let me tell you

someone in
some future time

will think of us

Sappho (c. 613 B.C.)

– Greek poet living on Lesvos

Lesvos, Greece – 10km from the Turkish boarder

Standing atop van, vigorously waving an orange life jacket over his head a handsome Spanish lifeguard takes a quick selfie, then refocuses on the horizon. Below him 6 of his fellow life guards dressed in neon yellow and oranges, human pylons, circled up to form a target for refugee boats. 10 or so photographers, a strange mix of seasoned pro’s, bloggers, amateurs and artists, mill about the life jacket covered beach. In the distance the Coast Guard cutters of Greece and Turkey troll by absently, in the foreground orange life jackets glint on the black of imitation zodiac puttering to us. Rumors is the orange life jacket go for more, 125 euro and up but most are fake, overpriced placebo’s. Thankfully Turkey clearly visible 10k away, as refugees usually pilot the boats themselves on the normally calm, transparent Aegean sea; a playground of the rich. The air is filled with stones clacking together as the Spanish lifeguards, Scandinavian volunteers, British doctors and the photographers surge forward clapping and cheering, prompting the passenger to cheer. Squeaking rubber against the smooth stones, signals the decent, babies and children are whisked off first, as the rest one by one out the front into the sea of helping hands and emergency blankets. Laughing, crying, praying, pulling out phones, calling family or taking selfies, men, women, children finally out of the hands of human traffickers. After landing they walk 1-5 kilometers of winding dirt road running the coast to the bus stops to take them two one of the two transit camps, Oxy or Skala to get food and water, dry clothes and a bus ticket to the refugee camps of Moria and Kara Tepe for processing and ferry passage to the mainland.

“The Albanian Mafia, in its entirety, constitutes one of the highest crime generating elements in the world … The massive logistics to almost anywhere and the syncretic nature of Albanian crime has facilitated its establishment outside of the mother country and its integration with the local criminality, exploiting the opportunities inherent in the entire compatriot network.”

Wikipedia Albanian Mafia


As the last of life jacketed step off the boat a handful of rough hewn swarthy men immediately begin slashing the boat, pulling out the make shift floor boards and lugging the outboard engine onto the back of a pick up truck. Just another day at the job for the Albanian Mafia henchmen, normally narcotics traffickers but due to market conditions have become human traffickers, adapting their logistics chain to fill the demand, each person on the boat is paying $1000-2000. The smugglers Crossing at night is much riskier; the refugees are more shaken and dazed or hysterical. At night the Albanians would sit by bonfires on the beach, drinking taking phone calls, flashing lights then finally going meet the boat, sometimes the only people there to greet them. “They are doing the job the coast guard should be doing” a Greek Coast Guards officer told us.


Afghans told us you could book your passage from online, a one time fee to be passed through a network of smugglers and onto the shore of Europe. Trafficking networks have always existed but now they are being flooded with legitimate war refugees with legally protected status unable to find safe passage because the legal political systems are unable to find solutions forcing them into the hands of smugglers. IOM reports that over 3000 people have died crossing to Europe. If the refugees were given status trip from turkey to Greece is simple, ferries make the journeys everyday, safely and legally, at 1/100th the black market ticket price.


“Wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men…because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

–Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 100 Years Of Solitude


100 years ago Albanian Muslims, absorbed by Greece after the Balkan war, were deported to Turkey in a religious cleansing/population swap, scattering the Albanian diaspora over the Balkans and uprooting 1.2 million Greek Christians back to Greece on the same trade routes running from a Turkish genocide as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. 100 years later, the conditions are much the same, massive ethnic tension, war and reports of genocide, the fall out of other wars that destabilized the region. Ending the war is a clear solution to the problem, easier said then done but till then the handling of refugees with dignity and humanity through legal channels creating safe passage. Fiscal pragmatism is the key to creating new routes of passage, money will always create access Europe in ability to allow access only empowers the existing back channels, empowering those networks to wreak further criminal havoc in our world. All this money and human potential is passing through the most economically fragile country in Europe, why can’t this be harnessed to help lift the Greek economy out of the mire.

The Paris attacks rocked our trip to the Lesvos, our whole crew has family there. That day we spoke to refugees none of them were callous to the suffering or said “welcome to our world”, but instead seemed deeply saddened and concerned. They are doctors, lawyers, people with smart phones, people like you fleeing a genocide and collateral damage of a war the whole world has a hand in. Daesh will not go so quietly into the night. Attacking Paris, stirring the bee’s next of NATO while casting doubt on the refugees work to create more of them but giving them less places to go. Deash wants to see the end of western civilization, to see us burn, to see backlash against refugee by Europeans. As Europe closes it’s boarders, xenophobia spreads and refugees cry to be recognized and protected by laws the Europeans created to protect Europeans after world war one. A century later, all has been forgotten, the new refugees of our new proxy world war; only today the world is watching live, leaving clever comments and heartfelt likes on facebook; making us all complicit to this crime against humanity


“What has come to light is neither nihilism nor cynicism, as one might have expected, but a quite extraordinary confusion over elementary questions of morality—as if an instinct in such matters were truly the last thing to be taken for granted in our time.”

― Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil





Ebola is Not Real (at least the latest strain in America)


Ebola as it is depicted in the American media; paraded in front of senate hearings and running rampant in minds of the American people does not exist. The killer virus that spreads like wild fire with these horrible deaths, an unstoppable plague that kill’s 90 percent of it’s victims is only dangerous to Dustin Hoffman and those whom he closely works with in a fictional setting.

You are fine.

So is your dog.

This is the Hollywood strain of Ebola.

It’s fake.

As we have seen with the vast majority of people airlifted to the western countries, they survive and no one else gets it.

The Real Ebola that is in Africa, its not that dramatic its much more sinister. Only immediate family and healthcare workers are at high risk. The Ebola plays on human compassion, hurting your loved ones and making your every interaction with them deadly. When they die the viral load spikes and no matter your religion, you must burn them for fear of the corpse entering the water table. Imagine it’s your brother or your mother but there is no hospital to take them to or you are out in the bush with no way to travel with them safely. Ebola goes against every natural human instinct to care and mourn. The psychosocial impact of the virus is being underestimated and largely ignored in the media.

Caution is good, I have lived with Ebola across the street from my house. Believe me; Ebola is real and should be taken seriously but taken too far it become a weapon fear to alienate people from the humanity of the situation.

The cure to the Hollywood strain is awareness of both the virus and the reality of living with it. On the American side that means combating the fear with reality and  isolationism with compassion; not be pushing these countries further away from global village. On the Liberian side there is a need jobs, education, economic stability and accountability from those that are charged with running the government to change the scarcity mindset of the people.

Ebola is merely exploiting the dangerously fragile situation that your average Liberian has suffered since the war ended. The bright side is the virus could the rallying cry to over haul the country’s infrastructure and create sustainable systemic change. The virus has made people come together in new ways, forcing people to trust each other.


Ubuntu — I am me because of you

Ebola panoramics /// wide view on a human crisis

still here

keep extending

the work is exciting

change is tangible

in the face of this virus

we can rebuild like never before

sunset interviews with the rasta men at pan african beach

sunset interviews with the rasta men at Pan African beach

a mural about ebola and social progress atthe pan african beach

a mural about Ebola and social progress at the Pan African beach

the hipco open mic night at Takun J's place a chance for people to come together and have thier voice heard in these desperate times.

Hipco open mic night at Takun J’s place a chance for people to come together and have their voice heard in these desperate times.

sunset over monrovia from HOPE 21 AN observatory for kids who have been close to the ebola virus but show no symptoms.

Sunset over Monrovia from HOPE 21 AN observatory for kids who have been close to the Ebola virus but show no symptoms.

inside the office at the oan african beach, a rasta hang out that fosters free thinking and artistic expression.

Inside the office at the Pan African beach, a rasta hang out that fosters free thinking and artistic expression.

meeting at the MTM staff house with the local community to discuss awareness strategies and sustainable development.

Meeting at the MTM staff house with the local community to discuss awareness strategies and sustainable development.

cyrus checks in on the girls fromthe more htan me academy. Schools are closed indefinitely give the kids nothing to do and puts them at risk in the streets.

Cyrus checks in on the girls from the More Than Me Academy. Schools are closed indefinitely give the kids nothing to do and puts them at risk in the streets.

a sea of i heart west point shirts as our community awareness workers gather to give feed back on hteir work

A sea of I heart West Point shirts as our community awareness workers gather to give feed back on their work

meeting wiht the international rescue committee so much of our days are meeting .. necessary but tedious when there is so much to be done

Meeting with the international rescue committee so much of our days are meeting .. necessary but tedious when there is so much to be done

the more than me academy which has been transformed into the epicenter for effort to kick ebola out of west point.

the more than me academy which has been transformed into the epicenter for effort to kick Ebola out of west point.

the soccer field at kru beach in west point // in spite of it all life carries on

The soccer field at Kru each in west point // in spite of it all life carries on

in front of redempton hospital/holding center to the right a ambulance with a dead body center a stack of corpses in body bags at right our ambulance with 3 children wiht possible symptoms

In front of Redempton hospital/holding center to the right a ambulance with a dead body center a stack of corpses in body bags at right our ambulance with 3 children with possible symptoms

Back to Liberia /// panoramic

Been here for a week watching

now i am ready to speak

mtm.ebola.dreams 1

Touching down at in Monrovia to face masks and infrared thermometer scans

as i walked out of the airport the security guard whispered

don’t let anyone touch you

mtm.ebola.dreams 2

Training ambulance driver with the personal protective equipment as More Than Me founder Katie Myler organizes the community response in west point

mtm.ebola.dreams 3

mtm.ebola.dreams 4

Trying to maintain some sense of normality we go to Rasta Beach for Katie’s 32nd birthday. Last year for her birthday she opened a school that is no the home of the response team and ambulance unit

mtm.ebola.dreams 5

Atop of the more than me guest house that has been shut down /// how can this be used to in the battle of Ebola

mtm.ebola.dreams 6

mtm.ebola.dreams 7

sunset interview with ester, who is a staff work at the More Than Me house. Her only brother died of ebola int he bush and she is working to spread awareness in the community that is being ravaged by the virus

mtm.ebola.dreams 8

a meeting of the partners in the battle to contain Ebola in west point, organizing the different arms of outreach to maximize the impact

mtm.ebola.dreams 9

Our ambulance drivers and attendants in the back of a of the pick up truck headed to Elwa MSF treatment center for training on using the personal protective equipment

mtm.ebola.dreams 10

From the terrace of the Mamba Point hotel. This is where all the journalists and international aid workers are staying even during the war this was a safe zone.

mtm.ebola.dreams 11

mtm.ebola.dreams 12

A typical day on Rasta beach, music and laughter hair being braided small food being sold off the tops of peoples heads in spite of the virus life carries on arties made music is played and people try to keep their spirits afloat

mtm.ebola.dreams 13

The pool at our hotel which is also an apartment complex housing some of my friends from European Union who were hosting a topless and cocktails sundown party. For months not of these people have been to any gatherings they had been shattered in their homes and we’re beginning to go stir crazy small events like this help give people sanity in this growing crisis.

More soon



Easy parallax scrolling or easy web native visuals or how to make a cool website


it been popping the last year or so

parallax scrolling for websites

the concept is old

“The technique grew out of the multiplane camera

technique used in traditional animation since the 1930s,

and was popularized among video games

in the 1982 arcade game Moon Patrol


In 2011 Ian Coyle created the very first parallax website for Nike

“Nike Better World”

give it three year and now its a breeze

Scroll Kit make it simple and intuitive

I did THIS in a day

this whole thing is great for web native stories


or just telling a story

like the Epic  life of Pi

the idea is old the technology is accessable

all you need is the game plan

the rest is a simple process

for more inspiration


Scarlett Johansson vs Katie Meyler or what does it mean to give?

here is the teaser for my new film

about what it means to give in the modern age


when tring to aid in the battle against world hunger

be sure to do deep research into the companies

that you will be doing your scripted celbrity endorsment for

ties to palestinian isreal tensions and controversial views on how the situation can be remedied  

charity vs collaboration

for product touted to be helping make our planet and people healthier

other wise you will be thrown to the dogs after 8 years of work

who wins

who loses

now she is a free agent in the league of celebrities vs world

oxfam not looking principled but petty

in comes More Than Me and Katie Meyler can’t be thrown to the dogs

casue she has a pack of her own who are not attached to her celebrity

but for the deeper messege of living for something more than yourself

i have my critiques of katie

she is far from perfect

but she is doing it


you are what you do

the philosophical debates over right and wrong

spin in stasis as those on ground pound it out looking for solutions in the day to day

oh we the lucky ones