A Holiday Gift Guide for Documentary Fans and Documentarians

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Watch, Make, Learn! This year, give the gift of documentaries. For once, we mean it literally!

Make!

For aspiring documentarians and pros alike, we’ve compiled this list of gadgets and gear to make 2012 a productive year.

iPad 2

Electronics
1. iPad 2

Despite its hefty price tag, Apple’s newest tablet is actually a practical addition to a documentary kit. If you’re looking for an excuse to buy one, on-board storage lets you play back and encode gigabytes of mp4 video, making it invaluable for rushes. For hosts and news types, you can also use it in the field as a budget teleprompter (don’t throw away the box!) with the Teleprompt+ app ($14.99) and mirror glass ($55.56)!

Price: $499 – $829
Buy It / More Info: Apple


Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium

Software
2. Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium

Your revolt against Final Cut Pro X won’t come cheap, but rest assured that Adobe’s Production Premium package — with Premiere, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop… — has everything you’d ever need. Work with native DSLR video, stabilize shaky video, clean up audio, composite special effects and more.

Price: $1,699
Buy It / More Info: Adobe


Sony NEX-7 Digital Camera

Cameras
3. Sony NEX-7 Digital Camera

This 24p camera is as pocket-sized as it gets. Eager gear heads may have to wait for delivery though — Shipping will be delayed because parts are coming from recently flooded Thailand.

Price: $1,399 (body and 18-55mm lens)
Buy It / More Info: Sony


Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital Camera

Cameras
4. Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital Camera

A professional HD lover’s dream comes true in this compact Canon DSLR with a prosumer price.

Price: $712.95
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Kogeto Dot Panoramic Accessory for iPhone 4

Accessories
5. Kogeto Dot Panoramic Accessory for iPhone 4

This pocket-friendly 360-degree panoramic video attachment lets you capture the world from the palm of your hand. We wrote about the Kogeto Dot on our blog earlier this year.

Price: $79
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Redrock RunningMan DSLR Nano Rig

Gear
6. Redrock RunningMan DSLR Nano Rig

Capturing a race or a galloping gazelle? This rig will keep your camera stable as you chase down your subject, or as your subject chases you!

Price: $467
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Snowball USB Microphone by Blue Microphones

Accessories
7. Snowball USB Microphone by Blue Microphones

A versatile and budget-friendly mic for voiceovers and music. Plus, how many mics looks like orbs from the future?

Price: $58.07
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


DSLR Follow Focus

Accessories
8. DSLR Follow Focus

Let’s face it, digital camera focus was always tough to get just right in manual mode, and today’s larger sensors make it even tougher. With this tool, you can eliminate fuzzy video and awkward hand positioning with finely tuned focusing on the go.

Price: $59.95 – $89.95
Buy It / More Info: DSLR Solutions


Vimeo Plus Membership

Online Tools
9. Vimeo Plus Membership

No ads, unlimited HD uploading and complete access to tools offered by the shallow-focus extravaganza that is Vimeo.

Price: $59.95 (1 year)
Buy It / More Info: Vimeo


B&H Gift Card

Gear
10. B&H Gift Card

From lighting equipment to underwater cameras, B&H is a great way to treat a New York-area filmmaker to high-quality gear (and a mesmerizing in-store conveyer-belt system) during the holidays.

Price: $20 – $1000
Buy It / More Info: B&H Photo Video



Watch!

This was a great year for watching docs, and can we be so bold as saying 2012 will be even better with a gift of a DVD or membership? Here are a few ways you can give (or get) a doc fix.

Kindle Fire

Gadgets
1. Kindle Fire

Amazon’s impressive 7″ device comes ready for watching docs (like the ones directly below) and reading about them (a little farther down). And at a price $300 below Apple’s iPad 2, it’s an easy choice for a first tablet.

Price: $199
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

DVD/Blu-Ray
2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

Who can resist that winning smile? Share it with loved ones for the holidays! (Did the venerable documentary institution POV just recommend buying a Justin Bieber Blu-Ray? Yes, it did.)

Price: $9.99
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Tongues Untied

DVD
3. Tongues Untied

Tongues Untied captured the height of homophobia and racism in the 1980s with the emergence of AIDS. Stunning, provocative and powerful, the DVD includes newly released outtakes and a 1991 interview with director Marlon T. Riggs.

Price: $30.36
Buy It / More Info: Frameline


Middletown

DVDs
4. Middletown

Inspired by Depression-era sociological studies, Academy Award-winning director Peter Davis (Hearts and Minds) produced this multi-documentary study of American life in Muncie, Indiana, in the early 1980s.

Price: $44.98
Buy It / More Info: Icarus Films


ESPN Films: 30 for 30 Limited Edition Collector Set

Blu-Ray
5. ESPN Films: 30 for 30 Limited Edition Collector Set

Some of the biggest names in documentary go behind the lens in this series of films spanning 30 years of extraordinary sports stories.

Price: $69.99
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Kartemquin Films Collection Volumes 1, 2 & 3

DVD
6. Kartemquin Films Collection Volumes 1, 2 & 3

Immerse yourself in the counterculture of 1960s-era Chicago with classic films from the non-profit documentary producer’s early days.

Price: $74.95 (Order by Dec. 19 for a whopping 50% discount!)
Buy It / More Info: Kartemquin


The Alan Berliner Collection

DVDs
7. The Alan Berliner Collection

Five films from Alan Berliner are now in a DVD box set. Fans of POV will remember The Sweetest Sound, Intimate Strangers, Nobody’s Business and The Family Album, which are all here.

Price: $89.99
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Frederick Wiseman Custom Box Set

DVD/Blu-Ray
8. Frederick Wiseman Custom Box Set

Build your documentary collection with your choice of Wiseman classics. How about… Titicut Follies, High School and La Danse on Blu-Ray?

Price: $94.37 – $139.80
Buy It / More Info: Zipporah Films


Netflix Gift Subscription

DVD/Blu-Ray
9. Netflix Gift Subscription

The gift that keeps on giving. Well, at least for a month. Let your recipient make the most difficult choice of 2012: Streaming or delivery?

Price: $7.99 – $95.88
Buy It / More Info: Netflix


Ironweed Films Club Membership

DVD
10. Ironweed Films Club Membership

Who wouldn’t want to receive a DVD each month with two-to-four independent documentaries? Oh, and unlike Netflix, you get to keep them!

Price: $44.85 (3 months), $89.70 (6 months), $159.90 (1 year)
Buy It / More Info: Ironweed Films


Apple TV

Electronics
11. Apple TV

Watch Netflix, Vimeo or rummage through old photos from iCloud with this nifty device that connects to all of your other Apple toys.

Price: $99
Buy It / More Info: Apple


Roku 2 XD

Electronics
12. Roku 2 XD

If you’re not tied to the iTunes store, or want to free yourself from it, consider the Roku 2 XD. The 1080p version is $20 cheaper than Apple TV and connects to the major streamers.

Price: $79
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Rooftop Films 2012 Membership

Memberships (New York City)
13. Rooftop Films 2012 Membership

One of the best values out there for New York area documentary fans. Watch underground films with beautiful rooftop views, check out up-and-coming bands, and schmooze with emerging directors at stellar after parties.

Price: $35 – $50
Buy It / More Info: Rooftop Films


Film Society of Lincoln Center Membership

Memberships (New York City)
14. Film Society of Lincoln Center Membership

Check out film events and festivals and enjoy free weekday matinee screenings at this New York institution.

Price: $35 – $250
Buy It / More Info: Film Society of Lincoln Center


IFC Membership

Memberships (New York City)
15. IFC Membership

This is a NYC-area membership worth its weight in popcorn, which is really good here, and free! Perks include preview screenings and discounts on the Stranger Than Fiction documentary series.

Price: $40 – $75
Buy It / More Info: IFC


Stranger Than Fiction Winter 2012 Pass

Memberships (New York City)
16. Stranger Than Fiction Winter 2012 Pass

This New York City series is known for showing some of the best documentaries on a regular basis. Combine it with an IFC Center membership for a $20 discount.

Price: $100
Buy It / More Info: Stranger Than Fiction


Membership to Your Local Film Society or Gift Certificate at Your Local Arthouse Theater

Memberships
17. Membership to Your Local Film Society or Gift Certificate at Your Local Arthouse Theater

In Austin? Or Denver? Seek out your local film society and be a part of your documentary community, or gift tickets to an independent film theater near you!

Price: Varies
Buy It / More Info: Independent Lens Website



Learn!

Boost your favorite documentarian’s career with books, memberships and magazines to stay on top of industry developments.

Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright

Books
1. Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright

Was it right for us to reproduce the cover of American University’s Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi’s new book on copyright for our holiday gift guide? This book offers a framework for answering that question, along with practical tips for documentarians about the black, white and gray areas of copyright law.

Price: $11.56
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction

Books
2. Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction

This short primer covers everything you need to know about documentary styles, history, evolution and content.

Price: $8.75
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


A New History of Documentary Film

Books
3. A New History of Documentary Film

A comprehensive historical overview of the genre also documents new trends in the industry — great for a student of docs!

Price: $20.15
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


The Direct Cinema of David and Albert Maysles

Books
4. The Direct Cinema of David and Albert Maysles

For anyone who wants to know how the directors of Salesman and Gray Gardens forever changed documentary filmmaking.

Price: $29.95
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World

Books
5. The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World

This practical textbook for teachers is co-written by the founding president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) and, more famously, a contributor to POV discussion guides.

Price: $41.95
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com


International Documentary Association Membership

Magazines/Memberships
6. International Documentary Association Membership

Documentary magazine, website benefits and a ballot for the IDA Awards? How could you go wrong?

Price: $55
Buy It / More Info: Documentary.org


DOX Magazine Subscription

Magazines
7. DOX Magazine Subscription

Hoping to be big in Belgium? Keep up with developments in all aspects of the European doc industry with this quarterly magazine.

Price: 28 € (about $37.50)
Buy It / More Info: European Documentary Network


Filmmaker Magazine Subscription

Magazines
8. Filmmaker Magazine Subscription

Help your favorite filmmaker stay informed with director interviews and industry insights in this indie-focused magazine published by IFP.

Price: $9 (digital subscription)
Buy It / More Info: Filmmaker Magazine


Join a Professional Organization of TV & Film Producers

Memberships
9. Join a Professional Organization of TV & Film Producers

Consider joining the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) or other member organizations of public media’s minority consortia starting at $10.

Price: $10-$35+



Fun Stuff!

Support a Documentarian on Kickstarter

Donations
1. Support a Documentarian on Kickstarter

Help ease the hardest part of making a documentary: fundraising! Donate to a documentarian and you might be treated with fun rewards like a private screening in outer space. Or I guess a DVD of the final film is pretty cool too.

Price: $1 – $10,000
Buy It / More Info: Kickstarter


Clothes
2. “Thriller Was a Documentary” T-Shirt

Express your love of zombies, Michael Jackson and documentaries without saying a word — unless the word is “Braaaaaaaaains…”

Price: $20
Buy It / More Info: Loops & Pluto


Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Camera

For Kids
3. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Camera

After getting this camera for your 6-plus-month-old budding filmmaker, you’ll be itching for sing-alongs in your HDSLR’s next firmware update.

Price: $9.54
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com



More POV-Related Gift Ideas

The POV 20th Anniversary Set and other POV Docs-Related DVDs, Books and More

DVDs, Books and More
The POV 20th Anniversary Set and other POV Docs-Related DVDs, Books and More

Rewatch the unforgettable, at times shocking and consistently beautiful documentaries from POV’s first 20 years, or pick up DVDs for more recent films such as the Emmy-winning Food, Inc. in POV’s Amazon affiliate store. Fans wanting to buy the United States of Documentaries map will be disappointed — For now, you can only win it in one of our online giveaways…

Price: Varies
Buy It / More Info: Amazon.com

What’s on your wish list? Share in the comments or let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • http://www.dctvny.org/ DCTV

    Great guide, but next time, don’t forget your neighbors, DCTV, who have been serving filmmakers since forever! http://www.dctvny.org/

  • http://twitter.com/blackmetalmovie Aaron and Audrey

    And if you’re wanting to buy something to help 75+ documentary filmmakers in one go, try something from the Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film’s Kickstarter – includes art and many other cool awards.  http://kck.st/uydZ3p 

  • Ben Unzer

    DO NOT give a Netflix gift subscription. Your recipient will be required
    to enter THEIR credit card information (a prepaid credit card won’t
    work) which will authorize Netflix to charge for the subscription after
    the gift subscription runs out unless they remember to cancel first.