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June 1995, Week 4


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Gene Stavis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 26 Jun 1995 18:40:14 -0700
text/plain (40 lines)
re: Using videos for film --
There is also the psychological aspect. That is, seeing a "film" in a theater
situation is a specific environmental experience. You are in the dark; you
are with an audience of a varied nature; the picture is MUCH bigger than you
are; the progress of the experience is completely out of your hands. Short of
a fire in the theater, the film will grind on as the operator is in a
soundproof booth, cut off from the audience.
Video is the very reverse. The room need not be as dark; you are with an
audience (or without an audience) of your choosing; the picture is relatively
small and unimposing (even projected, the image is degraded to the point
where it is not graphically impressive); the progress of the experience is
almost totally under your control - you can stop, repeat, freeze, rewind,
vary the speed, skip over sequences. And, interruptions are much more
frequent, and tolerated.
In short, with film the experience is bigger than you are and you relinquish
control; with video, the image is much less impressive and it is always under
your control.
Furthermore, with video, the image is presented on the same screen which, in
our experience, delivers the most disposable of images: commercials, tabloid
news; O.J. trial coverage; infomercials, etc. Whether a film is good or bad,
trash or treasure, its presentation takes on the element of special event,
even ritual, which is totally lacking in video.
Gene Stavis, School of Visual Arts - NYC
P.S. People who use video in place of films are neither villains nor
charlatans. They are victims of expediency and budget restraints. It is
becoming harder and harder to find film copies of movies, the equipment is
barely manufactured anymore and the film rentals are many times the price of
owning a video. It is a crime, but certainly not the fault entirely of
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