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September 2003, Week 5


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kenneth w harrow <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 30 Sep 2003 15:58:48 -0400
text/plain (81 lines)
i am not competent to answer these questions. so i asked carmela garritano,
who has written a dissertation and will be coming out with a book on
ghanaian video. here is her answer:

it looks like you've conflated analog video(smooth gradations on magnetic
tape converted to electric impulses) and digital video(stores data in binary
intervals). in ghana, they have been using analog video -- to capture and
edit and duplicate. it is only very recently that folks have been using
digital cameras and non-linear (digital) editing.
here is the reason i need to get back to ghana: digital video is shaking up
the entire system all over again. now a video-filmmaker can do everything
himself if he can purchase a computer and editing software. in the past, the
editor was the one essential "professional" in the video-filmmaking team
because it takes a lot of training to operate an analog editing bench. with
the advent of digital video editing software, almost anyone (who has access
to very expensive computer equipment and LOTS of storage space) can edit his
own films. i know of at least two independent filmmakers who are trying to
cut-out the editor and edit their own films on their own PCs.
most duplication is done on VHS tape although Safo [Socrates Safo is a
Ghanaian filmmaker]  tells me that video CDs
are also very popular. yes, they are packaged with exciting titles, enticing
blurbs, lively images and all the other trappings of commodification. movies
run from 90 minutes to over two hours in length. the last question is a
funny one -- this is the point of the first chapter of my book!!!
[I guess
everyone will have to wait to get the answer on the last question! but i
will introject that many who have started making video films, and acting in
them, have not been trained previously in the film industry...ken harrow]

At 09:22 AM 9/30/03 -0700, you wrote:
>Thanks, Ken, for the info about the use of video in African movies.
>Nevertheless I have some questions about the following:
><all that started to change when the first nigerians and then ghanaians
>dared to pick up a video camera, and even without training began to turn
>films with their friends. they created an astonishing industry in the
>ten years, with more video films being produced and exhibited in nigeria
>one year (over a thousand) than in all the history of celluloid film in
>africa. these are popular films, not socially relevant or high culture
>films; they are filled with scenes involving magic, romance, killing,
>and can be made in a week or two on a shoestring budget. they are hawked
>off the backs of trucks, shown in local parlors, and have responded to
>audience's expectations so successfully as to be wildly popular. in
>digital has saved film in Africa>
>Are you talking of plain video or digital video? Since you mention a
>time span of 10 years, I assume the former.
>What distribution format is being used: vhs?
>Are they packaged with titles, pictures, etc. so customers know what
>they are buying?
>Do these movies stick to the usual 90 min length?
>Are they made by "filmmakers" or ordinary people?
>Jean-Pierre Geuens
>For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives:

Kenneth W. Harrow
Dept of English
Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
E. Lansing, MI 48824-1036
ph 517 353-7243
fax 517 353-3755
e-mail [log in to unmask]

For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives: