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March 1999, Week 1


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Dagmara Romanowska <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 7 Mar 1999 10:57:32 +0100
text/plain (43 lines)
This is the first time I post a message to the list and I hope that I do
it correctly. If not, please forgive me.

Anyway, I'm interested in WebCams and their similarity to the movies
both feature and documentary. WebCams use some technologies which are
taken directly form film production. The most important are the Point of
View phrase and Zooming. The chance of cutting is limited and concerns
time ( you can save the pictures to your computer and then put them in
your own order ). Though, WebCams are "slower" and it takes a while to
download them. I guess that it is only a matter of time and soon this
problem will be overcome.

WebCams seem to be the ideal documentary if you take into consideration
Flaherty's theory of this film genre. The camera is the key point to
this new kind of picture. It just records what it sees and doesn't
interfere. The "subject" creates itself and is taken from the real life.

And here a problem arises. If the WebCam is placed at a private home and
it's the owner's decision, it's only a matter of exhibitionism. The net
voyeurs can make advantage of it but they are allowed to, the owners
"gave" them their permission. Actually, it is another similarity to the
cinema. Both on your computer screen and in the cinema you can observe
somebody else's life and problems. The screen in these two cases is
similar to the key hole... It is more problematic if the WebCam is
placed in a public place like a park or a street. Now it is a matter of
protecting your privacy. WebCam becomes a tool of Panopitcon...

I'm curious to find out what is your opinion on WebCams. Do you think
that WebCams may endanger our privacy? Do you know any publications
which concern this problem? I've been also thinking of some particular
films which use a camera as a peeping tool: "The Truman Show", "The End
of Violence", "Peeping Tom", "Rear Window". Can you think of some other
titles? What other than mentioned in here similarities and differences
between WebCams and cinema can you notice?

DaGa Romanowska

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