Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Tyranny of DSLR Video

If you took a film or video class between 1908 and 2008, your end product looked like what it was: crap. Then, just as the world economy was in free-fall, full-frame DSLR video appeared like that lobster in Multiple Maniacs:

...and suddenly your amateur crap looked like Soy Cuba. On February 7, 2012, the second generation of DSLR video cameras arrived. Nikon just released this ridiculous promo video for its D800 camera on Vimeo:

So here's the dilemma presented by the ubiquity of DSLR video: will it kill film in the same way it killed photography? I believe it will, at the very least, kill independent film culture as we currently know it because with the point of entry so much lower, young people will cease being seduced by films and filmmaking. Photography and film schools thrived until the appearance of digital technology because photography and film students got off on the barrier created by their exclusive knowledge. Photographs and movies were everywhere before 2008, of course, but only people who took an intro class or two had any familiarity with the tools and processes.

The other fundamental challenge facing the future of independent film is that web videos need to "go viral" (I cringe as I type that) if there is any hope for them being seen by a wide audience. Since the appearance of Youtube in 2006, people have been producing videos designed to go viral -- and such videos can never be serious. What's more, people paradoxically click on low-res videos that look funny, rather than slickly produced videos like the frivolous motorcycle doctor we saw above, so save the $2,999 you budgeted for a Nikon D800 and just pay bums $5 to punch each other.


On the matter of not owning a television, I recently got in this tangle with someone online:

>People who don't watch tv LOVE pointing out that they don't watch TV

People who make fun of people who say they don't watch TV are like hipsters who say if you complain about hipsters you are one.

>Not watching TV doesn't make you special.

Oh yeah it does. Don't own a TV and you're a one-percenter. Subtract a car from the equation, and you're Warren Buffet, or maybe Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

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