the word is out: experimental film is available for use on dvd by educators

From: jarrod whaley. (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Mar 02 2006 - 17:33:05 PST

quote: "I agree. And I think the situation is even more grave than this. Many are willing to sacrifice their CD quality sound for the convenience of MP3s! That is a shift in quality less subtle and yet a leap that the general populace seems to make rather easily."

The difference in quality between a CD and an MP3 is completely unnoticeable to the vast majority of the population. And even if the difference is noticed, the "noticer" probably couldn't care less about the difference anyway (especially if, as is the situation with experimental film, the digital reproduction is the only reproduction that's even anywhere close to marginally available).

What's more important? The work, or the technical side of how it's presented? I realize many FW'ers might consider the two to be inseparable, but John Q. Public DOESN'T CARE about the differences between MP3 and CD audio, or HD and film. The majority of viewers want to see the WORK. The technical stuff is for A/V geeks. Yes, film is superior. But video makes work ACCESSIBLE to a large audience. Video is not evil. If you want to watch film prints, more power to you. But if everyone else is perfectly content watching a DVD, then let them do so and quit whining.

Brakhage's films look better on film, no one is arguing that. But no amount of hand-wringing is going to change the fact that only a very few of us care about the difference. What's more, once a work is "out there" in the world, and out of a filmmaker's hands, there's nothing stopping anyone from doing whatever they want with it. Of course a film artist prefers that viewers watch projections of film prints. Wise artists realize that audiences for such projections are harder to come by than audiences for video are. Artists have every right to disallow video transfers of their work, of course. But in the process, they show themselves to be more interested in technical craft than in artistry.

I'm so tired of this issue and the way it seems to be the perennial topic of debate on this list. Video is here to stay. It's not going away. Get over it.

Let's talk about something more interesting, for a change. Experimental film seemingly becomes more and more culturally irrelevant with each passing day. In light of the extent to which the members of this list are out of touch with the basic reality that video is a cultural force to be reckoned with (and one that is not all bad, besides), it's not hard to understand the aforementioned growing irrelevance. If video is beginning to replace film, we motion picture artists have to find a way to use the new medium and its inherent properties to aesthetic advantage, or we're nothing more than a pack of self-righteous, reductive luddites.

-->jarrod whaley.
filmmaker. videographer.
web designer. educator.

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