Re: video haiku (was 365 v....) plus a plea for video threads

From: 40 Frames (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 24 2007 - 10:04:30 PST

> I imagine it's a very similar evolution to what happened with film,
> when the smaller formats evolved (16mm and super-8) - first it was
> used by professionals (tv, news crews), then in a utilitarian but
> independent way (documentaries, home movies) and finally as a tool
> for creating very personal, intimate art.

This is not the most accurate description of the development of small
formats. First, they (16mm in 1923, 8mm in 1932, and there were of course
other small formats in other parts of the world...9.5, 17.5, 28mm) were
marketed to "amateur" filmmakers for home movie purposes.

Well-to-do and famous people used 16mm to document home life and travel,
eg Man Ray's Kodachrome home movies of the 1930s. A whole gneration of
experiemental filmmakers in the 1930s and 1940s were experimenting with
the format. Bateson/Mead, as I understand it, were a rare exception in
their use of 16mm for ethnographic purposes.

"Professional" applications of 16mm didn't come about until the post world
television market started developing. The Arri St was not introduced until
1952. For the first 30 years of the 16mm format it was widely the domain
of "amateur" makers. 8mm was never used "professionally", and super 8
which was a late comer in 1965 (around the same time that Rune Ericson
began developing super 16) was marketed to the "amateur" as 16mm was

To say that small film formats were first used by "professionals" ignores
the history of these formats. Many people used small format film for
personal and artistic expression before the 1960s, and many people other
than Maya Deren.


Alain LeTourneau
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