[Frameworks] Film/Video & Brakhage [Was: Letter to other Filmmaker Artists]

From: Fred Camper (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jul 23 2010 - 09:08:18 PDT

I agree with Pip's comments to Matt, and would like to make two
additional points.

First, even if the definition of a video transfer and the video
display had resolutions as high as film, video light is just not the
same as film light, no matter what kind of display you use.

Second, writing that "Brakhage could have made a film like 'Black Ice'
on Video" is rather beside the point. Because of the way Brakhage
worked, I think that he just would *not* have made "a film like 'Black
Ice'" on video. Like many of the greatest filmmakers, it's not the
case that Brakhage simply had images in his head that he then tried to
"realize" on film. He worked out of a deep engagement with his
materials, and the materials he used had a huge influence on his
working process and on the final result. "Mothlight" is a great, if
rather obvious, early example. This is a version of the older "truth
to materials" approach of the Bauhaus, actually, but with Brakhage's
particular poetics added. So even if he "could" have made a film like
"Black Ice" on video, he would not have.

Similarly, most of my favorite works of video art would never have
been made on film. They are made out of a deep engagement with the
particular qualities of video.

There seems to me an unstated undercurrent to many of these film/video
posts, a hidden "film is better" or "video is better" agenda,
depending on the poster's views. I don't agree with either of these
positions. Each is a unique medium with its own qualities, and then,
even within them, there are differences: super-8 is quite a bit
different from 35mm, and low-definition video viewed on a CRT screen
quite a bit different from high-def on a DLP projector.

Fred Camper

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