Friday, 24 February 2012

Vibe: It's art Jim, but not as we know it

There's a new(ish) gallery in Bermondsey called Vibe and it wants to attract video makers. Vibe has the ambition to create talent forums and ultimately even produce new artistic videos.
I'm not at all convinced that the world needs more artistic videos (in an abstract sense anyway). That may sound like a daft thing for a video maker to say, but stick with me for a while. I'll try to develop the argument.
Videos are essentially ephemeral. Art is eternal, or at least some of it is. Hence (at least to a certain extent) there's a conflict between the two.
The videos I'm interested in have a purpose: they're selling something, describing an event or highlighting an evil. Of course some of them, rather like audio history, should be archived since they capture real characters and tell real tales. But is this art? If it is, it's probably the Star Trek version of art: "It's art Jim, but not as we know it."
I showed my promo video about Blake Fielder Civil (former husband of Amy Winehouse) http://shepherdvideos.blogspot.com/2011/12/getting-close-to-amy-winehouse.html but I didn't feel happy about it. There was some stuff in some of the other videos that was genuinely extremely good. The standard that has to be achieved seems to have been lifted. You just have to be about 10% better than five years years ago in order to be adequate.
I'm currently working on my first reasonably serious video using the Canon 7D and a surprisingly wonderful 50mmm lens. This combination and the latest iteration of the editing suite FCP (issued about three weeks ago) offers stunning possibilities.
But it also imposes limitations. You can't really have a one person 7D camera team in the way you could have a single shooter using a Sony Z1. It's also harder, perhaps even impossible, to shoot stuff as it happens. You really need to set up your shot.
It's not the greatest combination if you want to cover a fast moving news event, like a riot, for example. But the quality is simply stunning. Once you've seen what can be achieved, can you ever go back to the Z1?

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