We no longer live in a time and place where media is innocent. (wait…have we ever?) When you press record and that red light begins to blink, you objectify the moment- and immediately create friends- and enemies! Where you aim a camera or a microphone is a decision, an opinion- and many a person will take issue with your choice, depending on what you decide to show & how you’re showing it.
About a month ago when I had the opportunity to be on A/V crew for the recent MAPS 2010 Conference. Shooting with three cams in the mainroom of 800+ people, we were responsible for reliably recording all the presenters onstage, from Alex & Allison Grey to Alex ‘Sasha’ Shulgin; both for the projected screens up front & for archival purposes as well. Things were running smoothly as we began filming a packed Friday schedule.
Not long into the conference, however, people began swarming the camera operators & media technicians for access to the footage – not that I blame them (man were there some cooool talks!) After awhile, we got tired of telling all the media inquisitors to go check with our higher-ups for permission! after all, the privacy and security of both the presenters and MAPS as an organization is highly at stake- should any footage be released and used for purposes other than by MAPS-designated productions, opinions start to fly- which can certainly undermine the credibility of a movement dealing with such a (still) volatile set of issues in our stubborn Western culture. The conference certainly showed me the potential positive and negative weight any piece of media can carry- if a clip of video on the news could make or break something, such as a movement or institution or idea, then why isn’t it used that way? Oh, wait a minute….!
So what’s different about the power of media today than 30 years ago? The microchip has collapsed thousands of miles of roads into nanosecond pulses of light over a single strand of glass fiber – in layman’s terms – THE NEWS HAPPENS ALOT QUICKER.
The instantaneous nature of digital audio and video recording (recently dubbed “digital storytelling” by a new client) is now such that a video clip of illegal whaling taken on a boat off the coast of Australia can be beamed to CNN faster than you can say “gigabit wireless,” and an iPhone video taken in downtown Santa Cruz during the riots can make the public news on TV the next morning. Brilliant.
Welcome to digital storytelling in 2010, where you can walk around a party with your iPad while controlling the VJ projections from anywhere in the room…secretly…muahaha.
Is this terrible or great? I think it’s all about application…