Vernacular Video


Tom Sherman describes the state of the art:

As video technology spun off from television, the mission was clearly one of complete decentralization. Forty years later, video technology is everywhere. Video is now a medium unto itself, a completely decentralized digital, electronic audio-visual technology of tremendous utility and power. Video gear is portable, increasingly impressive in its performance, and it still packs the wallop of instant replay….

Video in 2007 is not the exclusive medium of technicians or specialists or journalists or artists–it is the peoples' medium. The potential of video as a decentralized communications tool for the masses has been realized, and the twenty-first century will be remembered as the video age.

Whole thing here. It's on Bruce Sterling's blog, and as the essay moves in different directions the host sometimes heckles the author. Usually with good cause.

NEXT: The Buck Stops There (Hillary Clinton on Iraq Edition)

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  1. I love technology. Now if I can just get those Christmas videos from 2002 copied onto the HD and then on to DVD for the grandparents………

  2. Video tech was ubiquitous in the 90s. By as early as 94 most camcorders had limited editing capabilities. This guy would be more accurate in saying that this is the age of digital video, as the age of video is long past and currently celebrated by the en masse landfilling of VHS decks.

  3. He’s right about “cheap and crude.” The cruder the better, it seems, if the success of YouTube is any indication. Hell, I can do cheap and crude. And I like it.

  4. Sherman describes the world of “intentional” video, where “artists” “create” “works.”

    To me the bigger story is the ubiquity of casual video without any creative intent. With cameras everywhere everything is simply getting recorded.

    The breakthrough was arguably the Rodney King video in 1991, where the recording came as a complete surprise. Now we have the other side, where cops responding to a crime scene immediately look around for cameras, and where new automobiles have cameras to show what you’re backing towards.

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