Friday, December 21, 2007

Media Critique

Mike Jones over at Digital Basin provides a critique of the Manifesto on video journalism posted a while ago.

He makes some salient points, and provides, within the quality of his assessment, his own ideas as well.

He writes:
In particular i find myself grappling loudly the notion that the media producer is Not just Editor and Camera operator but that their toolset and creative options are much wider than that - motion graphics, design, interactivity, on-line construction.

But I also see a flaw here with an element of David's manifesto. In making a significant point about the role technology plays in empowering the independence and flexibility of the VJ he specially singles out Point 17 as "My (meaning YOU as a VJ) software includes: Final Cut Studio, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, In design, After Effects and Flash".

That's what we do. GREAT!

A critique saying what's wrong and offering a solution should be entertained, even if the author ( ie me, perhaps you) disagrees.

No one knows anything that is too much.

Solution solving
In the middle of a shoot with a crew or a project, when things unexpectedly go wrong, those that know me, will recall my penchant for saying:

"It's about solutions, not problems".

David: "OK stop for a moment, we know what the problem is, lets get over that and come back to the "why" later, but meanwhile how do we fix this? What is the solution and our options? "

So Mike's own intervention moves the dialogue along: the critic offering nothing is like the howl of the wind, the critic finding time to offer up solutions is like the howl of a wind bearing drops of rain proclaiming it's about to rain buddy so go grab an umbrella.

I gave reasons for the contentious (17), so why not hop over to Mike's blog and if I'm not being too presumptious, if you're not already one of his, click his RSS.

Meanwhile in conclusion to the thread on problems and solutions, a thought on this process, often besieging managers.

Part of our own traits within this behavioural pattern (Sol vs Prob) can often be our worse enemies.

We expend so much energy on a blame culture, as opposed to a particpatory one; one that's buit on meism rather what collectively we might achieve that, it's any wonder we can move ahead at all.

That doesn't mean giving the crown jewels away, so yes you can still monetise, but at the same time give ownership.

We do it many times in different guises: the boss hates all your ideas, so you find a route to place the idea with your boss convincing him/her this money spinner was their idea.

In journalism the "me and them" that still festers bares it soul around an age old pattern: Older people are wiser, those with years of experience know better and you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

If 2006/7 was the period of touchy feely, one suspects 2008 will show some interesting paradigms.

The critique quotient may well rise.

Broad shoulders anyone?


Cliff said...

I have had the opportunity to correspond with Mike off and one over the past few months and he provided me with new insights into the NEW way of editing video content. That's why I have become a an advocate for using Windows XP Pro and SONY's Vegas Pro for editing video and audio content.

I agree with Robb Montgomery's assessment that this profession is about the technique, not the technology. But the many Solo Video Journalists out there absolutely convinced they have to spend gobs of money on upper end cameras and Apple hardware seems to contradict this credo.

There are the detractors who would say I've somehow not seen the light about my platform of choice, but I have experienced both (even going so far as using Linux to see if this could be pushed even further), and have chosen my platform and apps out of practicality - and necessity.

Using Vegas Pro on a properly configured Windows XP based machine, I can edit video and audio plus do a fair amount of motion graphics work within Vegas Pro only - that's a pretty powerful application to be able to accomplish all that without ever leaving the one timeline. True Vegas Pro is no After Effects, but how many Solo VJ's can truly say they need the advanced compositing capabilities provided in After Effects for the work they shoot and edit? I bet not all that many when all is said and done.

The topic of web design and static graphics - I'd say is pretty much on the mark - DW and PS are defacto standards that I use a fair amount (although I have used Adobe GoLive in place of DW due to the intuitive interface that is more desktop publishing in its methodology).

Flash is a creature all to its own - I have yet to find the time and patience to learn an application so totally unintuitive in it's operation. To be honest - there are only so many hours in a day, and Flash is one of those apps I feel the LEAST compelled to learn. Too bad Adobe hasn't resurrected it's LiveMotion application with the advanced features of Flash but utilizing the similar timeline based interface of After Effects.

It's true that the bottom line is about using what you're comfortable with. I was an Adobe Video Collection Suite Professional version user up until about 4 months ago. Mike encouraged me to see things differently in my approach to doing post work - and I haven't looked back since that time.

Freelancers have to foot the bill for their gear - if I or any other VJ can accomplish the same with less - both in number of apps and cost, doesn't this makes sense to go this route?

I'll be posting this response on Mike's Blog as well ;-)

Cliff Etzel - Solo Video Journalist

Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...

I posted a response to an earlier query of yours on Flash today.

I'll be looking at the vegas pro - can't critique something you've never tried eh!

Point is, sooo different from days gone by, that the more skilled you are the more enhanced the choices are, and hopefully as the days/years lengthen being multiskilled will not be frowned upon.

It will be widely encouraged. :)

Cliff said...

Hope I didn't ruffle the feathers mate!

Guess after my long winded tirade, I realized it could be construed as such - Sorry about that.

One of these days, I should TRY and look into Flash - with everything else going on, well, this bloke has more than enough on his proverbial plate to keep him busy for quite awhile.. ;-)

Cliff Etzel - Solo Video Journalist

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your comments David. I actually think you've hit upon
something really crucial here that goes to the heart of of the VJ and a new
conceptual paradigm for what journalism and the Journalist is in the context of
the 'Author'.

As with so much of post-modern, Web 2.0 culture, we have moved beyond the very
entrenched notion of the 'Author' as singular 'Authority'.
Traditionally the notion of the Author (be it written, cinematic or oral) is
based on the idea of one person as an authoritarian source of a singular
perspective - a source with a complete body of knowledge in a specific arena
compiling a story with finite parameters; the 'work' as Complete and
Whole. But we now have a very different engagement with the Author and the
Authored work...

This new world order, embodied in blogs, wikis and re-mix culture and
open-source, has as a central pillar in the idea that a Work, a Story, is NEVER
complete; that everything Authored is simply an Asset for further Authoring - a
building block to build and expand and extrapolate and re-interpret and remix

Just as I have built upon you're manifesto to broaden and refine a
particular part, so to is this a concept and a process that I think that the VJ
movement needs to embrace. Seeing their work, the stories they tell, the ideas
the communicate as not an 'end' unto themselves but as part of a
continuum of reporting, a proactive participation in a complex narrative that
extends both before and behind the story at hand.

In specific and less ephemeral terms these ideas can be accessed in tangible
ways through Creative Commons, the utilisation of Open-Source standards and the
letting go of industrial-age notions of ownership and Copyright. Just as a free
and open media is a necessity for a social democracy so to do VJ's of the
digital age need to both embrace and embody an open exchange of content, ideas
and stories. The role of the VJ should be as much about providing
'assets' for further building as it is about delivering
'stories' themselves.

Rather than rant on anymore there's a podcast here from a lecture i gave
in 2006 which explores some of these issues related to co-creation processes
which i think are particularly relevant to the VJ movement.

Part 1 -
Part 2 -

I Love the video 'visual 60'' manifesto. Superb stuff and
I'll be blogging it here very soon.

Many thanks for stopping by David and be assured I'll be an avid devotee
to Viewmagazine and writing about here very often.



Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...

the bit that's going to make me choke on my beer is when you post me one day and say.. I've just completed my first flash production.....
all's well Cliff :)

Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...

Inspiring stuff Mike.

I'll have to blog this seperately, but the Aristolean nature of the construct and authorship had me nodding furiously - sort of six degrees of seperation.

And just as Goga gives axis to your point of reference, the trajectory thereof you build so well, my muse is the painter Luca Giordano, a Neapolitan painter, who defines for me multimedia in a fairly non-stoic contextual way.

The gene of our futures lays in the past, those Masters.


I'm tagging your site; nice to make your acqaintance

Anonymous said...

Likewise David.
Your site is a joyous pig pen of great ideas. I'm sure you'll see much more of me around here. I loved the trailer for 'what is multimedia' and made it the topic of my first post for the upcoming new year.

A pleasure to swap pixel-based characters with you. :0