Friday, April 08, 2011

Danfung Dennis' Media Revolution for Film makers and Videojournalists

My Freedom Or Death - Condition ONE Beta from Danfung Dennis on Vimeo.

Award winning Photojournalist Patrick Chauvel in Libya road test's Award winning filmmaker/photojo Danfung's Condition ONE app out mid 2011

He's done it!

The IPad, a portable screen on the cusp of being a haptic device and a 3D viewing technology which yields  a panoramic remmersion vision - touch the screen and you roll the field of view around.

The result is something that fuses game culture in news' paradigm. Danfung Dennis, a photojournalist and now celebrated documentary making with his apocalyptic "Hell and Back Again", has turned the axis of film making quite literally through a revolutionary phase shift.

John T Caldwell, an eminent media scholar coined the phrase "second shift aesthetic" to define an interconnected relationship between offline and online media. If he would allow me to, this constitutes a "phase-shift aesthetic"; 3rd, 4th...

Similarly my thoughts go to "Yellow Bird" a filming revolution, which provides 360 vision.

Revolution in film making
In the early last century French film maker Abel Gance, did something revolutionary in the use of camera mobility. He wanted to make "actors out of the audience", so he found a revolutionary way then to use a boxed camera that you needed to crank to work.

It was the Debrie Parvo, an unwieldy beast that in scenes of his seminal film Napolean, explained by Film Historian Kevin Brownlow, inflects a "being there"perception.

Depending on which generation you are we've come to marvel at immersion/remmersion and the POV. It's what binds the Gaming Industry. It is the revisioning of that gold- at-the-end-of-the-rainbow "reality".

We see it in Avante Garde films, Westerns, Hollywood flicks like, The Lady in the Lake(1947) and more recently in video  Dan Chung's Mongolian Racer (2010). One of my favourites is Point of View a short film by Doug Smith

Being there is part of the quality that the great French philosopher Roland Barthes explained so comprehensively in his Rhetoric of the Image.

Newer Media (Video Journalism) Break throughs
A hundred years on, the scope of media technological advances are to numerous to note, but breakthroughs in miniaturisation, Canon's filmic mode, 3D viewing and the zeitgeist of the tablet in the Ipad are key to what Danfung has now achieved.

Pulling it all together, one prefigures though was no easy task. Often it's a big itch that comes from working in a field long enough to see its flaws and weaknesses.  Just ask Garret Brown, a cinematographer who invented the Brown-Cam, that would be renamed the Steadicam.

The article A New Way to Photograph War on Time Magazine we can be assured will be one of a plethora of pieces. There we learn that celebrated Photojournalist Patrick Chauvel in Libya is road testing Danfung's Condition One, claiming:

"It's not easy to use, you have to watch not to get your shoes in the frame of your shadow or your face... But the result is worth it".

The film maker himself quote here from  Film maker magazine sums up everything:

"This disconnect between the realities on the ground and the perception at home shaped the course of the film ( To Hell and Back). By using advanced technology, I hoped to create a powerful experience that would shake people from their indifference to war"

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Dangfung in a detailed conversation for research I'm conducting as part of a study and for the SouthBank Centre and for a revisit to Apple Store presentation below ( Youtube Link here)

 He mooted the idea, but what's emerged is truly deserving. Having reworked war-doc making, he's now fashioned an app which will have ramifications far beyond Wars film making.

This June I'll be appearing at the Sheffield Doc festival in a panel as follows, where I'll be contributing to a discussion on cinema journalism. I'll also be previewing my latest IMVJ project Tahrir Memento

Moderator: Charlotte Cook

Participants: Tom HappoldDanfung DennisDavid Dunkley GyimahInigo Gilmore



Former BBC and Channel 4 News journalist David Dunkley Gyimah is the recipient of a number of awards in innovative journalism. His worked in the journalism since 1987 and is presently a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster, PhD Candidate at SMARTlab, University College Dublin and Artist in Residence at London's cultural hub, The Southbank Centre.