Categories - Video
I’m not that old, but I do remember sending away movie film to be processed. You’d pop the metal cannister into the prepaid envelope, mail it off, and a few weeks later they’d send you back your movie ready for a little self editing on literal cutting boards.
My brother and I would waste away an afternoon with my parents 8 mm camera pretending we were famous film directors. Steven Spielberg started this way too, but I believe his movies were a ‘little’ better.
Our editing equipment consisted of a small cutting board, a pair of scissors and my parents’ bedroom window. We’d hold the film up to identify what we considered to be ‘the good bits’ (anything with either of us in them), use our fingers to mark the ends, and then cut the film. There was then a process with tiny adhesive ‘joins’ where you’d match up the butt ends of the film and splice them together. It was exciting stuff for 9 and 10 year olds back in the 60’s.
We were equally excited when it came to ‘showtime’, threading the film through the first reel, looping through what seemed like 50 switchbacks before finally affixing the film’s end through the back reel.
We’d draw curtains and invite the family (those that couldn’t escape) in to view our ‘masterpiece’ – which was generally my brother or I dancing, kicking something or pointing dramatically. There was no sound, but who cared? We were famous for an instant, even if it was to a captive audience, our work was the fruit of our labors, something to be proud of, our 5 minutes of fame.
Fast forward 40 years.
The film-making process is somewhat easier. To say the least. Broadcasting to the world is even easier. The equipment can fit in the palm of your hand, the projector no longer exists, replaced by a computer screen and a medium that reaches millions, drawn curtains or not. The effort required to make a movie is infinitesimally smaller, enough so that the act of movie-making for the masses is almost mundane.
So why the reminiscing and fixation with movie making ?
Last week, I was driving down Ventura Blvd, here in Los Angeles, and I saw this sign.
In a world where everyone is a content producer just by having a video-equiped cell phone it’s strange that a service exists to make it an even easier process.
What could they be offering?
Webcam etiquette? Lighting techniques for your lounge? Sound editing for dummies? Script advice for the den? Grips for the garden? Blocking for the bathroom? How to sound cogent with a hangover? How to be cool?
No, I didn’t go in to find out how much cooler they could make my kids’ home videos, but I will dig out my old 8mm blockbusters the next time I’m in the UK.
Steven Spielberg better watch his back.