While formerly a strong opponent of seeing films on video (an opposition
that arose in the days of VHS tapes and CRT displays; see my 1985 article
on this at http://www.fredcamper.com/Film/Video.html , which I think still
makes relevant points about film), I now agree with Aaron and others that
"video" is not any one format. The difference between different video
formats can be wider than, say, the difference between 35mm and super-8.
And some formats come much closer to the effects of film projection than
many would have thought possible. Pip's "film fundamentalism" now reads
strangely to me, almost as if he is arguing more from theory than from the
actual viewing experience, even though I assume the latter, that he is
arguing based on his own perceptions.
But here's a thought: perhaps the differences between film and whatever
video format you want to consider vary hugely from one viewer to another.
I would certainly respect any filmmaker who has viewed and tried various
video formats and feels they simply cannot produce the effects she wants,
and, of course, vice versa. Peter Kubelka feels that video is not film,
but also, that recorded music is not music. He has classical music
training and has been a performing musician much of his life. I am not
going tell him that he should listen to more CDs. At the same time, a good
performance on LP or CD is more "musical" to me than a bad performance in
concert, and I've heard more than my fair share of those -- including more
than one attended with Kubelka, who didn't like them either.
I have certainly seen films that could have just as easily been videos
without losing much, and videos that likewise could just have easily been
filmed, and even though my bias is toward art works that you the specifics
of their media, surely some works that are less "medium-specific" are also
Perhaps there is no one answer for all viewers.
I would, however, urge everyone to be flexible, and to consider as
open-mindedly as possible the possibilities of new formats as they come
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