It’s probably just me, with one foot in the grave and all.

I took a video production class while I was an undergraduate. We did a lot of goofing around and making faux one minute videos that had to have some sort of glimmer of plot. We had a couple sessions of tedious note-taking. Paramount for the class was the learning of how to efficiently handle the camera, framing our actors correctly, and adding grace and smoothness to movements. I now notice that this was a complete waste of time.

I am completely rattled by, pun intended, the need for shows to have these jerky camera shots in order to elevate some sort of sense of reality. For example, Friday Night Lights would be fine if they just used this technique to gear up the adrenaline whilst tossing around the pigskin. But during a dramatic, ‘No, I’m not falling in love with your best friend!’ keep the damn camera still. And focus it for crying out loud.

Is this just me? Because somehow I’m fairly certain when I’m talking to someone my surroundings do not wobble as much. [Now, when on the drink, I will not vouch for that. See tomorrow’s NaDruPoDa.] And even when I’m swiveling my head around for effect during the dramatic moments I conjure up in my life, the picture I see in my head is pretty damn smooth and focused. Maybe it’s just genetics.

Okay, sure. It’s art. Art makes even stupidity shine brilliantly in context I fear, and yes, aesthetic appeal is relative. But if this is what even news is going to become, just put me out of my misery.

I watched a CNN roundtable discussion yesterday with the same strange jerky camera shots, and not only that, but the oddest framing I have ever seen outside of an art house film. It was about how technology like YouTube and Myspace were going to effect journalistic reporting. Given my background, I was pretty interested, but I got so severely distracted by… well, one, the lack of the table in a roundtable discussion, and two, the shots that would focus solely on a reporter’s bangs and left eyebrow, the shots that would last three seconds and then switch to another random non-talking reporter’s hair, shots with just a the blurry backdrop.

This is not hip. This is not nouveau. It’s inefficient. It’s aimed at people like me and if I can’t get behind it without wanted to hose down kids on my front lawn, who the hell is the audience?

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2 Responses to It’s probably just me, with one foot in the grave and all.

  1. J says:

    We could make that a new game. Hosing down kids on a lawn. Now all we need is a decent lawn.

  2. E says:

    Well, the herky jerky camera shots in Friday Night Lights is to be expected, especially for the sports scenes. It also doubles as a fine way to mask any athletic deficiencies. Do you actually think these actors can play realistic-looking football? That shot is a sports movie hallmark.

    As for the dramatic scenes, well, that’s just how it goes. Stand back and watch a commercial sometime and witness how many camera changes there are in a one-minute spot. Also, I remember reading somewhere that the average length of shot in the movie Armageddon was something like three seconds. Can’t have people concentrating for too long on that one.

    Of course, there is always The Blair Witch Project. I only saw it once, and about seven years later I still haven’t erased that mess from my brain.

    It might be weird to see what you did on CNN, but who is going to work during the Christmas/New Year’s week? Interns!

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