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A Video Essay About Podcasting

For most of my life Documentaries were either shot on film or on something called “DV Tape”, which gave documentaries a very flat and realistic look. When 2004’s Metallica Documentary “Some Kind of Monster” gets released on Blu-Ray, one may buy it and wonder, wait a minute, there’s no improvement… It’s still in standard definition, and it’s still in full-screen. Unfortunately, it was shot that way. In fact many shoestring budget films were filmed on DV, and they’ll never look any better than their original DVD releases.

Of course all that changed about 10 years ago with the release of the semi-pro digital camera, the Canon 5D. Initially made for news photographers in a hurry, with a thrown-in HD video function to boot, Canon wasn’t too happy when people were using their cameras to make professional-looking commercial video with a camera that only cost $2500. Some of these videos caught on, and now the Canon 5D series is the go-to camera for filmmakers on a budget. Even full-length independent movies have picked it up as a camera opting for it rather than the expensive Arris or Reds, and shows such as House and big-budget movies such as Iron Man 2 have used them on occasion. However, the number one thing this new line of Digital Cameras are used for are Documentaries.

When DV tape gave you a flat look, film always gave you a better, warmer look, but film is expensive, and DSLRs (like the Canon 5d) give you that “digital” look. That digital look accentuates the blue hues when film and tape accentuated the reds. That look is sharp but lacks the color range of film… When underexposed it now looks pixelated rather than grainy; and it blows out much easier than film did, so exposure is far more sensitive when film gave you more range. The most obvious change in the look of documentaries, however, has been the use of the Telephoto lens, and especially the wonderful macro-photography that’s more easily achieved with one of these DSLR’s. This has created the new Documentary style that features a lot of little things in close ups cast in pretty lighting. Watch enough of these, you’ll see it.

The video below was a project for my Cinematography II class. It was to be a video essay. I figured I’d try my hand at this new documentary style, and do a little video about podcasting. Enjoy.

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