Language Matters: “Filming”

Language matters. I am working on my first Master lesson on the modern history of capturing and editing. For most younger millennials who have grown up on YouTube (of said platform once owned the tagline: Broadcast Yourself, with a logo more resemblance of a TV screen; many of the “influencers” are doing things without the traditional camcorders, but digital cameras, with 24 frames per second, and slow shutter like film.

I DO NOT like the word “filming” and I also I advocate for “taping” and “shooting”. Why?

Because film has a lot of negatives. This includes but not limited to the actual technology, the methodology, etc.

  • It has an amateur or nefarious undertone. I live in New Hampshire, and while there is a man named Ken Burns that lives somewhere else I can’t tell from my own state map; it’s not the reality. Outside of unsaid area, a lot of people are VERY uncomfortable about cameras that don’t have “WMUR” on it. The first week I had got my Vixia G21, someone really got scared in downtown Manchester who threatened me from 500 feet away if I had had the individual shot their lawyer would come after me.  This is because there is a sense of violations of privacy, even if you’re in a public place, or right of way (Manchester and where me and my camera was exactly that.) Believe it or not, NH is a litigious state. I don’t get why a “free state” has so many lawyers… makes no sense
  • Your capturing drama, not reality. ENG or EFP video is intended to capture something real life in real time. If you’re in newsgathering; in front or behind, you have to be very sure you are not engineering a story, film has been connected to Hollywood since the inception of moving picture
  • Your Ego is Out of Means. Filmmakers are really arrogant and a bunch of showoffs. If you acquire a $1,000 camera, the next type of camera of that value will likely be an entry level Arri or an ENG micro sized camera. The cinema grade goes up to tens of thousands of dollars, not pennys. Also to note, that it isn’t the camera that’s expensive; it’s the lights, its the mounting rigs, it’s the additional hardware that adds up, and you’re likely having to support a crew, and you’re well over $100,000, where’s one ENG camera, a built in hot shoe light, and wired ENG microphone on resale could be less than $10,000. In today’s world of one man bands, it’s more psychologically economical to think of a newsie and not a poor mans’ George Lucas
  • Film could never go live: We aren’t going to dumb you down but in the advent of digital video, the lines between video and film have blurred and there is no standards of quality since then, something I literally feared when SD became HD, and tapes went to file-based-workflows. I guess in 2022, you could take an Arri and tie it through and SDI drop on the live truck, but you’re live, you’re not going to do this Hollywood, or amateur style, you want to be professional.
  • Local News theoretically less managerial control in post. There is no such thing as a “director” unless you’re doing a live event. There is a team effort, but your boss in the edit room is next to you. You’re looking at all the content, logging, making notes and stuff. Film is allowing some low-level worker do your dirty laundry, while the film editor is crafting a super-inflated ego of telling “a story”. Hell 9/11 was the story that spoke for itself. It couldn’t been filmed, the ENG technology told the story, no one else but your’s truly will stand up to the facts!

As finish my work for the Master lesson on filming to videotape, I like film snobs like video, I think there’s less people like me, but I am a nerd to local media as you can get, I am very opinionated, but I do not let my personal biases distort the fact that, TV was live, and film was recorded, and film became videotape, and videotape was for TV, and when things went digital, things were shot on tape, and some elements were consumer grade, some were broadcast, and things went to non linear for the masses has not even been north of a decade. It was then , editors were introduced to file-based-workflows.

My lesson, is to make you, a technical amateur into a professional, by thinking like a radio person who understands some technical stuff, but be a traditional broadcaster by capturing the stories as realistic as you see it and then edit the stories that have a fair level of substance and stimuli. The technology allows you today to be a professional at a cheaper cost than trying to do film. Why do something that is so fake and resource intensive, when a tried and true technology for more than 45 years has worked and is the best method?

For the love of ENG technology,


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