A global approach to documentary cinema

A global approach to documentary cinema

The bulk of my work as a research assistant for the Hurford Center’s artist-in-residence, Vicky Funari, is to help her build a portfolio of documentaries from various regions around the world. This is part of an ongoing process for Professor Funari, who hopes to pitch a new class to hopefully begin teaching by the spring of 2018. The focus of the class revolves around the similarities and differences of national cinemas in respect to documentaries. The repository of films and associated readings that I’ve created during the summer is meant to inform Professor’s Funari as to the structure and syllabus of this proposed class. Since the distribution of films has only become more widespread throughout its history, the ideas behind certain cinematic techniques are carried far beyond the national cinema where it is released, prompting filmmakers to adapt and appropriate such techniques when necessary. In addition, film movements that focus primarily on fiction films, such as the French New Wave, can still have immense and noticeable influences on the style and technique of their documentary counterparts. Often times, documentaries can point towards critical aspects of local culture and identity, but beyond that can also inform audiences of the power of globalization, and the dynamic nature of the film medium in general. Springboarding of the heavy connections one can find between films from vastly different regions, I initially made the suggestion that Professor Funari structure the class around thematic similarities between films. I felt it would be more compelling to look into the relationship between films rather than focus on segregating films by geographic origin and contain them within literal...
The importance of digitization amidst technological progress

The importance of digitization amidst technological progress

If your family has made any home movies, chances are they’re stored on something archaic like VCR tapes. Capturing media has progressed at an incredible pace, completely phasing out older methods day by day. Part of my research assistantship under the Hurford Center’s artist-in-residence, Vicky Funari, is to help digitize various videos she’s accumulated throughout her years of work as a filmmaker. Digitizing media is the process by which video and sound on tapes are converted into binary data to be stored and accessed on computers. Vicky aims to have her older work preserved in order to possibly use them in ongoing and future projects. However, different types of video storage formats, i.e. Hi8, DV, 1/4″ audio cassettes, each have their own digitization process. Currently, I’m working with DV tapes, which requires me to log and capture all the shots on the tape before running them through a video editor to start encoding them. The conversion of DV tapes is at a 1:1 ratio, meaning the duration of the media on the tape is equal to how long it will take to digitize. Most of the DV tapes have upwards of 62 minutes of film on them, making the total time to digitize one tape is around 2.5 to 3 hours. Furthermore, because modern software doesn’t have features built in the accommodate older video formats, older software like Final Cut Pro 7 must be used. I’ve been lucky enough to have done a bulk of my video recording on modern and user-friendly formats like SD cards, so my media is easily preserved wherever I go. My work with digitization has shown...