Turning Archive 2006

Videography at the Symposium??

Russ Fairfield
>All of the comments about the recent AAW Symposium have been critical of the video in the demonstration rooms. Many have suggested bigger and better camera equipment, bigger screens, better sound, and experienced camera operators. Is bigger and better video really the way we want to go? Do we really want the AAW to emphasize video theater over the personal demonstration?

It seems to me that the folks at the AAW should be looking at what role they want the video camera to play in the demonstration. Should they be looking for ways to reduce the emphasis on the video by reducing the size of the audience, or should they be looking for ways to increase the capability of the video equipment so they can pack more people into the a larger room??

The video camera was introduced into the demonstration room as an enhancement to the demonstration. It was a way for the audience to see what was happening on the other side of the wood. That was a good thing, even for a small audience. The quality of the camera, the size of the screen, and the skill of its operator were not issues. Most of the time, the camera was set in one position, turned on, and forgotten about unless it was knocked over.

Over time, the video has become a means to pack more people into bigger demonstration rooms. We are now at the point where watching the video screen has replaced watching the demonstrator for most of the audience. Only the people in the first two rows are aware that the demonstrator is there. The rest of the audience is watching the video screen, and for them, the demonstrator might as well not even be in the same room. We are only one step away from having one demonstrator being seen by more than one audience, and the size of each audience being limited only by the size of the screen. In this theater setting, the production of the video, the video equipment, and the size of the screen becomes more important than the demonstrator.

The question for the AAW should be one of whether the emphasis is on more personal demonstrations to a smaller audience, or the production of video theater to a larger group. There is nothing wrong with going in either direction. But, it would appear that we are at the point of having neither.

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