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There’s No Place Like Home Video

James M. Moran
Volume: 12
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    There’s No Place Like Home Video
    Book Description:

    In There’s No Place Like Home Video, James Moran offers a history of amateur home video, exploring its technological and ideological predecessors, the development of event videography, and home video’s symbiotic relationship with television and film. He also investigates the broader field of video, taking on the question of medium specificity: the attempt to define its unique identity, to capture what constitutes its pure practice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9280-4
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Medium Theory, Home Video, and Other Specifications
    (pp. xi-xxiv)

    When, in 1957 , André Bazin first posed the question “ What is Cinema?” his self-conscious inquiry into the specificity of the medium epitomized the fundamental discourse of several generations of classical film theory from Hugo Münsterberg to Christian Metz. Of course, as cinema evolved from its humble beginnings as a peep show curiosity into a commercial institution with mass appeal, individual theorists posed Bazin’s question from perspectives inflected by their own aesthetic preferences and the historical moment at which the invention of certain technologies constituted cinema’s “basic apparatus.” Inevitably, therefore, debates over cinema’s “proper” constitution raged from decade to...

  5. 1 What Is Video? Mapping Out Models of Medium Specificity
    (pp. 1-32)

    Defining the medium of video has historically been a perplexing project. Written primarily as the evolution of its technology and artifacts, video’s history over the last thirty years has been distinguished by rapidly accelerating change. Since the introduction of the Sony Portapak in the 1960s, transformations of the video apparatus, such as the addition of color, highresolution monitors, and on-line digital editing, have been inextricably allied with transformations of its aesthetic effects. In constructing this history, a crucial dilemma arises: what should we emphasize—technology or aesthetics? Or to pose the question from an alternative perspective, should either of them...

  6. 2 From Reel Families to Families We Choose: Video in the Home Mode
    (pp. 33-63)

    During the mid-1980s, at the moment when amateur cinema had emerged within media studies as a field worthy of critical analysis and Super-8 filmmaking had spawned a lucrative trade magazine industry, academics and journalists invested in home movies soon bewailed the rapid diffusion of video technologies, which had virtually supplanted celluloid within a decade as the dominant amateur motion picture medium.¹ Even video enthusiasts tended to look back fondly on Super-8 with a resigned sense of nostalgia:

    In the home video market, film has also fallen on hard times. The video camcorder has totally replaced the super eight movie camera...

  7. 3 Modes of Distinction: The Home Mode, the Avant-Garde, and Event Videography
    (pp. 64-96)

    By the end of the twentieth century, American families had paid specialevent videographers more than a billion dollars to record their rites of passage: births, bar mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, retirement parties—even deaths. Economic forecasts predict revenues will continue to grow indefinitely, suggesting that a novice practice formerly smiled upon as a passing fad now commands serious attention as an important business trend.¹ A local cottage trade during the 1980s, event videography has expanded into a national network of professional associations led by pioneering figures, whose high expectations for increasing financial profit and cultural esteem extend well into the new...

  8. 4 Family Resemblances: The Home Mode as Chronotope
    (pp. 97-162)

    Video and television inhabit “relative” relations. Like fraternal twins who look alike but are not identical, one medium frequently is taken for the other. Residing side by side in domestic space and borrowing each other’s technological garb, video and TV share so many likenesses that we recognize them as sibling media. Particularly at home, where they have been adopted to portray everyday life in amateur productions and network programming, video and television mediate, and are themselves mediated by, notions of family: while we use these media audiovisually to represent family relations to ourselves, we also use family relations discursively to...

  9. 5 The Video-in-the-Text: A Phenomenology and Narratology of Hybrid Spectatorship
    (pp. 163-204)

    In 1987, at the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and Video, Wim Wenders startled the cinema community with a self-effacing gesture: acknowledging a new generation of talented filmmakers, he turned over his prize forWings of Desire(1987) toFamily Viewing(1987), by hitherto unknown Atom Egoyan. As if by rite of passage, Wenders, a master director who had habitually interrogated the effects of manufactured images on identity through film and photography, appeared to be making way for novice Egoyan, who had just begun to explore many of the same themes, but through the emerging medium of video. Interestingly...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 205-218)
  11. Index
    (pp. 219-226)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 227-227)