Making light of the artistThe Lumiere Manifesto expounds on a vision of online media that emphasizes authenticity of experience, for creator and consumer alike. Its tenets are based on the characteristics of early film, e.g. brevity and lack of editing. For the authors, these qualities enhance the integrity of the experience, and stand in stark contrast to most contemporary video, especially broadcast and cinema.
In an effort to promote their ideals, the authors "curate" an online video gallery whose content must meet prescribed guidelines that approximate the limitations of early film:
- 60 seconds max.
- Fixed camera
- No audio
- No zoom
- No edit
- No effects
Having read the manifesto and viewed some of the submissions, I recognize the power of the restrictions they've devised to facilitate aesthetically and conceptually appealing pieces. However, I find a contradiction in terms in ruling out both editing and audio. Sound recording is usually enabled by default in contemporary video recording devices, so I suspect that for at least some of the submissions, audio was edited out. Clearly this is a trangression of the manifesto's ideals. Even in cases in which audio was never present, the creator must have taken extra measures to disable audio recording. I see this is a form of on camera editing, and an impediment to spontanaiety.
Deciding to record something is choosing not to record something else, and is thus already an editorial decision. Post-production editing is merely an extension of that process. Editing allows the artist to distill content to correspond with his or her experience of the moment. The exponents of Lumiere Video ignore the merit of artistic vision on the grounds that it limits the free choice of the viewer. I argue that the medium, by virtue of its bandwidth limitations, requires editorial vision to restore its degraded content. Our level of trust dictates whether or not we value the artist/editors vision. Sometimes the creators don't merit our trust, but when they do, the experience is more worthwhile than watching purportedly "raw" footage.
Incidentally, the my vlog debut comes close to the requirements of Lumiere video.