Wednesday, August 29, 2012

response to Man with a Movie Camera reading

Vertov's 'Man with a Movie Camera' has been classified as the first real experimental film. These days experimental film is everywhere, you can find it on youtube and in museums alike. Back in the early 1900's when Vertov was working and filming, there was not the convenience of televisions in every home, there was not the convience of a hand held video recorder. There were a limited number of video cameras and you had to know somebody special to get one. When a new digital product comes out, this is the time when experimenting can be the most productive and interesting. Before 'Man with a Movie Camera' many people had not seen moving film before, or at least to not this extent. Vertov took experimenting to a whole new level. Not only did he use different perspectives but he used motion to his advantage.

As the article said: the camera had the ability to "go beyond simple human navigation through physical space". People saw everyday the workers leaving the factory and drove in cars, but they had never seen it in motion on a screen before. Furthermore Vertov used up and slowed down the film, film makers today still do the same thing. Our world is still obsessed with slow motion and the ability to speed up time. Every weather website you go to has time lapse or a sped up radar screen showing you the path of a storm. It is amazing how many film techniques we take for granted these days, when actually they started with Vertov and other experimental film makers. The extreme adventure cameras that all the big time x games athletes have these days come from the idea of filming from a moving car and then think of Vertov's shot from a roof. This modern day comparison is Google earth and google street view, and look at how many people are still fascinates with that 90 years after Vertov's idea to film from a roof.

He took the normal and pushed it further. Made people look at the world differently, through the eyes of a film camera. his imagery was not "an inferier representation of our reality but a realistic representation of a different reality". This quote from the text reminds me of Rodchenko's 1925 image of a man climbing up a ladder. This was a common scene, but what as a different reality was the point of view. The image was taken from underneath rather then belly button level. Vertov and Rodchenko both pushed he limits of their medium in order to create the normal everyday scenes look extraordinary  and an alternate reality.