TEF Expert Seminar: Symposium on the Sponsored Film, from Celluloid to Magnetic Tape to Bits and Bytes

Event Date: 
Thu, 02/12/2010 - 10:00 to 18:00
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
External Website Address: 

On Thursday 2 December 2010 the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in collaboration with the VU University Amsterdam is organising a symposium about the changes in the production of sponsored films from celluloid to video and later to digital.

The introduction of video in the audiovisual sector in the 1970’s resulted not only in the birth of a new medium but it was also the start of a challenge with regard to the creative skills of the film-makers concerned. Many units that were making films in commission were forced to switch to video. On the one hand because the commissioning bodies demanded this, on the other because it enabled them to provide a product that was cheaper and/or could be put to more effective use. There was however considerable resistance against the new medium. Film-makers were concerned about its quality: compared to film the image quality of video was poor, not to mention the limitations with regard to editing. Another concern was the lack of standardisation, with different systems being introduced and disappearing in quick succession.

How has the arrival of video changed the production process of sponsored films? Was it the film-maker using video for his/her own artistic endeavours? Or the other way around was it video that determined his/her creative developments? The same questions can be asked about the audiovisual production in the current digital age.

At a time when magnetic tape is no longer in use in the audiovisual industry and a legacy is therefore in danger of literally turning into dust, there is a clear need to re-examine the impact of the arrival of video. Whereas a considerable amount of literature on video art has been published, the consequences for the sector of the audiovisual industry that mattered most in output and turnover have largely been neglected. Elaborating on the pioneering work done by Siegfried Zielinski (Zur Geschichte des Videorecorders, 1986) and Roy Armes (On Video, 1988), the symposium will look at this field of research from a number of angles. Plenty of audiovisual extracts will be screened.

With contributions from: Brian Winston (University of Lincoln), William Uricchio (MIT, University of Utrecht), Rudmer Canjels, Bert Hogenkamp and Wilbert Schreurs (VU University Amsterdam), Floris Paalman (University of Amsterdam), and others.

This symposium is one of the activities undertaken as part of the Sound and Vision Professorial Chair at the VU University Amsterdam, sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. The research into the impact of the arrival of video for the sponsored film is being carried out as part of the HERA-sponsored project ‘Technology, Exchange and Flow: Artistic Media Practices & Commercial Application’.