Thursday 21 October 2010

Dishonest Pixels

Warning: here follows a minor philosophical rambling on the use of video filters, following on from one paragraph of what I wrote on Tuesday.

The issue is this: sometimes, you point your camera at something, and the footage ends up looking quite different to what the human eye perceives, simply by nature of the camera.  If you're seeking a verite presentation, then which is the more 'honest' approach in these situations: to leave the footage as is, and claim the moral high ground on the basis that you've left the footage exactly as the camera recorded it, or on the other hand to apply filters to make the video look more like what the human eye would have seen?

An example from my own work: about four years ago, I was making a little promotional video for the art department at my sixth form college, and I ended up filming inside the darkroom, using my camera's night-vision setting.  Of course, if you're in a darkroom, the only light available is a dull red, but the camera's night-vision mode rendered the image in that familiar dodgy shade of green.  The problem was easily fixed in post by applying a colour filter to turn the image from black-and-green to black-and-red again, successfully emulating the way the darkroom looks to the human eye, and rendering the camera's presence somewhat more transparent.

More recently, in the aforementioned Root Hill 2010 footage, I've adjusted the colour curves for all my glow-in-the-dark passball footage, so that the players and ball stand out better from the black background, and once again I think the altered media looks closer to what I was seeing on the field.

But can I still make the same claims to authenticity if I've tampered with the footage in post-production?

I don't pretend to have a definitive answer to this question.  To be entirely honest, I'm not even sure that it matters that much.  It's not as if the darkroom or RH footage will ever be used as evidence in a court of law.  But Vegas just crashed (I need a RAM upgrade), and I thought I'd come on here and have a little ramble while I wait for it to start up again and reload my project.  If I hadn't told you, you'd probably never have known I'd used any filters anyway.

Quick update on the general status of the RH edit (leaving aside the issues of glowball filter ethics): I've now added all of the Box Hill and Concert bits, and made some more progress on the Crawley bowling section.  Which leaves me staring down the wrong end of the Pizza Hut footage.  Those of you who were there will know what I mean by that (remember the Yorkshire Pizza of Death?).  The rest of you should probably... um... yeah.  Let's just say some of the Pizza Hut footage is a bit scary... 8p

- The Colclough


  1. Haha! How much Pizza Hut footage did you end up with in the end?! There must have been loads!
    The Yorkshire Pizza of Death... yeah, I don't think I'm ever going to let Jake choose my pizza again! :)

  2. i don't really know how much Pizza Hut footage i had, but i'd guess around quarter of an hour. obviously, i won't be using all of it...