The Sony Portapak must have been such a game changer. At the start, when asked “Do you think you could act naturally, with this on”, it’s such an interesting moment. Unlike today, they wouldn’t have had much of an idea with a camera in such intimate space. The only points of reference would be from the existing large media companies and their broadcasts, the closest they could get at the time would’ve be the news coverage of the time. Now the camera was brought right up to the consumer in their own personal circles and the Videofreex definitely saw the capabilities that this device brought.
This was the point, as the Videofreex themselves said, that you could show what was really going on in the streets. The dichotomy between what people saw on T.V vs what was going on (the Vietnam War) could now be bridged. However, when CBS and the Videofreex had a conflict of interest, regarding the death of Fred Hampton, this became an issue again and I feel like it’s been an issue ever since. I thought it was great they they stuck to their principles of having a “political obligation to those people” for CBS to not keep a hold on the tapes that the Videofreex had shot; to the point that they’d go into the CBS building and sneak the tapes out. I believe that having every side (within reasonable bounds, i.e no blind hate) have the ability to get their message out and for there to be avenues to both express and have civil discourse about any given matter.
The Videofreex are a great example of getting the voices of the everyday out over broadcast, if anything is silenced, chances are there’s a skewed perspective somewhere.
However, the operative word here is broadcast; and as they mentioned, funding became an issue and they eventually came to a point where they had no electricity too. Without money or the ability to broadcast, shooting footage does nothing if it goes nowhere. Through having the right people and ingenuity to make do with what they had focused on the drive to shoot and broadcast, the Videofreex really are a great example of grit and determination with innovation coming together both as and with a community to make something happen.
With the advent of multiple and now established streaming site and methods; these days, it takes much much less to get up and running. One thing that remains a constant though, is a sense of community. YouTubers connect with their audience and talk to them, they have names for their fans, they have subreddits, discord channels apart from the YouTube space for them to congregate and strengthen the bonds between all the people involved. Twitch streamers have live chat, people converse to and fro with the people they see on screen and react to them in numerous ways. Social Broadcasting has only grown stronger through this sense of community and connecting people by having the audience through this cyclic system of watching, reacting and responding.
As mentioned in the documentary, there are political, social and artistic outputs of video, but they are not mutually exclusive. There are a multitude of videos in the current political and social climate addressing the issue in their own special way.
A R T I S T I C A L L Y
As an individual going over his thoughts and perspectives
or closer to a Conventional News Show
And the lines between making political statements, social commentary or art are vague which in turn simulates dialogue (though not always civil). Sustainability is always an issue in the world, money needs to exchange hands for the wheels to keep turning. But as they said, the satisfaction of having created something that they truly feel a drive for goes beyond making money and the ability to go live is within reach for most people; a dollar or two could get you an hour in an internet cafe and you can start broadcasting then and there. The technology and methods are changing within the decade, faster and faster, but the aspects, like community are tried and true. As with the Videofreex, hard work, innovation and being ready to go will always lead to something bigger than themselves.