Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rouchean Methodology

"The editor is the second spectator—the person who sees what's in the image. I saw everything around it. That's very important, and it's why, I think, you can't edit your own film. If you edit your own film you're aware of everything outside the frame. Whereas, the editor sees only what's on the screen." - Jean Rouch

After watching Jaguar and reading several papers on Jean Rouch and his methodology (opposition to film crews, the use of a 16 to 25mm lens to capture the similar experience of the human eye, and the distraction of theatrical music for instance), I have since become a Rouchean follower. His film practices were natural for me to adopt because he called for intimate interaction with objects and people situated in the viewfinder and independence from large film crews. My personality fit perfectly since I prefer to work solo in composing and situating the environment around me. My solo work allowed for intimacy between persons in front of the camera and myself, rather than MacDougall's direct observation. Additionally, the Flip cam, which was issued to me in my first visual ethnography, resembled a feature that Rouch advocated, such as insignificant zooming capabilities that force the filmmaker to move about with the camera as if it is an extension of the human eye. However, it wasn't until recently that I understood the chief reason for his methodology, especially concerning editing.

The quote at the beginning of this post states the need for a second set of eyes and ears to evaluate the footage. The filmmaker's knowledge of what happened outside of the frame can create problems that would be unrecognizable to him or herself. The goal is to have a second set of eyes to evaluate what is happening in the frame. In a way the editors become a reflection of the audience. The audience was not present during the footage and neither were the editors, so it only makes sense to allow someone else to edit your film so it can be understood within the context of what is happening within the frame. With this revelation, I most likely attempt to have someone else edit my footage of Racial Dynamics on the Towson University Campus. I will still be right beside him or her to make sure my intentions are correctly portrayed, but the fresh set of eyes will allow for a connection with the intended audience.

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