I have been religiously visiting the site Man’s Guide To Love since a resourceful acquaintance, Breanna Hughes, Tweeted about it. First, it was quite shocking to see such a steadily increasing documentation of love advice given by men. Men of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientation are offering their advice on how to nurture and reproduce love. The MGL team are asking men all over the U.S.A. “If If you had one piece of advice that you’d give another man about love, what would it be?” There are countless self-help books, films, and advice columns on love; the fact that MGL are seeking answers to their universal question through the format of viral video is extremely revealing of the innate qualities that video possess –it is both personal and accessible. These two aspects of video help to create the project’s eidetic quality; the men are generally framed through a tight close-up – visually creating an intimacy – and are speaking directly into the camera, which also creates an intimacy between the speaker and the viewer. What’s a better format to talk about something as intimate as “Love” than video? Not to mention, the videos are quiet brief and act as video snacks; consequently, viewers can view as many as they’d like.

There are a lot of videos (like this one) that are extremely sincere and insightful:

And then there are some that are a tad off putting –but to each his own right?

Although the content and the idea behind MGL is a vital part to its success (in my opinion), the way a video is shot and the tool(s) that are used is just as important. It is apparent that the MGL advice snippets are shot with a Digital SLR*, it has a glossy look and its shallow focus allows the individuals to come to the foreground, creating the intimacy and physical presence previously discussed.  Today, there was a lot of buzz created about the Canon 5D Mark II; the Prime Time TV show [H]ouse (the finale) was filmed entirely using this DSLR. The producing director, Greg Yaitanes, justified this decision to use the DSLR because it gave him “ease of use in tight spaces” (PetaPixel.com). According to Greg Yaitenes, cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark II are the way of the future in production because of their superior usability without having to forfeit HD picture quality.

Is video the way of the future? Are we going to see an increase in viral video as opposed to the written word? Most importantly, what does this mean for future film and TV productions?

*MGL has confirmed that their footage is shot mainly on Canon 5D and Canon 7D.

Flickr Image courtesy of Luna Park.

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5 thoughts on “Is It All In The Tools?

  1. Hi Alina,

    Thanks for the great post! I’m a member of the MGL team and have shot hundreds of videos for the site. Most of the other blog posts about our site have focused solely on content but as you mentioned, our technical approach is important as well. I’ve been shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II and some of the videos are shot with the Canon 7D. As a documentary filmmaker, I love the freedom of this camera and the way the DSLR form is less intimidating for people than a traditional video camera. At least that’s been my experience so far. I have also been using the 5D on a more traditional documentary project and aside from the 12 minute limit for clips, have found it an excellent tool for that type of filmmaking.

    Thanks again,
    Abe Forman-Greenwald

    • My sincerest apologies for replying to you so late. I am very appreciative of you for taking the time to comment on this blog entry. I find the technical aspect of film/ videomaking extremely intriguing and always value input from a professional. I do believe that DSLRs will revolutionize the production process in the long run. With the entire world embracing the digital age and viral videos being at the centre of it, it makes a lot of sense as to why many would choose to use a DSLR –it’s convenient, and “mess” free.

      I wish you the best luck on all your future endeavors –we’ll be watching!

  2. You know, it’s amazing how far video has come in such a short time. Remember those 30 second digital camera shots from ~5 years ago?

    Now even the iPhone shoots 720p. Insane!

    I don’t think it’s a case of ‘video or written word’ though. It’s an ‘and’ – more options for content producers of all sorts.

    • I really like that observation: it’s not the case of OR it’s the case of AND.
      Do you think that overtime one or the other will get weeded out?

  3. Video or the written word? No way. Hundreds or thousands of years from now they might evolve (handwriting/caligraphy –> printing press –> digital), but we’ll always have some kind of need for writing.

    Even if you had tiny earphones that could wirelessly receive signals there would still be times when words and symbols would be more efficient than sound. Look at audiobooks vs printed books.

    Video is gaining steam though, especially on the Internet. It’s just more feasible now, whereas it wasn’t when everybody had dial up connections. A nerdy example would be the case of gaming replays (@HDStarcraft) made possible because of youtube.

    Even in presentations, it’s becoming more common. I’ve seen people do some really cool stuff with video in Keynote that just wasn’t possible even two years ago. I actually wrote a post on this in my blog: http://arturnbull.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/keynote-vs-powerpoint/

    One last example of video/animation becoming more cost-effective is the use of LCD’s at, say, Tim Hortons instead of static advertisements but that still has to be pretty costly (at least initially).

    OK I lied, I thought that was the last example but I’m missing an obvious one: Facetime on the new iPhone.

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