Cultural Studies and Electronic Media: Remediation

Many people consider that in modern world of high technologies traditional film-making is likely to be replaced by a digital one. It would be a significant turn in film-industry. Henry Jenkins defines the concept “remediation” as the representation of one medium in another (Jenkins, 2006). Taking a broader view, remediation means the process when old media is pushed aside by new media, but it also implies that new ways of film-making are actually based on old ones. Painting was once remediated by photography, stage performances were pushed aside by movies. And finally digital movie-making threatens to remediate analog technologies, although new media has borrowed much from earlier kinds of media. The introduction of digital technologies enabled general public to change media content by creating amateur video and distributing fan video, based on world-wide famous movies. This process is sometimes called media convergence. It implies that average citizens have been given access to media production.
It became possible to make films at home with the help of an advanced digital camera with a vast variety of options. Now people are able to create a movie or just record memorable moments of their life. New media gives people an opportunity to choose between witnessing lives of other people on the screen and making their own films at home. Digital cameras and other devices give people a chance to participate in movie-making. Nowadays the market of PC expands on account of digital media, as customers are buying up digital cameras for various purposes.
There is not a shadow of doubt that digital movie is a step forward. What are advantages and disadvantages of this new kind of media in comparison with the traditional one? High quality of picture and sound is probably the most noticeable positive side of digital video. In addition, digital movie-making allows achieving the effect of home cinema. Finally, it is several times more convenient to make a movie-montage, as it became easier to create special effects. The only disadvantage of new media is that not all people possess new equipment capable to show digital video. But this problem is easy to solve, because digital television is our nearest future. Step by step, people upgrate their equipment to keep up with latest technologies. Everyone knows how easy it is to store and copy digital movies. The system of digital cinematograph allows selecting languages, depending on the audience. It gives people an opportunity to watch films in the original. And it is especially beneficial for those, who study foreign languages and want to pick up a couple of useful phrases.
Most people think that home movie-making gradually becomes a new kind of media, which saves time and gives a chance to share your “production” with friends by means of Internet. Everything a person needs to start making a movie is a low-cost camcorder, capture card and a firewire card. The camcorder is needed to transit a movie between a digital camera and a computer. Thus, it completely saves time for editing a movie. The camcorder ensures the high quality of the picture. Some people may doubt that there are not as much opportunities to create fascinating effects, as in professional movie-making. Nonetheless, home film-industry has already accomplished visible success in this sphere. It allows people to include musical recordings, titles or subtitles and narration. There already exist computer programs, which allow users to put recordings in order and create a full-value movie .
In the twenty first century young generations are able to experiment with innovative media technologies. Everyday activities of modern people have drastically changed (Drotner, 2004).
Thus, teenagers are no longer sitting in libraries, helplessly trying to find necessary books. Instead of it, they are able to find information with a single click. Just like electronic resources have replaced printed ones, digital video threatens to replace traditional analog media. Many people, however still claim that there is no threat of such a replacement. New kinds of media simply enrich the variety of old media. Who is right? If to take a broader view, the choice between old and new media depends on age category. Older population still prefers reading printable literature and watching television. Younger generation, however, chooses innovative technologies without hesitation. Younger people are often called multi-media generation, as they prefer to combine different kinds of media in their daily leisure activities.
The question is whether analog video still has chances to survive, or whether it is doomed to be completely superseded by new digital technologies. An analog camera is a fifty-year old solution for people who prefer devices of proven reliability and do not dare to learn how to operate digital gadgets, no matter how convenient they are. Nonetheless, once you start using a digital camera, there will be no need in analog one with less options and lower speed. Installation and maintenance are two basic elements, which should be taken into account when choosing a camera. Digital video is intended for those who are in favor new means of communication, entertainment, high speed and high quality.
In order to understand whether analog movies have chance to survive, it is important to illustrate the differences between analog and digital video. It has to be mentioned that the main drawback of analog systems is short distance of transition. Digital video, however, can be easily sent to distant spots with the help of new computer technologies. For instance, a digital video can be sent from your home to your working place, if you would like to share impressions about your newly created movie with your colleagues. In this way digital systems prove to be hundred times more productive, as they enable users to enjoy such privileges as distant learning and video-conferencing, for example. Moreover, in many cases the installation of analog coaxial cables in every necessary spot requires additional financial expenses. Digital systems, however, allow not only sending video to various locations, but also making personal home-recordings or even movies.
The replacement of old media by new media is still under the discussion. The year of 2004 was marked by a significant event in the promotion of digital technologies. The first movie was transmitted by means of mobile phones. This way of movie distribution marked the temporary victory of digital technologies over analog ones. But hard to believe though it may be, people will choose to watch movies on small cell-phone screens. At least, it is likely to become a way to watch short samples of movies.
Many film producers claim that the upcoming revolution of digital technologies is going to move aside old media. A lot of researchers are trying to clarify the drastic contrasts between old-fashioned means of media and innovated media. Most of them claim that old media will be not merely moved aside, but completely displaced by emerging media, and this process is irreversible. In reality, however, such opinion is groundless and maybe even false.
In fact, the new media has become an essential part of our lives long time ago. It smoothly mixed with existing technologies, without doing visible harm to them. It did not bring noticeable changes into our leisure activities (Jenkins, 2006).
The only considerable change is an opportunity to make movies at home and edit them with the help of computer graphics. Some people consider that non-professional home movie-making is likely to become more fashionable, because people are more interested in commemorating their own lives, than observing the joys and sorrows of other people on the screen. Maybe just like black and white movies were once pushed aside by colour film-productions, professional movies will become less popular, than home-made ones.
Analog 8mm video recorders are obviously becoming old-fashioned, and people, who would not even think of creating their own movies, are actually going to create them (Jenkins, 2007).
Will movie-making remain a true art of professions? Another problem lies in reworking of different professional movies into humorous scenes made by fans that seem to have too much free time. Devoted fans are eager to make a creative contribution into the film-productions of mass culture. Some people are engaged in it for personal purposes, others do it for fun or because they do not want to part with their favorite film-characters. Still others would like to share their emotions with the whole nation via Internet. In this way, the process of remediation also means freedom of movie-making, which originates from opening up the media equipment, such as digital cameras with camcorders, to common people. But we should not forget that movie-making is first of all art, and this art must not be contaminated with amateur productions, made for fun. Non-professional digital movie-making is characterized by a striking variety of approaches and ideas. Amateur movie-making and engagement of general public encourages the incessant development and widening of media content. For obvious reasons home movie-making has become one more leisure activity. Most people nowadays can afford cheap camcorders and other digital devices, which enable them to begin a career of film producers. The powerful imagination gives modern people an opportunity to make creative movies and even documentary films. More and more non-professional movies have been added to the websites. It demonstrates domination over old media and reveals creativity of average people.
On the other hand, the tendency of making amateur video has radically reduced the outlay of professional movie production and its distribution. Nonetheless, it does not seem to have changed our understanding of the art of movie-making. It is doubtful that consumers of new media will be able to reign over traditional medial content.
In conclusion it has to be mentioned that this research is an attempt to put in order and sum up different points of view on the process of media reshapening. The question of whether old media will be completely displaced by new digital technologies is still under discussion. People often say that the process of remediation is a freedom which they have allowed themselves. To sum up, innovative digital technologies give average citizens a vast variety of opportunities to demonstrate their creativity by making movies, fan video and documentary films at home. Remediation has evidently enriched the diversity of everyday leisure activities, no matter how it affects old media. The most considerable advantages of digital technologies are high quality of sound and picture, affordability and simplicity of copying and distribution.


Works Cited
Bolter, J. D., and Grusin, R. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000.
Drotner, Kirsten. Youth Media Cultures: Challenges and Chances for Librarians. Department of Film and Media Studies, University of Copenhagen, 2004. http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla64/130-113e.htm
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture. New York University Press, 2006.
Jenkins, Henry. Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars? Digital Cinema, Media Convergence and Participatory Culture, 2007. http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/starwars.htm

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