Mobile-Mentaries and why Sir David is a pimp.

This week we looked at the modernisation of documentaries, specifically with the influx of digital media and widespread access to video production technologies.

One of the more sophisticated and high-budget films that we watched a trailer for is Leviathan by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel. The film released in 2012 documents a commercial fishing vessel using unconventional documentary techniques – i.e. it all seems to be filmed on a GoPro and doesn’t feature any narration or talking directed at the camera. You can watch the trailer below: 

Another than we watched, with a much lower budget, is called Max with Ketai and is what the creator calls “(an) experimental work (which) aims at creating a visual language for small screen and mobile devices. A new form of mobile-mentary filmmaking“. You can watch the whole thing on Youtube for free here:

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan. When you contrast traditional (and absolutely GOLD) documentaries like those featuring the man himself – Sir David Attenborough – I just can’t get past the immense contrast. To be fair, I’ve never been one for art house films, so I’m probably not an unbiased judge. I can’t help but feel I would struggle to sit through Leviathan and know for a fact that I limped my way through Max with Ketai.

In any case, this isn’t a film review. What interests me is the deregulation of documentaries, which I guess is a symptom of the globalisation of media. The same can be said about any other type of media which once was only able to be produced by traditional outlets – e.g. news being only distributed by newspapers. My mind just can’t connect the endless snippets of whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-watch readily available on Youtube to the visually dynamic and captivating masterpieces of Sir David. Props to those who are creative enough to make this new era of ‘mobile-mentaries’, they just aren’t doing it for me.

That being said, it’s really not fair to compare anyone to Sir David. I mean, look at him…


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