Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Blog posting written by Ann Michel and Phil Wilde, coprincipals of Insights International (Ithaca and New York City)
Is it ever possible to shoot without changing the behaviors of the people in front of the camara?
When we make a documentary, we claim to give our viewers an accurate, inside look at a part of the world. When people agree to be on camera and share their time and views, how much are they using us to get their message and agenda out? How much are they acting? What has now changed?
We were working on a show about children. We knew they liked to put on music, dress up and dance. But they were much too shy to let us shoot this. So the only thing to do was to set up the camera, turn it on, and then leave the room.
The result was hilarious. Slowly, they ran up to the lens, made a face, and then ran away. Soon, they were rollicking around, pushing each other out of the front.
Of course they were playing to the camera. But this was something they did on their own, and we wanted to show this part of their lives.
They danced because we asked them to. What would this have looked like if we weren't there at all? That answer is something we can never know.
We had set up our camera. We had changed things.