Video Revolutions - On the History of a Medium

Author(s): Michael Z. Newman

film studies

Since the days of early television, video has been an indispensable part of culture, society, and moving-image media industries. Over the decades, it has been an avant-garde artistic medium, a high-tech consumer gadget, a format for watching movies at home, a force for democracy, and the ultimate, ubiquitous means of documenting reality. In the twenty-first century, video is the name we give all kinds of moving images. We know it as an adaptable medium that bridges analog and digital, amateur and professional, broadcasting and recording, television and cinema, art and commercial culture, and old media and new digital networks. In this history, Michael Z. Newman casts video as a medium of shifting value and legitimacy in relation to other media and technologies, particularly film and television. Video has been imagined as more or less authentic or artistic than movies or television, as more or less democratic and participatory, as more or less capable of capturing the real. Techno-utopian rhetoric has repeatedly represented video as a revolutionary medium, promising to solve the problems of the past and the present -- often the very problems associated with television and the society shaped by it -- and to deliver a better future. Video has also been seen more negatively, particularly as a threat to movies and their culture. This study considers video as an object of these hopes and fears and builds an approach to thinking about the concept of the medium in terms of cultural status.


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Video Revolutions is a stimulating and satisfying intellectual tour and argument, chiefly for Newman's ability to encompass often disparate case studies within a single historical lens. -- William Boddy, Baruch College, CUNY Michael Newman has carved out a fascinating intellectual space between television and cinema as they are traditionally understood, to illuminate both as well as to explore the new ground that the concept of 'video' established in the media imaginary. This is a concise and impressive work that should be on the reading list of all scholars of media and contemporary culture. -- Michele Hilmes, University of Wisconsin-Madison Newman does for video what Lynn Spigel did for television: he 'makes room' for it in an accessible and compelling critique that shows how video has become an integral part of our lives. Video Revolutions is a book that is long overdue. -- Michael Curtin, co-author, The American Television Industry

Michael Z. Newman is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee. He is the author of Indie: An American Film Culture and coauthor of Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status.

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Three Phases2. Video as Television3. Video as Alternative 4. Video as the Moving Image5. Medium and Cultural StatusNotesSelect BibliographyIndex

General Fields

  • : 9780231169516
  • : Columbia University Press
  • : Columbia University Press
  • : February 2014
  • : March 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Michael Z. Newman
  • : Paperback
  • : 160