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Dec. 6n7
Washington Convention Center

The Industry: video and audio technology, broadcasting, and conferencing

The Attendees: 7,246 government, military, and nonprofit technophiles who’ve seamlessly spliced geek and chic

The Issues:

Lights, Camera, Lawsuit: In addition to covering royalty rights, media-law expert Laura Possessky also addressed such red-tape issues as “Borat-ification”—filming nonactors who later seek compensation for being misled, exploited, and/or ridiculed.

World Wide Wed: Time was, pop songs could be used in wedding videos without obtaining permission. But in the digital age, cautioned Possessky, “what you shoot for the bride’s family could suddenly appear on YouTube.” That tune intended for one-time use could replay publicly for time eternal.

Flick ’n’ Flak: Video News Release (VNR) veterans Jerry Kambic and Peter McCluskey aired some trade secrets: TV stations want good sound bites and good cutaways. Forget long videos. (“Anything over eight minutes, short of being a car wreck, nobody’s going to watch it.”) And be sure to YouTube it. (“A [government] VNR on psoriasis got thousands of views.”)

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Reality Show: Filmmaker Steve James discussed his 2006 award-winning documentary The War Tapes, for which three U.S. soldiers were given DVD cameras to tape 1,000 hours of their Iraq experiences. The New Hampshire National Guard (not the federal Department of Defense) approved the project, trusting it would honestly portray soldiers as, James said, “thinking, feeling human beings, not automatons, who wrestle with what they’re doing while doing what must be done.” A Taji car bombing and other scenes revealed how service men employed humor, cursing, and journal-writing to cope with such commonplace horrors as casualties whose massive wounds don’t bleed because they’ve been cauterized by superheated shrapnel.

The Whole Truth: Disdained by purists, editing can present a greater truth, said James. Good editing pushes the story forward, helps narrate, and clarifies events and experiences by clustering multiple viewpoints. “As a filmmaker,” he said, “I don’t feel the need for allegiance to chronology.”

Please Stand By: For creative inspiration, indies from the 48 Hour Film Project, Women in Film & Video, and the DC Shorts Film Festival played in a expo-floor screening room. Cutting-edge equipment on display nearby could not help with repeated technical difficulties during climactic scenes.

Room With a Goo: Exhibitors demonstrated how paint-on “Screen Goo” can transform any smooth surface into a high-performance projection screen boasting excellent gain with minimal hot-spotting, industry-leading horizontal- and vertical-off-axis characteristics, and suitability for both front and rear projection. Satisfied clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain.

Tunes to Go: StudioCutz Music Library CD samplers included “NOISEFUEL” sound effects (keyboard clacking, toilets flushing) plus production-music selections. Among the categories: Sugarpop (“happy, uplifting themes performed on clean jangly guitars, bass, and drums”), Surf (“beach parties, spy grooves, summer romance, and pure surf action”), Silly Stuff (“slapstick, polka, ragtime, yodeling, kazoo”), and Kitsch (“retro tunes so cheesy they’re cool again!”).