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Mourning Doves

Skillfully Edited Video Brings the World Together in This Time of Tragedy By Charlie White

In the face of the ghastly terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, writing an editorial about digital media seemed so unimportant. What angle should I take? That the camera work of numerous amateur videographers was first-class? That its remarkable how ubiquitous camcorders are these days, where if anything significant happens, well get to see five different shots of it, especially if it happens in heavily-populated New York City? Theres just hardly any approach to this column this week that seems appropriate.

So let me just offer my salute to all the heroic video shooters and editors who are working overtime, many around-the-clock, to help bring the United States together. While the rest of us stare at the TV with jaw-dropped horror, these video soldiers keep their wits about them, skillfully bringing us the awful video and gruesome sounds that help us to understand the terror of the situation.

Our nation of 300 million gathered together around televisions all over the country, wondering if this was the beginning of the end of life as we knew it. Everything stopped. The day-long vigil was a communal experience, where we watched in shock and disbelief along with the entire world as the events unfolded.

For those of us who experienced the day Kennedy was shot, it brought back that same feeling, that we would remember this for the rest of our lives. Days like these show us in bold relief why television is such a powerful medium. It not only brings the full impact of events right into our living rooms, it allows us all to experience these events together, all at once, at the same time. Its as if television is one gigantic campfire where all the people in the world gather around simultaneously to see and hear a story told to them. Its a group experience. Unfortunately, its tragic times like these where television is able to rise up to its billing as the worlds most powerful medium.

And digital video editing had a place in all this mayhem, making this medium even more powerful. Where in the TV news coverage of Kennedys death, all the TV we saw was broadcast to us live (except for a few film clips here and there), this tragedy showed us events as they happened, and then a few minutes later, coherently edited segments explained and summed up the events with more perspective than was available in the 60s. Without the quick and responsive digital video editing systems and level-headed editors at the helm, it would have been even more difficult to get a grip on what was actually happening.

So, join me in my praise of all those hard-working TV production personnel who have done such a marvelous job of showing us what happened. And also join me in mourning all those thousands of human beings who lost their lives in that horrific conflagration. We have a few less readers of digitalvideoediting.com today. Lets hope that this is not the beginning of an era when we, as video editors, will be called upon to piece together even more images of war, carnage and suffering. We mourn for those lost. We yearn to edit shots of doves flying free, not planes flying into skyscrapers. We mourn the loss of peace, even if it was only for a day.

On days like these, I can only hope that we are all mourning doves.

Charlie White, your humble storytellerCharlie White has been writing about new media and digital video since it was the laughingstock of the television industry. A technology journalist and columnist for the past seven years, White is also an Emmy-winning producer, video editor and shot-calling PBS TV director with 26 years broadcast experience. Talk back -- Send Chazz a note at [email protected].

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Related Keywords:Digital Video Editing, Charlie White, World trade center, violence, editors, camcorders, New York City, column, editorial, opinion


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