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Direct Cinema.

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Direct Cinema The term 'direct cinema' was coined by American director Albert Maysles, to describe the style of documentary that he and his contemporaries were making in the 1960s as a result of a lightweight, portable 16mm camera and high quality lightweight audio recorders becoming available. The introduction of these, together with film-stock which was sensitive enough to give a good quality close-up monochrome picture under most lighting conditions (Including hand-held lights) led to a revolution in Documentary filmmaking, allowing film crews to be much more flexible. Gone were the days of bulky, virtually immobile 35mm cameras; now manufacturers improved their 16mm stock and accepted it as a professional format. In 1959 a group comprising graduates from Drew Associates, a company formed by Robert Drew (an ex journalist) and Richard Leacock, joined forces. Their ethos was to record events as they happened, without interfering and in an attempt to transfer the style of photojournalism to their filmmaking. The group - comprising Pennebaker, Leacock and Maysles - was a key feature of American direct cinema throughout the 1960s and the 1970s. ...read more.


'... the degree to which the camera changes the situation is mostly due to the nature of the person filming it...' Richard Leacock. Direct cinema was conceived with TV in mind. In the 60s TV had poor picture quality, the black-and-white image being frequently fuzzy with viewers reliant on good quality sound. Image quality such as this fitted in perfectly with direct cinema's stance on camera framing and editing; anything more complex than jerky hand-held camera shots would have been futile for the intended medium. The group's techniques have been increasingly employed by current affairs programmes such as World in Action and more recently institutional documentaries such as jimmy's, as well as the Video Nation series. Cinema verite Originally coined by Russian documentarist Dziga Vertov, this term came to prominence when used to describe a type of European filmmaking in the early 1960s (e.g. the work of Jean-Luc Godard and Jean Rouch). The term cinema verite loosely refers to any type of filmmaking that uses documentary techniques, hand-held camera, a single sound microphone and interview techniques. ...read more.


In terms of cinema verite Rouch believed that a filmmaker ought to present an argued point of view in their work and was able to do so because the camera was far more accurate than a human eye and it also had a better memory. This led to what he called 'cinema-sincerity' in that filmmakers were asking their audience to have faith in their work and the evidence being presented to them. '[You] say to the audience, this is what I saw. I didn't fake it, this is what happened. I didn't pay anyone to fight, I didn't change anyone's behaviour. I looked at what happened with my subjective eye and this is what I believe took place. ' Jean Rouch Few filmmakers practised cinema verite in its most pure form. However, its influence can be seen in the work of several contemporary documentarists, such as Molly Dineen and Nick Broomfield. These days 'cinema-verite' is frequently used as a blanket term to describe the documentary film-making style rather than the principles of the film-makers themselves. ...read more.

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