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WWI brought back to life in new documentary
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Larry Cloetta
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WWI brought back to life in new documentary

This looks very interesting, only in the U.K. for now, though.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/wwi-broug...131810128.html

The trailer looks pretty impressive, to me at least:

https://theyshallnotgrowold.film/videos/
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
seany65
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Thanks for the links Larry.

I clicked on the first, but as I got the Yahoo "before you continue" page which is meant to tell us about their data policies and that of their partners and give us the option of clicking "ok" or "manage options" I noticed that it's very difficult to find any "No ads/no cookies etc." button, so I stopped. Have you been through the pages and pages of crap we have to wade through if we do click on "manage options" and then "manage" and then "see and customise which partners can use your data. show" and then clicking on "privacy policy" and then having to read all that stuff that Yahoo make us do?

Nope, I ain't wasting hours faffing about like that. If they can't give me a simple "yes/no" choice for each partner like other companies can then they take a running jump.

I clicked on the second link, and while I'm impressed by what they've done to the film, I also don't really approve as it feels like it's changing the evidence. It was not filmed with sound (though I just about accept the adding of sound as a 'sound effect'), but adding the colour just seems too artificial. There has been another series which was meant to show the war in 'high-definition' and colour but I didn't watch that.

I suppose part of me thinks that if the original footage is lost and those that made the changes die, then whoever's left will think the original film was in colour with sound and in hi-def, and all that's a lie. It's like we're changing the nature of the evidence.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Thanks for the links Larry.

I clicked on the first, but as I got the Yahoo "before you continue" page which is meant to tell us about their data policies and that of their partners and give us the option of clicking "ok" or "manage options" I noticed that it's very difficult to find any "No ads/no cookies etc." button, so I stopped. Have you been through the pages and pages of crap we have to wade through if we do click on "manage options" and then "manage" and then "see and customise which partners can use your data. show" and then clicking on "privacy policy" and then having to read all that stuff that Yahoo make us do?

Nope, I ain't wasting hours faffing about like that. If they can't give me a simple "yes/no" choice for each partner like other companies can then they take a running jump.

I clicked on the second link, and while I'm impressed by what they've done to the film, I also don't really approve as it feels like it's changing the evidence. It was not filmed with sound (though I just about accept the adding of sound as a 'sound effect'), but adding the colour just seems too artificial. There has been another series which was meant to show the war in 'high-definition' and colour but I didn't watch that.

I suppose part of me thinks that if the original footage is lost and those that made the changes die, then whoever's left will think the original film was in colour with sound and in hi-def, and all that's a lie. It's like we're changing the nature of the evidence.
Sorry you could not read the article, as that is where the interesting bits are. When I click on the link, I do not get any kind of “since you are here” preface, it just goes directly to the article.
I am no fan of colorization, and would not have posted the link if that is all it was, but colorization is by far the least interesting thing about what Peter Jackson has done here. Seems to me, at any rate.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
dave lackey
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Dang, that is amazing.

Thank you, Larry!

Btw, as a long time b/w photographer for the most part, I prefer the color! It looks about what I would imagine to be as close to what those men saw. It makes it much more believable for me by adding depth, along with the audio. Well done!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
retinax
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Interesting, I'd like to see it, OTOH I share the sentiment that historical evidence is being manipulated here, as Seany65 said. But perhaps to an acceptable degree. The benefit, especially to the majority of people who apparently don't get black and white images, could be immense.
I sincerely hope, however, that the selection of scenes doesn't glorify the war in the same way the title of that article does. Bringing back to life WWI, seriously?! Who would want that?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Originally Posted by retinax View Post
OTOH I share the sentiment that historical evidence is being manipulated here, as Seany65 said. But perhaps to an acceptable degree.

As a professional historian, I'd say that as long as Jackson is not passing it off as replacing the original film evidence, attempting to deceive, then there's little to worry about here. Strictly speaking, historians "manipulate" the evidence every time we do anything with it. Even a museum that merely puts it on display in its "raw" form is manipulating it in all sorts of ways: it places in a specific environment, with explanatory text (the display card) that inevitably pushes viewers to see the source in particular ways, and as a part of larger themed exhibit. This display context / environment is definitely a form of manipulation and alteration. Similarly, even a typeset version of a manuscript prepared for publishing is a form of manipulation as it standardizes and otherwise regularizes the source, eliminates mistakes and marginalia, etc., etc., not to speak of any historical writing that interprets the evidence. (For fun look up how much literary scholars argue and fight over the published versions of Joyce's Ulysses -- simply preparing the manuscript for publication is a fraught business that inevitably is full of manipulation and interpretation.) So, to my historian's mind, there's little danger of a project like this supplanting the real sources except in the mind of the ignorant and willfully uninformed. Any serious historian would be painfully aware of the technological limitations of the era she is writing about and thus would not be taken in. Historians habitually train a very critical gaze on their sources and the vast majority of us are not easily fooled. (Those that are tend to be corrected rather bluntly and publicly by our colleagues who read our work with what I sometimes call "aggressive skepticism". There's a genuine professional incentive to be careful as a gaffe can be disastrous for one's career, peer respect, publishing prospects, etc.)

As for bringing a time or experience "back to life", obviously no sane person would actually want to re-live WWI trenches. But grasping a closer approximation of what some parts of that experience was like would be a positive gain in most historians' eyes. Grasping and grappling with the dark parts of history, no matter how ugly and unpalatable, has educational and research value.

Caveat: I haven't read the linked articles -- too busy preparing for tomorrow's class. So, if Jackson is indeed trying to get archives to use his altered film in place of the real source footage then I'd only have to say that he's a fool. EDIT TO ADD: If his process actually destroys the original source footage, then I'm shocked and dismayed and he should be stopped.
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Last edited by Papercut : 1 Week Ago at 15:58. Reason: wording change "interpreting" --> "simply preparing"
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
retinax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papercut View Post
As a professional historian, I'd say that as long as Jackson is not passing it off as replacing the original film evidence, attempting to deceive, then there's little to worry about here. Strictly speaking, historians "manipulate" the evidence every time we do anything with it. Even a museum that merely puts it on display in its "raw" form is manipulating it in all sorts of ways: it places in a specific environment, with explanatory text (the display card) that inevitably pushes viewers to see the source in particular ways, and as a part of larger themed exhibit. This display context / environment is definitely a form of manipulation and alteration. Similarly, even a typeset version of a manuscript prepared for publishing is a form of manipulation as it standardizes and otherwise regularizes the source, eliminates mistakes and marginalia, etc., etc., not to speak of any historical writing that interprets the evidence. (For fun look up how much literary scholars argue and fight over the published versions of Joyce's Ulysses -- simply preparing the manuscript for publication is a fraught business that inevitably is full of manipulation and interpretation.) So, to my historian's mind, there's little danger of a project like this supplanting the real sources except in the mind of the ignorant and willfully uninformed. Any serious historian would be painfully aware of the technological limitations of the era she is writing about and thus would not be taken in. Historians habitually train a very critical gaze on their sources and the vast majority of us are not easily fooled. (Those that are tend to be corrected rather bluntly and publicly by our colleagues who read our work with what I sometimes call "aggressive skepticism". There's a genuine professional incentive to be careful as a gaffe can be disastrous for one's career, peer respect, publishing prospects, etc.)

As for bringing a time or experience "back to life", obviously no sane person would actually want to re-live WWI trenches. But grasping a closer approximation of what some parts of that experience was like would be a positive gain in most historians' eyes. Grasping and grappling with the dark parts of history, no matter how ugly and unpalatable, has educational and research value.

Caveat: I haven't read the linked articles -- too busy preparing for tomorrow's class. So, if Jackson is indeed trying to get archives to use his altered film in place of the real source footage then I'd only have to say that he's a fool. EDIT TO ADD: If his process actually destroys the original source footage, then I'm shocked and dismayed and he should be stopped.
Part of your post I highlighted: Of course, it's the ignorant I'm somewhat worried about. I don't think the original footage is adversely affected. Nothing that severe, but just like we don't re-paint the many statues from antiquity which once were colourful (at least that's what I've read somewhere, not sure how certain we are of that), it's a matter of respecting the films as artefacts, if not works of art.
I agree about the value of "Grasping and grappling with the dark parts of history". If color really helps the general public a lot with that (to me it seemed a bit laughable how in the trailer, the same scene was shown in black and white, then coloured, as if that was some enormous improvement, which it wasn't for me, but we who like black and white photography are a minority), so be it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
If color really helps the general public a lot with that (to me it seemed a bit laughable how in the trailer, the same scene was shown in black and white, then coloured, as if that was some enormous improvement, which it wasn't for me, but we who like black and white photography are a minority), so be it.
I'll disagree with this sentiment. For me, the transitions from b&w to color were effective. I think one should not disregard the effect color has in bringing a sense of realism to a subject. Whether someone aesthetically appreciates black and white photography is irrelevant from a historical standpoint. The feeling of reality that one gets from seeing color images is powerful, because that's how we see things in real life.

Now, artistically, I am against the colorization of popular films. I hated it when it became prevalent in the 80s, and I still do, more or less. There was a time when they seemed to be doing it to all of the old films that I loved. I'm so glad that fad died. This, I don't think, is the same as that.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Of course, it's the ignorant I'm somewhat worried about. I don't think the original footage is adversely affected. Nothing that severe, but just like we don't re-paint the many statues from antiquity which once were colourful (at least that's what I've read somewhere, not sure how certain we are of that), it's a matter of respecting the films as artefacts, if not works of art.
Worrying unduly about the reception of the ignorant is, in my opinion at least, a waste of time. We can't play down to their level in a vain attempt to prevent them from getting the wrong ideas -- they're gonna have the wrong ideas anyway. Historians, documentary filmmakers, and museum curators face this problem any time they present ANY source in ANY fashion; some subset of people are not going to pay attention sufficiently, are going to read or see the source out of their own misconceptions and mistaken assumptions, etc., and thus will misunderstand it. This is true whether it is a piece of footage that is colorized and with dubbed sound, or whether it is an un-retouched 5 second clip taken out of a much longer piece of film. Or a quotation from a diary. It doesn't matter much; some people are always going to get the wrong picture no matter what. (pun intended)

We don't repaint the statues because to do so would do harm to the source as we have it now, not because repainting would be unhelpful to seeing or appreciating them historically. Thankfully film footage doesn't present the same either/or scenario. We can have our "repainted" film footage without doing any damage to the original source. I can only see that as a win-win, as long as there isn't an attempt to replace the original with the colorized. [EDIT: Here when I say "replace" I mean in the archives and libraries that store, care for, and grant access to the original sources as evidence.]

Personally, I'm neutral on color -- but I do know that there are people (like Peter Jennings above) for whom it makes a lot of difference, helping to make an image or film segment "come alive" or seem real. For such people, I suspect Jackson's work here will be effective and thus the past will seem closer and less abstract. As a historian, I'm all for that!
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Last edited by Papercut : 1 Week Ago at 03:35. Reason: clarifying comment added
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