In 20 YEARS OF MADNESS, we follow the 30MOM crew as they make a new episode of the show. Producer Jerry White Jr. decided to shoot the whole thing on analog video, primarily using a free VHS camera he was given, as well as others picked up for cheap on ebay and craigslist. While this choice was met with initial skepticism by many of the cast, no one can argue that the new footage “looks like 30 MINUTES OF MADNESS.”
And the number of people embracing VHS keeps growing! We posted a few days ago about Oscar® nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu shooting on VHS for a recent experimental film and now the folks at the Raindance Film Festival have compiled a top ten list of modern-day VHS music videos. The only thing we don’t get is how they overlooked White Limo by Foo Fighters! OK, that was three years ago, but it still feels as modern as a retro music video shot on an archaic format can!
30MOM director Jerry White Jr.’s VHS selfie from the episode 15 shoot
20 YEARS OF MADNESS features a lot of VHS footage shot in the 90s, culled from hundreds of hours of material, but our doc also highlights modern-day VHS video shot for the new episode of 30MOM. And show director Jerry White Jr. isn’t the only one embracing the so-called “consumer” and “obsolete” format. From Tim & Eric to Harmony Korine, VHS refuses to die.
One of the latest directors to embrace VHS is Academy Award® Nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams). He chose to shoot his recent experimental short “Naran Ja” with the same cheap VHS camera your parents still have in their attic (or basement). In an article at nofilmschool, Iñárritu waxes poetic about the medium:
“VHS texture is for digital what grain used to be for film…Digital and most film stock is so sleek now, that everything looks very plastic and unnatural. We have lost the skin of the images. Cameras reproduce reality much more sharply than my eyes can see and that’s why it looks fake…I thought this $39 VHS camera reproduced and exquisite, moshy-moshy, beautiful, horrific greeny-yellowish skin that triggered my emotional memory of TV series from the 70s. I loved it.”
While the short won’t be for everyone, it’s clearly not intended to be. “Naran Ja” is nevertheless confident in its exploration of movement and location while being a thorough contemplation of content transcending media.
Does anyone else feel that the digital world has become a little too clean… predictable… boring even! Well if you’re like us and you like a little chaos in your world, check out this nifty little web app. You can upload any jpg and the app will break it down for you. Try changing the various parameters to perfect your imperfect image!