The history of film can (and has) been written in many ways: as the artistic result of the procession of visionary filmmakers, as an ever changing mix of genres, as an industry that is governed by economic laws… But film is also a technological art form and that is yet another way of looking at its development. The evolving audiovisual technology has always had a profound impact on the kinds of stories that were told, on their stylistic ambitions and even on their critical and artistic potential. (Think digital cameras, 3D and CGI for recent examples, or the advent of lighter camera equipment and better lenses in earlier years).
The same goes for television: it too is subject to the influence of technological progress. But although a focus on technology is one of the staples of video essays about moviemaking, the number of video essays that take the same approach to studies of television are few and far between. This effort by Dutch film student Koen Dierx is an exception. He looks at how the CuePilot software solution has changed the landscape of live broadcasts.
CuePilot allows television makers to extensively preconceive and program camera moves and cutting. Live broadcasts of big events in particular, such as the Eurovision Song Contest, have taken a shine to this solution. In mere years CuePilot has transformed the way such events are filmed, cut and broadcast. But have the creative opportunities that CuePilot brings always been used wisely?
Koen Dierx gives a very well documented overview of the power of this software, and then contrasts the way live broadcasts used to look with some more extravagant examples from the CuePilot era. These shows are often gaudy extravaganzas: it’s live television on steroids. Since everything is preplanned, the thrill seems to have shifted. Without CuePilot, the tension and excitement in broadcast vans is palpable. With CuePilot, it’s painting by numbers. As a spectator, the thrill and tension of watching a live broadcast unfold is almost replaced with the hope that something goes wrong… because only then does the danger of such live broadcasts resurface.
This video essay includes an extensive selection of clips. These are the sources, in the order in which they appear in the video essay: