Video Days

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About the author:
NANCY CAIN began playing with video as a member of Videofreex, the radical video collective in New York that shot footage of the Woodstock Festival and the Chicago Eight. She worked on the first video pilot ever shot for network television with the Videofreex at CBS in 1969, and ran an offbeat weekly video show at the Videofreex loft in Soho. She cofounded Lanesville TV-known as "Probably America's Smallest TV Station." The pirate broadcasts were made possible by a transmitter donated by Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Along with TVTV, she defined the video documentary movement of the 70s, known as "guerrilla television." Cain was a co-creator and producer of The '90s, a weekly hour-long alternative show for PBS, which the New York Post called "refreshingly
irreverent, opinionated and outlandish." She was the co-creator and producer of CamNet The Camcorder Network, America's first all camcorder
channel. Rolling Stone designated CamNet second only to HBO in their list of "the ten things in 1993
that didn't suck," and heralded CamNet as "a brilliant and democratic vision ... a peoples CNN," and "the inevitable next stop in the liberation of television from network owners and broadcasters.

Video Days

and What We Saw Through the Viewfinder

Authored by Nancy Cain
Designed by Joseph Robert Cowles
Index by Barbora Cowles

VIDEO DAYS begins in 1969 when video technology was still virtually unknown to the public. A portable video camera was an oddity. The only people who had them were cops, hippies, and conceptual artist Nam June Paik, who recorded the Pope's visit to New York in 1965 using one. The cops recorded the faces of hippies at events and political actions and the hippies loved to shoot videos of the cops shooting video of them. "When I would overhear the word 'video' being spoken on the street or in a restaurant somewhere," says author Nancy Cain, "I would assume people were talking about me. It was logical. And if I turned to look, I would often see people pointing at me and my camera and they would be smiling and waving. They'd want to know how much it cost, was it heavy, and what it was for. It cost maybe $1,500; the deck and camera together weighed about twenty pounds; and it was for adventure and freedom and possibilities and truth. It wasn't movies or television, it was video. Video was a rover. Video came along for the ride. Video was immediate. It was participatory. During that summer of 1969, while working on a pilot production for the CBS television network, I met the Videofreex. They had just returned from the Woodstock Festival of Peace and Love with amazing reverse angle footage that completely changed the way I saw television and the world. Ultimately, the network passed on our project but I stayed with the Videofreex, and then struck out on my own. VIDEO DAYS is about me and my camcorder, where we went together for the next thirty years, and how television media changed as a result of this technological revolution. Today our good old video media revolution is history. It has been replaced by the social media revolution, which is huge and important beyond belief, all streaming and instantaneous, a people's medium. And don't forget, video is everywhere. It detonates our bombs, it watches our babies, it belongs to us all."

Publication Date:
1468006800 / 9781468006803
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
History / Social History

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