Video Revolutions

On the History of a Medium

Michael Z. Newman

Columbia University Press

Video Revolutions

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Pub Date: April 2014

ISBN: 9780231169516

160 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $10.00£7.00

Pub Date: April 2014

ISBN: 9780231537759

160 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $9.99£7.00

Video Revolutions

On the History of a Medium

Michael Z. Newman

Columbia University Press

Since the days of early television, video has been an indispensable part of culture, society, and moving-image media industries. Over the decades, it has been an avant-garde artistic medium, a high-tech consumer gadget, a format for watching movies at home, a force for democracy, and the ultimate, ubiquitous means of documenting reality. In the twenty-first century, video is the name we give all kinds of moving images. We know it as an adaptable medium that bridges analog and digital, amateur and professional, broadcasting and recording, television and cinema, art and commercial culture, and old media and new digital networks.

In this history, Michael Z. Newman casts video as a medium of shifting value and legitimacy in relation to other media and technologies, particularly film and television. Video has been imagined as more or less authentic or artistic than movies or television, as more or less democratic and participatory, as more or less capable of capturing the real. Techno-utopian rhetoric has repeatedly represented video as a revolutionary medium, promising to solve the problems of the past and the present—often the very problems associated with television and the society shaped by it—and to deliver a better future. Video has also been seen more negatively, particularly as a threat to movies and their culture. This study considers video as an object of these hopes and fears and builds an approach to thinking about the concept of the medium in terms of cultural status.

Video Revolutions is a stimulating and satisfying intellectual tour and argument, chiefly for Newman's ability to encompass often disparate case studies within a single historical lens.

William Boddy, Baruch College, CUNY

Michael Newman has carved out a fascinating intellectual space between television and cinema as they are traditionally understood, to illuminate both as well as to explore the new ground that the concept of 'video' established in the media imaginary. This is a concise and impressive work that should be on the reading list of all scholars of media and contemporary culture.

Michele Hilmes, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Newman does for video what Lynn Spigel did for television: he 'makes room' for it in an accessible and compelling critique that shows how video has become an integral part of our lives. Video Revolutions is a book that is long overdue.

Michael Curtin, co-author, The American Television Industry

Newman's stylish and informative new book Video Revolutions: On the History of a Medium hits pause on key moments in the biography of video, freezing them for closer examination, while always keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

Prospect

A brief, brilliant inquiry into the history of a complex, contested medium.... Essential, engrossing reading for anyone—from high-school YouTube producers to senior media-studies scholars—interested in our ever-evolving fascination with the moving image.

PopMatters

Densely theoretical yet poetic... lively, accessible... this would make an excellent course text—on either an introductory or advanced level (a rare accomplishment). All in all, a remarkable book. Essential.

Choice

An enjoyable, masterful tour of the history of a medium.... [Video Revolutions] contributes to a much-needed repositioning of video as a cultural form in relation to film, television, and digital media.

Yvonne Spielmann, Technology and Culture
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Three Phases
2. Video as Television
3. Video as Alternative
4. Video as the Moving Image
5. Medium and Cultural Status
Notes
Select Bibliography
Index

Read the preface to Video Revolutions:

Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2014

Longlist – 2015 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for Best Moving Image Book

About the Author

Michael Z. Newman is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the author of Indie: An American Film Culture and coauthor of Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status.