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Which clippings match 'Donn A. Pennebaker' keyword pg.1 of 1
29 OCTOBER 2013

Jefferson Airplane Wakes Up New York; Jean-Luc Godard Captures It

"He took over from the specialists and operated the camera from the window of Leacock–Pennebaker's office on West Forty–fifth street, shooting the band on the roof of the Schuyler Hotel across the street. (Pennebaker recalled him to be an amateurish cameraman who could not avoid the beginner's pitfall of frequent zooming in and out.) The performance took place without a permit, at standard rock volume: as singer Grace Slick later wrote, 'We did it, deciding that the cost of getting out of jail would be less than hiring a publicist"

(via Open Culture, 24 February 2012)

Fig.1 Jean–Luc Godard filmed the band on a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan (December 7, 1968).



1960s1968 • alternative zeitgeist • amateurish • amateurish cameraman • anti-mastery • band • cinematic zest • Donn A. Pennebaker • Film Socialisme (2010) • focus and zoom • footageFrench New Wave • Grace Slick • improvisationimprovised methodJean-Luc Godard • Jefferson Airplane • Leacock-Pennebaker • live performanceManhattan • Midtown Manhattan • New YorkOpen Culture (resource) • Paul Kantner • Richard Leacock • Schuyler Hotel • spectacle • The House at Pooneil Corners • West Forty-fifth street • zooming in and out


David Reid
11 MARCH 2011

New technical possibilities: synchronous recording of sight and sound

"In the late 1950s major breakthroughs began to occur in the technology available to filmmakers. These occasioned what can be thought of either as something totally new under the artistic sun or merely as new ways of doing old things. What they permitted was the synchronous recording of sight and sound outside the confines of soundstages and studio back lots. Virtually anything that could be seen and heard could now be captured on sound film almost anywhere. These new technical possibilities did not dictate the uses to which they would be put, however. One of those uses was that of the Americans who called what they were doing direct cinema. Another was that of Frenchman Jean Rouch, who coined the term cinema verite (film truth) to apply to his own work."

(Jack Ellis and Betsy McLane, 2005, p.208)

Jack Ellis and Betsy McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, (2005), 208–325.

Fig.1 Albert (right) with David Maysles on the set of 'Grey Gardens' (1975).



16mm1950s3-lens turretAlbert Maysles • Arriflex • audio recorderauthorshipcamera technologycapturecinema veritecinematographyconvergencecreative practiceDavid Mayslesdevicedirect cinemadocumentaryDonn A. Pennebaker • Drew Associates • FFL • film truth • filmmakers • fixed focal length • history of cinemainnovationJean Rouch • lightweight • Nagranew technical possibilities • primary focal length • prime lens • realismRichard Leacock • Robert Drew • sight and sound • solution • sound film • soundstage • synchronous recording • technology • telephoto lens • Terrence McCartney Filgate • truthvisual depictionvisual languagezoom lens


Simon Perkins
03 MARCH 2011

The camera's relation to reality is addressed directly by the documentary filmmaker

"The issue of the camera's relation to reality, which permeates the fiction film, is addressed directly by the documentary filmmaker, who has always aspired toward capturing the sight and sound of life in an unobtrusive and impartial manner. The ambivalent nature of the medium, which excludes the human element as an intermediary but nevertheless implies a subjective viewpoint, gives rise to issues concerning the camera's legitimacy to record the 'obscene' object of reality. Questions about what degrees of faithfulness to the truth establish a film as a documentary, and whether such faithfulness is even possible, have accompanied the history of documentary filmmaking since its origin.

In the meantime, partly due to the technological advancements, documentary underwent a revival, and experimentations with the new technology abounded. The answer of 'direct cinema', which included Richard Leacock, Donn A. Pennebaker and the Maysles brothers as its representatives, was a purist approach in which the impact of the observer on the observed had to be kept to a minimum. Interviews, voice–over commentary and any other forms of interaction with the subject matter were considered to contaminate the result of the observation. Others like, Pierre Perrault, used the new equipment to draw meaning from the seemingly insignificant and the quotidian, attempting to find greater meaning in and unity to the whole by observing and bringing together the small elements of everyday life."

(Barbara Bruni, Senses of Cinema)



ambivalence • Andre Bazinauthorial intrusion • Chronicle of a Summer • cinema veritecommentaryconstructed realitydirect cinemadocumentarydocumentary filmmakerdocumentary filmmakingdocumentary truthDonn A. Pennebaker • Edgar Morin • ethnographiceveryday lifeexperimentationfiction filmimpartiality • intermediary • interviewJean Rouch • Lightning Over Water • Maysles Brothersmedium • Nicholas Ray • observation • Pierre Perrault • realityRichard LeacockSenses of Cinema (journal)subjective viewpointtechnological advancements • The Human Pyramid • truth • unobtrusive • voice-over • voice-over commentary


Simon Perkins

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