The Mass and The Personal

While the pre-Oscar crowds at Union Square sold out early evening showings of Best Picture nominees No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, the crowd in the theater for U23D was fairly sparse.
Perhaps because it was in a regular theater rather than on the big IMAX screen, but unlike Bob Lefsetz, I found the 3D-ness underwhelming except for a few moments. Overall, the film seemed to be more intimate and less grand than the concert itself. I was disappointed that the camera was generally so close in on the band members and only rarely and ineffectively attempted to convey the size of the show. A couple of times, we looked out at the 60,000-odd people in the stadium from behind Larry’s drum set, but it was too brief to get a sense of what it is like standing in front of that many people.
But while the show was great, and worthwhile seeing, even if the 3D was underwhelming, what I found most striking is just how well documented the show was, even without the professional camera crew. When the film showed Bono, the Edge and Adam out towards the audience, you could see many, if not most, of the audience taking photos or video with their cameras or cameraphones. Some of these videos are on the web.
Here are two fan-shot videos of Pride (in the Name of Love) from that show:


And here’s the professionally filmed feed:

The Beastie Boys’ fan shot concert film, Awesome: I Fuckin’ Shot That is probably not a prototype for the future of all concert film, but it is interesting to see how many of the thousands of different impressions of a large concert get fixed and posted online.
And with an event that is broadcast worldwide, like the Academy Awards, the web is a way of seeing that event through different filters. I was dubious about the value of liveblogs of the Oscars. Unlike, say, today’s FCC hearings at Harvard, the Oscars are pretty well broadcast. Liveblogging that is usually merely an exercise in self-indulgence.
But if you are writing about the impact of this event on a niche industry, then this kind of reporting adds a different kind of analysis. with his Inside the Marketer’s Studio liveblog, David actually did something different, interesting and utlimately useful for his core readers in the search engine marketing field.
While the personal media takes on major events are no substitute for the official media coverage– clips on YouTube don’t compare to a 5-story tall Bono in surround sound– but combining together enough personal media creates more context that can help to better understand, experience or frame an event.