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workshop videos possible?

updated fri 28 feb 97


Marco Milazzo on sat 22 feb 97

I'm a long-time lurker, first-time poster who wants to see if Clayarters
think this idea is feasible:

I take my videocamera and tripod to workshops because it's the only way I
can make accurate and complete "notes."

I try to be considerate and take a place in the back of the room but that
isn't the best vantage-point and the audio suffers. On the other hand,
giving cameras "free rein" sometimes creates an obstacle course in the

Why can't organizations that offer workshops ban personal videocameras, but
have the workshops professionally videotaped, then sell the tapes? That
way, individuals wouldn't have to bring their own cameras, the floor would
remain uncluttered, non-attendees would have a chance to see the
presentation, and everyone would get a well-made video. (Two-camera setup,
well-edited, presenter miked, etc.)

Naturally the presenter would get "royalties" so this would be another
source of revenue for the potter and the school or club. And rather than a
one-time opportunity, the workshop could go on on indefinitely.

I understand that workshops sometime last two or three days, but you could
either edit the workshop "highlights" down to two hours or offer more tapes
for more $$$. Perhaps the presenter could design his or her presentation
with the video in mind.

What do you think? Would this work?

Doug Gray on mon 24 feb 97


A good idea, but I've yet to see it happen. I attended a Don reitz
workshop several years ago and made arrangements with the people in
charge to get a copy of the tape. I have since been back for other
workshops, but still no copy of Don's workshop.

Part of the problem is the editing. They had two or three days of
video tape and no one to edit it down to a digestable time. They
themselves admitted that they could not decide which parts to edit
out. So much of workshop information is not linear, but comments
refer to previous conversations, techniques, etc. I think at best
you'd only get the most clipped idea of any workshop if you were to
edit it down from three days to an hour and a half.

Another problem was taping a lecture by Val Cushing from the Ceramics
USA 1995 exhibition. His lecture dirrectly related to the work that
was chosen for the show and many of the accepted artists wanted a copy
because they could not attend. We felt that we did not have the right
to sell, or even disperse for free, a video that included images of
other peoples work. So we didn't. We still have a copy of the tape,
but not the permission from the invlved artists and from Val to
re-sell/re-use it.(This is not because anyone refused. We just didn't
ask all 100 people for permision)

There seem to be some copyright problems when you do this. You
mentioned the royalties aspect, and I think you hit it right on the
nose. There has to be a way of compensating the people involved,
including the artist, the film crew and the editors. This could be
very costly and therefore prohibitive to most organizations.

I agree with you, that it would be wonderful to see videos of all my
favorite artists giving workshops, but doubt that it will happen
anytime soon. Another consideration is that videos of workshops might
have the same affect on workshop attendance that the entire video
market has had on Hollywood. People might be more content to sit and
watch the workshop at home at their own convenience and might be less
willing to actually participate in the workshop. I would hope not,
but you never know.

Doug Gray
Alpine, TX