Paul Parillo Drug Lords are the Best Amateur Filmmakers

As the increasingly eager and impatient population we’ve become, the world and it’s technology have catered to our growing necessity for information. Or perhaps this can be inversely true; the tech world has expedited the transference of information and we have adapted, and perhaps now crave it quicker. Either way, the minute a news story breaks out, we can satiate these cravings by reading and watching stories unfold within minutes of occurrence. With cell phones, laptops, WiFi/portable internet/tethering, there isn’t a story that can hide from our watchful eye. Regrettably, therein lies one problem of great annoyance to me (and hopefully to others as well) – and that is the poor “hand held” “distorted audio” quality of impromptu videos chronicling a real-time event.   

Whether it’s an act of self immolation during a protest in Tel Aviv, a pedestrian capturing a shooting spree in Lebanon, or even two lowly high school students fist fighting to impress their pregnant girlfriends – there’s simply too much helpful technology at our disposal for us to mess it up. The only excuse is human error – a problem of which can be easily remedied. Let us first cite a particular example in contrast:

There is a beheading video that is of some notable production value. It involves the Mexican drug cartel – please take a moment to view it. As you do, keep in mind that although the Mexican drug ring is a multi-billion dollar business, we can agree that none of the money is spent on camera equipment. Notice the framing – within the first couple seconds we can almost put together a back story, establish the main characters, and get a sense of suspense and impending doom. The criminals let the camera do the talking and don’t spend any wasted energy fiddling around with hand-held shots that detract from the story being told. The audio sounds as if it was mixed seamlessly by an engineer; how else does one explain the ability to hear the ferocity of a chainsaw juxtaposed with the gargling of exposed throats? In the end, it’s quite simple; don’t let your emotions selfishly invade the audible space with which the onboard mic is trying to capture.

Our power and capability to share information within seconds are great gifts that we shouldn’t take for granted. Whether it’s a spontaneous event that unfolds before your eyes or an intentional happening that warrants video footage, try not to get caught up in the moment and take your goddamn videographer responsibilities seriously – after all, you volunteered yourself by taking out your phone.

So get out there and practice. Shoot every video in HD quality, make every frame flawless, don’t run while you film, and don’t scream and cry while watching someone being murdered (you’ll fuck up the audio). But most of all, don’t be afraid to establish your role in the seminal event at hand. The press get all the answers because they get themselves “in da shit”. Make your presence known – nobody fucks with the filmmaker. And if all else fails, just say “cut” and make them do it again.

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