Is Seeing Believing?
It used to be a given; seeing something with your eyes is the best way to prove that something is real, concrete, there. Of course, entire industries are built on subverting that notion – magicians and makeup are some of the first to come to mind – but most of us can interpret contextual cues, and we’re not all that naive as to believe everything we see.
But when the visual load starts to increase, so does the burden of having to identify, interpret and investigate to uncover real from fake. And today, everything is visual. Worse still, moving visuals.
At best, it is dishonesty by a live-streamer or Instagram model, which often just makes for a funny story. At worse, it’s governments and corporations with more insidious aims. But as this op-ed notes, it is easy to mislead and mischaracterize even without using extensive technologies – and as a video production company, this is something that we need to be mindful of each day.
When we are commissioned by an organization to promote them, their product or service, we walk the fine line of any advertiser – how do we portray the good and play down the bad without tipping the scales so far into mischaracterization? If the organization is the one paying us the money, how much of the truth do we owe the viewer?
When extracting lines for an interview, we walk the fine line of any journalist – how do we edit the lines of an interviewee so that the information is concise yet correct, while not taking the words out of context? And when dealing with a visual medium, it’s not like we can just insert a connector, rephrase a point and stick it back into the interviewee’s mouth.
In these complex times, there’s always a new big issue around every corner. We can educate ourselves, get right into it, and be involved in all sorts of conversations about it. But to me, what more important is to examine what these issues mean to the context of our individual lives and decide how we want to conduct ourselves on a day-to-day basis – after all, we don’t have to solve big societal issues to make a change in the world, we just have to be the best versions of ourselves. – Ash