chapter  11
Captured on Videotape: Camcorders and the Personalization of Television
Pages 16

The title of Roy Armes' (1988) book, On Video, gives it a place in the "On X" genre of analytical essays that ranges from Clausewitz's On War to Sontag's On Photography (two books whose contents share much more in common than their titles might at first suggest). Armes' title, however, has the added presumed advantage of an implied double meaning; to wit, a pun. Not only does this title offer the suggestion that it will be "on" video in the sense of being an extended essay-of-definition about video, it also opens the possibility that it will delve into the subject more experientially to ask what it means to appear "on" video. This, to the great disappointment of all of us who believe that the title of any profound book should present at least two simultaneous ways to interpret its contents, proves not to be the case. Armes wrote convincingly about the history of video, the social context of video from the point of the professional producer, and the aesthetics of video sound and video image, but did not examine the question of how video is received by those who find themselves captured "on" it. This next task is the one I take up here.