Radio Carbon is a documentary made using a methodology for creating conscious digital video projects with a process privileging respect for crew, subject, and environment over the needs of a commercial, or market driven product. The guidelines imposed by this method are fluid, and project-specific in terms of their exact interpretation for each film. This project is meant to demonstrate a production style that allows for work to be made by the participants without a dominating creative force at every stage of production. This is made possible through the introduction of chance operations at several key points along the production process, and in doing so we wrest some measure of cinematic honesty from projects that would otherwise be particularly vulnerable to auteur bias. For this specific project, I have applied these practices to a hybrid documentary personal essay film. The film employs a fictional narrative as a framing device for interviews with three of my former art professors as they discuss their different approaches to the artistic process as it relates to their own personal transformations and cycles within their lives. These interviews are intercut with the narrative journey made by the crew between subjects after visiting one of Colorado’s many abandoned mines and carrying with us a dangerous artifact that begins to corrode my body, mind, and even the video files in the finished sequences. The juxtapositions between these sequences are marked by video compression glitches. By blending clips together and denying a strict boundary between truth and fiction on screen, the film asks how we can approach digital cinema while understanding that by simply observing something we are destroying and recreating the world around us, as well as the world on screen.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Documentary films--Production and direction; Experimental films--Production and direction; Abandoned mines--Colorado
Film and Animation (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CAD)
Stokes, Robert, "Radio Carbon - Hybrid Documentary Process" (2021). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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