Some basic advice about video in archaeology

Yesterday I was seeing one of the number of videos about an archaeological project somewhere in Italy and this one was deadly dull. The problem is that there are so many videos like this one: repeating shooting of the empty excavation and some background music. The result is that the audience have no reason in keeping on watching it because the footage isn’t involving and because a site presented in this way is soon forgotten.

This kind of video has a meaning if it is part of a larger presentation, inside a website or a multimedia presentation. Not inside YouTube, that is a “passive” holder, where the object has its own sense alone.

Archaeology needs other kind of videos and communication in general.

Some basic advice could be right for many genres of video about archaeology:

  • A video about an excavation can’t be mute or only with background music. It’s boring.
  • Νarrativity. The video has to be a well-defined structure inside which all the shoots have a meaning in order to create a sort of story. Not too long.
  • Multivocality. Not only the director of the works should speak, but a number of the archaeologists who works in the site. Everyone has his point of view and everyone speaks in a different way. The video is going to be more various and less flat.
  • Alternate close-up shoots of archaeologists with shoots of the site and other with archaeologists at work.

I think the communication of archaeology, especially in Italy, has to switch its focus from the site towards the work of archaeologists within the site and for the site. This focus has to be evident also in video-communication, such as in this video.

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