Videogum

I Found All This Footage, Now What?

Gabe Delahaye | January 21, 2013 - 6:00 pm

Over the weekend I found all this footage, but now I’m not sure what to do with it. There were all of these Hi-8 tapes in a…box…in an attic? Next to a music box that started playing when I didn’t even touch it? Or wait, maybe I found them in a…backpack…in the…woods? At a campsite that seemed to have been abandoned in a hurry, there was a pot of beans still cooking on the fire? Look, the important thing isn’t WHERE I found the footage but just that the footage was found. There was a note with the tapes written in blood that said “This is real footage that you have found. Please send helllll” but then the message trails off so I am not sure what the end of the message was about. Here’s my question, though: now what?

For one thing, I can’t watch the footage. Who has a Hi-8 camera anymore? If you ask me, this was a weird choice to begin with and I’m not sure what kind of self-respecting community college film class assigning a “documentary” project would make their students use outdated equipment. What is that supposed to be teaching them? That no one and no thing escapes the ravages of time? They’ll learn that fast enough when they graduate and end up having to get a job at a Starbucks inside a Barnes and Noble because there weren’t any jobs available at the Barnes and Noble proper. Also, how long did these kids have to complete this project? There are like 100 tapes over here. You would think at a certain point the teacher would say enough is enough, this is just to give you a sense of how to edit together a narrative from raw footage. Nothing you’re filming is actually important. We have to move on to the next assignment now, kids. But so, like, OK, hindsight is 20/20 and the teacher’s syllabus is junk, but here we are. What’s done is done. What’s been allowed through a portal into our world has been allowed through a portal into our world. And I’ve got all these goddamned tapes to prove it. So do I get the Hi-8 tapes transfered to digital copies? Supposing I am even willing to shell out the cash to do so, now what?

Let’s just go ahead assume that there is an ancient and unspeakable evil captured on these tapes. It’s not going to reveal itself until, like, the 99th or maybe even the 100th tape. Everything up until then is going to be spooky at best, and certainly not terrifying. Do I just skip to this last tape? Or am I somehow expected to go through all of this footage just because I found it? Honestly, if that’s the case, I do not know if I can do it. I can watch maybe five minutes of shaky, handheld footage of “Michael” getting the camera for his “birthday” and then maybe five more minutes of all his friends in the car and at school by their lockers sticking their hands into the lens and saying “Why are you always taping everything, dude, put the camera down for once. YOLO” tops. After that I will just watch something on Netflix streaming or whatever. Last night’s episode of Enlightened, maybe. I’m an adult. My patience is worn thin.

But, OK, so let’s pretend that I make it through the entire box of found footage and discover that the curse is impossible to lift and that death refuses to be cheated and now all of their young but not-innocent souls have been stolen back to the realm of the ancient ones. Worst case scenario: I’m doomed just by watching this stuff. I’ve heard of that happening one time. That’s how Naomi Watts died. That alone is almost reason to not even touch this stuff and to just put it right back in the child’s suitcase underneath the floorboards hidden by the metal dog cage filled with bloody newspapers and dolls where I found it. But, OK, let’s say that doesn’t happen. Let’s say I can safely review the found footage without myself becoming entwined in the endless horrors these poor kids unleashed on themselves (while never bothering to put the camera down, and like, were they constantly having to find outlets to charge the camera’s batteries so they could keep filming? Haha, I don’t know! That’s one for the scientists to figure out!). Now I’m just expected to patiently edit this thing together into a cohesive story for other people to watch? That’s how this works? Do you know how long it takes to edit 100 tapes worth of footage into a digestible 1.5 hours? Do you know how much people get paid do that? Yeah. Fuck you. Do you know how much Final Cut Pro costs? Who’s going to pay for that? These dead children’s ghosts? Hardly.

Forget it. I’m throwing these tapes in the fucking garbage where they belong. They’re on the curb if you want them. Good luck, Susan E. Morse Jr. Knock yourself out.