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Video Days: and What We Saw Through the Viewfinder Paperback – March 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468006800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468006803
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,333,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

NANCY CAIN began playing with video as a member of Videofreex, the radical video collective in New York that shot footage of the Woodstock Festival and the Chicago Eight. She worked on the first video pilot ever shot for network television with the Videofreex at CBS in 1969, and ran an offbeat weekly video show at the Videofreex loft in Soho. She cofounded Lanesville TV—known as “Probably America’s Smallest TV Station.” The pirate broadcasts were made possible by a transmitter donated by Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Along with TVTV, she defined the video documentary movement of the 70s, known as “guerrilla television.” Cain was a co-creator and producer of The ’90s, a weekly hour-long alternative show for PBS, which the New York Post called “refreshingly irreverent, opinionated and outlandish.” She was the co-creator and producer of CamNet The Camcorder Network, America’s first all camcorder channel. Rolling Stone designated CamNet second only to HBO in their list of “the ten things in 1993 that didn’t suck,” and heralded CamNet as “a brilliant and democratic vision … a peoples CNN,” and “the inevitable next stop in the liberation of television from network owners and broadcasters.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Greg Miller on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Before Youtube and reality TV, there was Nancy Cain and the Videofreex. This book is a really fun, super-readable account of the early days of guerilla documentaries by someone who was everywhere in the days when being there involved dragging heavy recorders and bulky cameras. Her prose is as revealing and accurate as her camera was. An insightful look into the origins of our now-pervasive do-it-yourself, tell-all culture. It makes you want to grab your smartphone and start making movies - or better yet, go back in time and do it with Nancy and her colorful committed cohorts.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J.R. Milton on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the most exciting book I've read in a long, long time. Nancy Cain's Video Days brought back all the intensity of the 1960s and 70s when political radicals believed in the "revolution" and embarked upon a million activities to bring it about. One of these activities was alternative television, and Video Days presents the full scope of its impact for the reader to enjoy.

Beautifully written and rich in historical detail, the book took my breath away with its scope and accuracy. Cain is a master of the cryptic comment, the elliptical phrase and the sequenced non-sequitur. Her writing is funny, engaging and meaningful to all those who relished the ironic realities of the so-called counterculture, as Cain and other media radicals provided alternative coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions from 1972 to 1992 along with other political milestones. Cain's genius is to reveal how the ideals and messages of this counterculture have shaped present day media in a way 60s radicals never would have believed.

Video Days should be read by everyone wanting to know the spiritual heritage of social media---this is where it started, kids.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By unreconstructedrebel on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a history of how today's media got the message of good journalism later warped and distorted by "the suits". At least now we know where the skillset came from and what a world of hurt,fun and hard work got the revolutionary 60's and 70's recorded so.perfectly. What a wonderful trip.l:
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lovelace on April 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nancy Cain's VIDEO DAYS is a first rate book that works on multiple levels. It's a moving personal history and also provides an essential first hand account of how video has evolved over the past forty or so years. As a founding member of the influential media collective the Vidoefreex she was there in the very early days.

This book should be required reading for all film/tv/communication majors. And will appeal to anyone interested in how media has evolved through the years. Mostly though, it's a well written, compelling lens into the crazy times we've experienced over the past five decades.
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By Phaedra on June 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
You've never read anything like this fascinating, beautifully written memoir before because nobody ever did what Nancy Cain and the Videofreex did before: they were among the early creators of video.

In the 60's, the images most people made were home movies, brilliantly colored Kodachrome photos, and spontaneous Polaroid shots. Nancy Cain and the other members of the Videofreex collective realized that the new video technology would allow them to bypass television's commercial overlay and restrictions, free themselves from protocols that constricted academic historians, and become documentarians on their own. They witnessed and reported on the dramatic historical events of the era's radical politics and turned the everyday life of small communities into living anthropological records.

Intuitively gifted at making memorable, meaningful visual images, the author is also a talented writer. She reveals dramatic and moving details of her life with grace and poetic delicacy. It takes a lot of courage to be as honest as she is; it takes a lot of skill to make it look so easy.

Technological advances---cell phones and little, light-weight video cameras---have come a long way from those early days. We're now able to follow revolutionary toppling of oppressive governments, see acts of brutality with our own eyes and deny their perpetrators the ability to get away with hiding or denying them, observe brave deeds that inspire us to find our own courage, delight in seeing a bulldog speed down a street on a skateboard. Embodying the spirit of explorers of old, the Videofreex improvised the pathway that made this global sharing of historical events and homegrown humor an essential part of our lives, and Nancy Cain tells how they did it with impressive skill.
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