Dead Birds Migrating: DVD Reinvigorates Classic Ethnographic Film

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Abstract

The DVD release of Robert Gardner's Dead Birds exemplifies the added value of extra features and the improvement in viewing quality when existing ethnographic films are distributed in this new medium. Whereas in the past, ethnographic films have been experienced as transitory performances, a nonlinear medium like DVD makes it possible to read a film the way one reads a book, stopping, reflecting, and reviewing. The inclusion of multiple soundtracks, additional sequences, and associated texts affords a density of content that has not previously been possible in either films or books.

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