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Emmys 2017
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Camcorder Craze

Camcorder Craze — From Ethan Hawke’s ”Hamlet” to ”Road Trip,” video cameras are popping up everywhere

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Maybe those Blair Witch kids were on to something. From Road Trip‘s racy vid to Hamlet‘s camera-toting tortured Dane, camcorders have become movies’ prop du jour. Even Sting has caught the video-verite bug; the clip for his summer hit ”Desert Rose” features the singer shooting the sandy landscape of Las Vegas. Why the sudden swell in lens-happy leading roles? Hamlet director Michael Almereyda points to good-old-fashioned narcissism. ”We’re more self-obsessed than ever, and video cameras have become our new mirrors,” says Almereyda, who had Ethan Hawke recite Hamlet’s ”To be or not to be” speech into a Fisher-Price Pixelvision camera. Gen-Y techno-literacy plays a part too, claims Road Trip producer Ivan Reitman: ”Kids today are as comfortable with this stuff as they are with paper.” Equally comfy with all this self-surveillance is the Sony Corporation; its wares have been used by Wes Bentley’s budding cinematographer in American Beauty and Road Trip‘s college kids. And, points out Linda Vuolo, Sony’s senior product marketing manager for camcorders, with flip-out LCD screens replacing viewfinders, videos within movies ”allow someone to use a camcorder without obscuring their entire face.” So now both the actor and the apparatus are ready for their close-ups.