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Can you believe your eyes? : Using film as evidence in history.


So it is essential to remember that we can’t always believe our eyes! Most films are the result of the editing process. Filmed footage may be altered through cutting into a “shot”. Then as part of the editing process these shots are combined with other “shots”. It is important to think about how these shots influence each other.

Therefore, when using film as evidence, it is worth looking at how these shots have been arranged for the camera. Finally, it is also useful to find out if filming has taken place on location or in a studio, has artificial light been used, what camera angles have been employed and if the scene has been framed in a particular way.

Awareness of many of these factors can help us evaluate film as evidence and discover how, like any other historical source, it makes its own meaning.