Frontline aired a powerful documentary this week about the war in Iraq, called Bad Voodoo's War. What made this show unique was that it was filmed entirely by the soldiers on the ground.
Filmmaker Deborah Scranton, who also made The War Tapes, a feature film documentary about Iraq that also featured footage shot by soldiers on the ground, tracked the progress of the Bad Voodoo platoon, National Guardsman who headed over to Iraq last June to provide escorts for supply convoys moving through the country. Before they left, she outfitted them with video cameras and they have been sending back tapes of their lives ever since.
The quality of the footage is remarkable, especially the use of multiple camera shots in single scenes. The did this by using a dashboard camera focussed on the soldiers in their trucks, another dashboard mounted camera facing forward and hand-held cameras carried by the soldiers.
You can watch the film and a lot of other features online here.
I'm very impressed by how PBS has integrated its programming with the Internet. This show, for example, is supplemented by a website with blog postings from the soldiers themselves, details about the people involved, maps of the country, interviews with the director and a very high-quality viewer where you can watch the film.
Compared to the low-quality video clips we've gotten used to on YouTube, this is startling. It makes you realize what's possible with web-based programming.
Once you've watched this film, you might be interested in some of the 72 other Frontline programs that are posted on the PBS site already, with more being added all the time.
The package is worth checking out. And kudos to PBS for the presentation.