Sunday, April 27, 2008

Final Project Ideas

For my final project I will use my camera to create a series of still pictures (each repeated 3 times a segment) to mimick the "video camera." I will print off each picture and make adjustments to it physically by drawing on it, or cutting things out and then running it back through a scanner. Hopefully when everything sinks up, it will give the appearance of movement. I've printed off a few things, and the whole process will be quite expensive. I'm looking at it like I'm almost "rotoscoping" imagery physically.
A scanner and a printer will be essential for this (and possibly a copying machine depending on how deep of contrast I'm going to try and achieve). The process will take a while so hopefully I can create a fairly lengthy project using this technique. I'm drawing on hand painting and "pixelation" to create the sense of movement.

This idea grew out of an extension of photocopying my face over and over and mimicking still video frames to create the sense of movement, but I believe that my way will ultimately be much more fast, certain, and cost effective.
I would probably use my cellphone but...I have no clue how to work it.

6x1 ideas for next year possibly?

I've really enjoyed all the things we've done in class. However, with the exception of the light describing a cone piece, I would have liked to have made video installations around the school. I think that would be an excellent Self-Directed-Study (if that's what it's called).
I am a big fan of gallery art, particularly with installations. I think that should be focused on, using film techniques to create something that isn't exactly a movie. As a companion piece to this, I would also like to see some discussion of VJing. My brother plays electronic music and from time to time I have tried to create visuals to fit the music, and when everything comes together it looks fantastic and it's quite a lot of fun.
Students could VJ their projects in class (as the gear can be quite expensive) or for an audience or collaboration with a musical group. We did something similiar in Dr. Kreul's class last year with the film "Christmas on Earth" where the students could change the color that the film was projecting through to create really psychadelic FXs. I think video installations and VJing should be seriously looked at because I think it's going to be one of the dominant art forms in the future.

Line Describing a Cone

I thought that this piece was really interesting. I'm not sure how you would classify it. Is it sculpture? Is it cinema?
The best part about it is the build up, and smelling that horrible fake fog build up in the room. The entire process of it really sort of shook me as to what experimental cinema could be, and I've been thinking a lot about projections and installations. I am a big fan of video art and VJing but this just seemed a bit beyond because you could actually interact with the art, not only as a finished project but also as it was forming. I think that is the future of video art and video performance. I have seen kids turn their nintendos into midi controllers and use them to score music or control visual affects.
The whole thing took on a new dimension when the cone was about halfway complete. You could see the spiral of it and look at how milky and ghostlike the fog looked. There was a great sense of motion about it, like the light was a physical presence or structure that the fog moved and rolled down.
When the spiral was finally done, it was amazing to stick your head right up in the center and look at the perfect circle of light, and be able to move through it. I particurarly enjoyed when people would stick their hands through. They just seemed to burst into the scene, and their shadows would ride back through the light as completely black.
I would be very much interested in pursuing things like professionally. It really was a lot of fun to experience.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Molotov Man

The article on the Molotov Man was interesting. I had never thought about the dangers of pulling things from it's context, and reappropriating them somewhere else. But, likewise, even the person photographing is taking someone else's life moment and putting it out into the world for them. The photographer was concerned about the value of the photograph and it's cultural meaning being lost, but she took it and put it out there. The artist did nothing wrong. Sure, she might have been right to say that the meaning of the Molotov Man was lost in our culture (as a Pepsi Product, an art show, a cool Icon or desktop graphic), but she isn't seeing the big picture. By recontextualizing these images, artists are able to reveal things that might otherwise never have been seen. They create new messages from the images they use. The photographer was worried about the loss of the struggle, of the Molotov Man's struggle, but at the same time, by looking at how the image is brought into our culture, it says just as much about who WE are and who the MOLOTOV MAN was at the same time. It's important to know where the image originated from to understand it, but you also need to realize why and how we are using it as a society to understand it's true significance.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chion: Sound bites...

I agree with Chion on the importance of sound in film. It has dangers and advantages to what it can add to cinema. The moment people could capture still photographs, they wanted them to be able to move, so why not be able to hear what is going on in them? Soundtracks, FXs, Dialogue etc. are required to be in our mainstream films. We need the roar of a monster. Gunshots that lead to explosions, and so on. But sound, while it adds a great deal to what the filmmakers intended a scene to be like, can also dominate the image. Just like Sergei Eisenstein's experiments with picture editing, one could take the same clip of a dog playing and sitting in the yard. The change in sounds (FXs, music) can make things seem sad and nostalgic, tense and frightening, or humorous and playful.
Of course, an image carefully constructed and played silently can have the intended emotional impact that sound can lend to it. So sound has the danger of also becoming over used, and a way to (in Chion's reference to Bergman) cover sloppy filmmaking.
One will notice the absence of sound. But you will also notice bad sound editing/design. Chion points that sound is perceived far quicker than vision, which is why sound (if used) needs to be quality at all times because it will affect the sense of cinema before the eye ever takes it in.

Single Shot Balloon Head.

I had a blast doing the single shot take exercise. Our group idea seemed like it would be really easy and funny to do during class when we worked on it, but when we finally got around to the actual production, it began to appear somewhat harder than it was.
No one really ever thought about the logistics of not being able to see when your head is a balloon, or how quickly a three people can swap a “smiley face” balloon with a Mr. Bill-esque “OH NO!” balloon, particularly when you only have a minute to shoot the footage.
But our group worked really well together, and I think we all had a blast doing it. We rehearsed the scene quite a few times at the ATM, and we got a lot of looks from people as they came to withdraw money (I would occasionally turn the big gigantic balloon head at them and stare).
Doing the project has made me come up with some more ideas to involve the character of BALLOON HEAD, and I am working on a new short film script to involve him, and to hopefully implement some greats ideas we all had but weren’t able to actually put into the finished film (notably if Balloon Head was filled with helium and could be carried around on a string).
Hopefully using some of the things I’ve learned, and some digital Fxs that can “erase” a human’s head, I can fully bring the Balloon Head to life.
Also, as I have the original film print of the short, I am thinking about painting the piece frame by frame to hopefully give it a strange, animated look.

Monday, March 3, 2008

filmscratch junkies

So, after watching the Scratch Film Junkies after the several weeks of learning to do some of the things that they have done, and I have to say that I do respect what they do more.
It wasn’t that I ever dismissed that type of art film, but knowing all the tedious things one has to do in order to create the visuals that they came up with is impressive, and I can appreciate it more. When you watch something like that for the first time, it is easy to forget the fact that they’re working with incredibly tiny frames of film, doing even more incredibly tedious actions when the image is projected so large up on the screen.
The act of film scratching seems sort of anarchic when you first see it, and I wasn’t a fan of it really the first time I ever saw it. However, once you do it, it feels somewhat liberating to be “deconstructing” your images, and distorting them.
This might be my own interpretation of the act of film scratching that although it can be tedious, and requires an intense amount of concentration to create the image you want (being that you have to scratch 24 miniscule frames by hand to create the one second of film), but I just feel that no one really knows what they’re going to do while scratching until they actually start doing it. The scratch film junkies’ video is really interesting to watch, and it does move through many various different moods and aesthetics. But I get this feel that it might just be a collection of the “best ofs” from several different collaborators and being stuck together in an arbitrary pattern.
I am really just thinking this based on my own private experience of scratching, and the fact that the Junkies’ film was so long (the song was also quite catchy, thankfully) that it seemed they’d need as much footage as possible, good or bad, to create the bulk of their work.
There is also something kind of sad and creepy about seeing old footage being “reworked.” I felt a little uneasy at one of the images in the Junkies’ film of the little baby having all the scratches surround his head. It has a very dreamy quality to it, and it instantly gives a feeling of nostalgia because the moment the image is being projected you’re seeing things that have been lost.