Monday, April 30, 2007

Project 3/6 Evals

The class project was something that I felt could have been a little more rewarding an experience. The concept was original but I think that there could have been a more cohesive project put forth. But that could probably only have happened with smaller groups like we talked about in class last week. The hand processing portion was neat, inasmuch as I watched the techniques that the other groups in the class used to get their images as much as experimenting with our own filmstrip. My real love for the project came with the sound fx portion of the film. Adrian and I rented the Marantz from Tony and walked around campus one day trying to find sounds that we thought would benefit the sports theme of the film. We walked all around the gym getting the different sounds of swimming, basketball, etc. But the best sound came when we were walking back to the car and a plane flew overhead, no words needed - Adrian pointed the mic and I hit record. Played beautifully with the discus thrower. I do agree that limiting the groups to four people would greatly enhance the clarity of idea and concept among future submissions.

The collage project was one of the more difficult projects for me this semester, that is not to say I didn't enjoy, but it challenged me further. I spent a lot of time collecting footage and sound for the project with constantly shifting ideas and plans. The deadline kept approaching and I still had no conviction for anything of my outlines for the collage' structure or narrative. Finally I had a Sunday night off and I sequestered myself in the lab. As I started reviewing my footage I realized I had gathered clips that contained a lot of footage that was similar in style and aesthetics to films I have seen in the last few months and I wanted to use my all-time favorite medium - the movie trailer - as the base for telling my rather "moments only" story i'd found in the footage. I felt fairly pleased with it, I spent much, much closer to the audio this time around. Layering sound is...dynamic to the ear, I'm starting to believe. What I took away from the comments was the lack of the "movie announcer voice", i'm still looking for good samples.
A fulfilling project and and fun end to the semester.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stop (jerky) Motion

I found myself very excited the other week when we were preparing to watch the stop motion projects. However, I found myself disappointed in the quality of work that my group put out. We took far too few pictures to have a real idea of what is supposed to be happening in the frame. Some of the shots we did came out well, with the three or four tries at capturing the falling mousetrap we did get one or two good takes. I still like a lot of the shots we used - such as the Indiana Jones homage - but should have taken 4 times as many pictures for this to have made sense. I am eager to pull out some of the recording equipment to capture sfx for the class project. I think Adrian and I are going to take a day off from things and capture as much sound as we can. I expect we'll come up some interesting places to record at. Plus there's always everything we can find to bang on in our closets. haha. I do look forward to see what these look like once the frames have been slowed down and such. Good to be back in class.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Children of Men; or How to be Gansgter

It has been a long time since i have seen a movie in twice before it left theaters. This past weekend I saw Children of Men for the second time. The Cinematography has been called groundbreaking. The use of the long take as a motif for completely pulling the audience along for the ride increases the Average Shot Length long beyond the 4-6 seconds that has become the norm in the last decade. There are multiple shots in the 3+ minute range; complicated action sequences and car chases. This film is the definition of intensity. The descriptions i have heard so far are; badass, gangster, intense, amazing, badass..etc. There were new filming technologies employed to capture one of these sequences. I included a link to a short featurette on the filming - click on the pic. Be careful what other videos you go to see though if you haven't seen the film yet. You could definitely spoil some of the impact and surprises for yourself. Just waiting to buy it now.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Plagiarism and such

I found "The ecstasy of influence" an interesting read. The authors sure seemed to hit the nail on the head in accordance with why borrowing and/or copying has steadfastly survived the ages. The idea of homage that was stressed was something that occurred to me while watching Hitchcock's Rebecca for the first time this past weekend. In it curious lightbulb flashed on in my head. In the film Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers is going about ruining the second Mrs. De Winters state of mind. When she makes her ominous turn, her head makes a completely exaggerated turn, up and away from her verbal victim. I have seen that exact move in many horror, campy, comedy and more movies done to comic effect (sometimes intentioned and sometimes not). But there i realized i was seeing it being done for the first time (probably...maybe) and it held, even for me who associates with campy movies such as Evil Dead, a certain resonance.

When the author recalled the time he was handed a copy of his first published book carved to resemble its title i was intrigued, especially by "the belief that simply placing objects in unexpected context reinvigorates their mysterious qualities." Taking different approaches to old material sparks new and interesting structures. We, as a people, have built on the shoulders of giants, we did not start building at the same sea level as those who were alive for the invention of the telephone. Upon seeing "Reservoir Dogs" for the first time, "Stuck in the middle with you" gets a completely new association for most people. i can't hear the song without thinking of ears. Cross-Cut Editing is built upon the associations that people give attribute to different images. Many contend that however we can further richen the dearth of subjects/media to go by we will have that much fuller an experience. I can't see why not.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

From Titans to Pes

I must say, I was excited when you first played that Pes "Kaboom" video. Stop-motion animation has been a favorite of mine ever since I saw Clash of the Titans in 6th grade. There's a playful, expressive quality to stop-action that cant be achieved through other forms of animation. In fact, there was once an X-Files episode where the director filmed a man in a suit (the monster) then cut out certain frames so as to give the appearance of it actually being stop-motion. (It would have been to expensive to film the whole scene with a puppet) Even with the advent of CGI animated movies, people still seem to gravitate toward the stop-motion gems (Nightmare before Christmas). Michel Gondry has used it, many on youtube have made simple lego/GI Joe movies. Hell, Pes was contracted by Bacardi to make a series of commercials for their flavored rums. Right now i have a drawer that i am filling exclusively with items for our stopmotion project and i must admit, i am excited.

Monday, February 5, 2007

I was watching the boobtube tonight and i saw this ipod ad. It immediately caught my eye as a modern commercial setting for the type of film making by Stan Brakhage and the Scratch Film Junkies. Either way, it was the first ipod commercial in a while to catch my eye. Click on the window.
Reading Stan Brakhage's gave me a completely different impression of the man than I had gathered from the films of his that we viewed in class the last couple of weeks. To my untrained eye, Stan Brakhage's films seemed as they had little unifying theme or vision. To be honest I had a hard time trying to distinguish a message from the films. But I suppose, at least in the words of Terry Linehan, that all it need do is elicit emotion. So I admit, I was somewhat surprised at the lengths to which it seems Mr. Brakhage puts himself completely into every aspect of the filmmaking process. Just his knowledge of which film types need what treatment to be spliced together. I found his anecdote on Inauguration of the Pleaure Dome to be interesting. To think that something at that high a technical challenge has been reduced to somewhat inexpensive software and a few extra video cables snaking out of your computer. After reading his article I would like to read more about this man. Especially any commentary he has on any of his films. Try as I might, I just cannot compel myself to get lost in his films. They may have moments of beautiful imagery, but i feel that it is more of a transient expression than anything. To me he seems to fall prey to what he warns against with the 3 projector set up: Are you making a film, or are you making an ornament. Something like this produced these days would make a be on a screen in the lobby entrance for a corporation nowadays. (That is not to say that I do not believe people make this their serious endeavor, i just cannot grasp the emotion). But the article does go to prove that he is an extremely talented man.