Friday, April 24, 2015

Ranking the Projects

1- Freestyle- It was really fun to brainstorm on ideas and do something unique. It forced me to take on a personal project that I wouldn't necessarily have done otherwise. I also really enjoyed hearing what everyone came up with in class. I think that it will be really cool to see how everyone's projects turned out at the end of the year!

2- Bolex Shoot- I totally love working with real film cameras and I enjoyed learning how to process and transfer film. Seeing the film all the way through from loading the camera to transferring it to digital and editing the cut was an awesome experience. I really felt like I had ownership over this project. Although our project did not turn out as planned, it was a great learning experience. 

3-Rhythmic Edit- To be honest, when we were first presented this project, I thought I was going to hate it. My style of editing is much slower and more intuitive than following a formula. However, it was really cool to explore with a different style, and I really like the way my edit of Kevin turned out. Playing around with the music was my favorite part! I also really liked the idea of pairing us up and having each person make a portrait of the other. I felt like it gave us interesting insight into our classmates. 

4-Animation- Learning about stop motion animation was definitely cool. It is crazy how time consuming the process is! This project definitely gave me a newfound respect for the imagination and patience of animators. I liked that we were able to work in groups for the video, but then each many our own soundscape. Playing with the power of sound is something I really enjoyed in this class. 

5-Film manipulation- I have to say, I wasn't too interested in the way our film looked when it was projected... that kind of film is a little too abstract for my taste. That being said, I did have a lot of fun messing around with the film and seeing what happened when we put bleach, sprinkles, and magazine prints on the film. While this was fun to make, I didn't really leave me with a film work that I could be proud of. 

6- Crowd sourcing- I think that the idea of crowd sourcing sounds really nice, but for the amount of work I did for this project, it felt like there was little benefit. I put a lot of time and effort into my slides so it was disappointing to see that a lot of people didn't turn all of theirs in. Months later, we still haven't seen the end result so I almost feel like all the work I did for that project was for nothing :-/

Generally, I liked all of the projects. I thought each one was unique and helped us to explore an entirely different aspect of filmmaking, which I appreciated. This class has been such a great creative outlet this semester, and has opened my mind up to a lot of different types of filmmaking. With all of these projects, I especially liked the hands on approach. I really feel that I learned a lot. 

Bolex Shoot

I love shooting with bolex cameras, so I was super excited for this project. We decided to shoot our one minute film by some abandoned railroad tracks. The plot was a short horror film that depicts a girl in a white dress (me) walking along the tracks, dropping white flowers as she goes. Behind her, a scary man in a wolf mask is weaving in and out of frame between the trees. She walks closer and closer to the camera until you can only see her legs. Her legs suddenly stop, and all of the flowers she is hold fall. The camera pans down to a body on the tracks, covered in blood (blue food coloring), right before the shot ends you see you legs walking up behind the girl's legs.
So this was the plan anyway. The shoot itself went really smoothly. We blocked everything out really well and the timing was perfect. Developing the film went pretty smoothly as well. While I have previously shot on bolex cameras, I had never had the opportunity to develop the film, so that was really cool! Transferring the film onto the projector, however, was another story entirely. We had trouble running the film through and then when we finally got it, the projector shredded our film. It was disappointing because it felt like all of the time we spent on planning the shoot went to waste. However, once Andre showed us the film he had contacted printed onto another reel, I was really excited. The distortion of the reel actually ended up looking really cool and while it wasn't our original plan, I think the final edit might end up looking cooler than our idea. I guess when you are working with real film you have to have an open mind and just learn to roll with the punches. You never know what might happen to your film through the process. I'm just glad that we got the opportunity to work with real film cameras and explore that process. I hope that I get more chances to work with film in the future.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rough Theater

I really liked the reading about Rough Theater and its authentic character. It pretty much just validated my thoughts on all art in general and the way I have created movies for the past few years. I completely agree that in both theater and film, at the end, it doesn't really matter how clean and polished the work is, if it isn't a story that grasps people or that people can relate to in a personal way, the work will not succeed. Sometimes the cleanness of a film or a theater production can actually hurt its overall effect. In a way, people really do crave the sweat and the humanness of a work of art. I have always tried to implement this in my filmmaking, often calling attention to the film itself, or sacrificing clean sound or camera movements because one of my subjects said something really raw or interesting that I didn't want to leave out. Because I am most interested in documentary and experimental film, I feel grateful that I have more freedom to work with "rough theater" elements like not caring so much about color correcting or clean edits, but really trying to focus on the essence or the feeling or the thought of the film. Film really is such a powerful way to tell stories and share experiences and ideas. As I continue to find my voice within the filmmaking world, I will try to refer back to this article for inspiration.

16 mm Film Manipulation Second Response

This was the first project I have done in a film class that involved no cameras or computers. It was really awesome to work with real film in a creative way that you could actually touch. I love film, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the amount of media and screens involved in the production and editing process. I really do not like to stare at screens all day and it is the one downfall with working with film these days is that you don't actually get to work with film, its all digital media. I had a lot of fun experimenting with the different forms of film manipulation and seeing how it all turned out of the projector. I had never scratched film (on purpose) or doused it in bleach or worked with magazine transferring before, so I had no idea how it was going to turn out. Like working with film cameras, you couldn't really tell how the final product was going to look until the film was in the projector. I was pleasantly surprised with the way our reel turned out because even some of the places that looked boring or messy on the film, ended up coming to life in the projector. It is sad that working with real film is becoming more rare of an experience, even for film majors. I never realized how different working with film is as opposed to working with media... it really is a completely different art. In my opinion, it is more authentic and gives the films themselves more character to work with actual film, especially to work with film with your bare hands. 

R3 Response

All of the assigned media for this week is about crowd sourcing, which I have to admit I have mixed feelings about. I like the idea of everyone collaborating and coming together to make something bigger, but in the end, it does not feel like the work involved for each person really pays off. For example, I spent several hours working on the frames for our assignment, and I am not going to get very much credit for it... my frames will only take up a fraction of a 1 minute film. The other problem is that a lot of people in the class did not even turn all of their frames in, and even some of the people who did put limited time and energy into it (often just making lame scribbles in the page), which decreases the effectiveness of the entire project for everyone. I will say that I am a control freak when it comes to creative authorship, so I don't see crowd sourcing in my future as an artist. However, it was an interesting experiment and it was definitely cool to see other crowd sourcing projects going on in the world. One of the best examples is Wikipedia, where people combine knowledge and create this amazing online library where people can learn about so much. The Cloud Filmmaking manifesto was also an interesting example but again, I don't think I would want to be a part of something like that moving forward because I don't think the payoff is even with the work involved.

R2 Response

The first video "Listen" was all about soundscapes and how the sound has the same power to tell a story as images do. The main guy in the video is talking about the power of soundscapes, while also being filmed with and commenting on the vibrant soundscape behind him. He points out how when we actually listen to things, it enriches our live and our experiences. I like that spent the last couple of minutes not saying anything, just holding up a sign that said "Listen". The writing "Acoustic Ecology" also emphasizes the importance of listening. Last semester in Shannon's experimental production class, we had to do a lot of listening exercises and tell a story only using sound. I like that this article talks about the wisdom that the earth and the landscape has to share with us when we quiet down and take the time to listen to the world around us. I realized after reading this how much more I need to notice the little things in life, as cliche as that sounds. The video about Justin Boyd was fascinating. His sensitivity to sound and how he has implemented his passion for sound in such a cool way. Each object's sound that he works with has a personal story and really pulls you in. Like the other medias assigned for this week, the interview with R. Murray Schafer, the "father of acoustic ecology" enhanced my appreciation and awareness of sound. Because we are bombarded with so much, we often tune things out, sometimes the best things like wind through leaves or birds singing. The calming, quiet parts of life that hold wisdom and truth within them. We have so many more sounds that did not used to exist before and as a defensive mechanism, we often block entire sounds out, forgetting to let in the best parts that enrich our lives. Moving forward, I am definitely going to be more aware of the sounds around me, especially in the natural world. 

R1 Response

The first page was a wiki page on Synesthesia, which is something I had never heard of before. I find the concept of Synesthesia pretty complicated to grasp. The page we had to read describes it as the stimulation of one of the senses, involuntarily activating another sense in the body. I vaguely understand this idea, but the examples given including correlating colors and numbers confused me. Perhaps further into the semester I will be able to more throughly grasp this idea. 
After reading the second page about cymatics, things became a little more clear. I have heard about this kind of art before and I think it is really awesome. The artist uses sound waves and matter (either liquid or sand or something of that sort) to create something unique. The matter is moved and affected by the sound waves, which usually results in some beautiful pattern or movement that makes music, not only an audible experience, but also a visual one. The video about Daniel Tammet was extremely intriguing and allowed me to understand things further. It made me wonder if only autistic people or special people could fully grasp the idea of synesthesia. His speach allowed me to realize how important perception and its power are in our daily lives. The differences in peoples minds and how they experience reality are amazing.