Friday, May 2, 2008

from the first to the last

The 48ish hour video race has come and gone and I can confidently say that it has made me a better person and has changed my life forever. But seriously, it was pretty fun/stressful/sleep depriving/invigorating. I did dread the project at the beginning because I had felt my creativity for the semester had been exhausted and to finish a film in two days seemed like it would be quite a task. But eventually I sucked it up and proceeded to make things up as I went along but keeping one thing in mind: excessive violence is always funny. I used stop motion animation because really, that was the only method I thought that would be bearable besides video shot on a digital camera. Also inanimate objects make the best actors anyway. I didn't start production until tuesday morning. I built my set from scotch tape and large sketchbook paper and set up my lighting with any household lamps I could find. I then began to gather my cast. With the "are you my mommy" concept already in mind and my lead actor established (the orange chalk egg) I decided to go with the food theme. So my cast included a sandwich, an apple, an actual egg and then a robot death cat because I think that thing is pretty bad ass. With the stage set and my kitchen ransacked I began shooting. The frame by frame animation wasn't as bad as i thought it was going to be. Because the only things moving were the characters I didn't have too many things to animate so the process went by pretty fast for the most part. The only thing that slowed me down were the shots of the orange egg confronting the sandwich and the word "NO" rolls out of the sandwiches mouth and then he devours them. This bit of clay-mation took some time because it involved gradually building up these letters and trying to reposition them as best as possible to the same place they were in the previous frame. The thing that annoyed me the most was when ever I would either bump the camera or the set. This then involved a process of me going back and making sure that everything was back in place. You can see where the camera accidently pans to the left after the real egg is smashed. For the last part of the story I decided to use actual video because I thought it broke up some of the jumpiness of the stop motion and added to the surprise of when the egg gets smashed by the hammer. I used the utmost care when doing this and covered everything surrounding the set in plastic wrap. The techno finale was just thrown in for even more randomness. It was just a simple animation done in after effects. The screening of these projects provided the perfect setting to watch these shorts. The shower curtain screen, lawn chairs, booming airplanes and barking dogs echoed this very rough theme that was shown on screen. It was the perfect finish to this race as we all gathered to watch some generally violent films. In the 48 hour video race, everybody wins.

Friday, January 18, 2008

6x1, a whole new dimension in film making (get it.... dimension)

So far all i have to say is that i am loving this hands on approach to filmmaking. Though i have yet to actually start on the elemental project i have enjoyed being able to work with something tangible and something that can't be deleted from my computer. Also, not having to worry about writing to DV is a load off my mind. This has become a great opportunity for me to get to use some of my supah cool vintage 16mm home movie equipment complete with flammable/toxic glue, scorching light bulbs and exposed moving parts. I was able to see my film loop on my projector, the only problem being the bulb was burnt out so in a Macgyver-esque fashion i rigged a flashlight up to the back of it and it worked like a charm. Because my experimentation stopped when class ended monday i don't have any tips and personal experiences to share, buut a reliable source suggested the used of a bleach pen to get a cool and more controlled discoloration on the emulsion. Goal for this next week: do something. Simple enough, right?

oooh yeah, about "To the Beat". Personally, I like to take most things at face value. From a technical point of view I thought the film was really cool looking, nuff said. But to elaborate I'd say what stood out to me most was how seamlessly stock footage and clear film stock was combined together. There wasn't one point that i could pick out where one stopped and the other started. This film used lots of kewl techniques i hope i can pick up and apply to my own film. Particularly using cutouts from different film stock to get the same effect as the scratch film junkies did when the head of the man appeared on screen. I'm hoping that because of this film and this class i can allow myself to take a technical approach to filmmaking, exploring the limits of the medium (that's right film as a medium) to achieve a pleasing end product; meaning i do not want to have any preconceived notions of my films outcome for this project in particular. In short make it up as i go along because happy accidents are better than shitty ideas.