Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Ending is Upon Us; The Ratings are In

The end of the semester is here, and another film class is over. The projects this semesters was among the most innovative I've ever done, and I really found myself pushing boundaries and things I was unaware that I was capable of.

The Ratings/Standings:

1.) Cameraless Assignment - To be honest, I thought I was going to hate this one the most. For me, I used to have a hard time with experimental film that dealt with messing around with film, like Brakhage or something to that effect. However, I had a lot of fun with this and it helped me to "get" experimental film. I have a much greater respect for it and it's because I was able to go through a process that filmmakers may go through. Also, the little constraint of freedom (only a few requirments) also was nice to have.

2.) Freestyle - I really had fun shooting my freestyle, but it probably because of the little constraints that existed for this project. I was able to do something that no one else did and it felt personal.

3.) Rhythmic Editing - Fun to do, tedious editing that paid off in the ending. Loved it.

4.) Bolex - I loved this project; using one take was a neat idea, and I especially loved adding secondary sense elements with rough theatre, it felt really nice and cool to do.

5.) Animation - The only reason this isn't higher is just because of the long process of shooting the frames. It was cool to work under a time constraint to shoot during class, but it also felt fast paced and stressful to get everything done. Great project though!

6.) Crowdsourcing - I love the idea of crowdsourcing and I had a lot of fun making frames that came together with everyone else, but my only thing is it didn't feel "personal," much like the other projects. Each project had groups and partners, but I felt like everyone collaborated and had feedback and ideas. For crowdsourcing, there is an idea at the beginning of the project and the frames correspond to that idea, rather than a collective collaboration.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Rough Theatre: Making Film Real

For some, rough theatre may be dealing with an immersion into a story, something that feels real to the viewer. With films, people have been trying different techniques for years, such as trying to add smells or a feeling, like spraying water onto an audience member. While these things would be beneficial in helping the audience member into immersion into the world of the film, I feel like some of these elements are cheated, or aren't real enough. Something feels fake about it, as if it is being forced onto the viewer.

For myself, I would have to say the idea of music is where my rough theatre would spawn. Some bands, such as El Ten Eleven, play their music, or just jam on stage, with a projection playing in the background of some nature video. My idea would be to make a narrative film, void of music, and then play the music to the film as it is being played. For myself, I would not write any of the music out and just feel the emotion of the scene: is it a minor key? Major? What chords work here? Should the notes be alone? The possibilities are endless.

There are times when I get bored by TV shows and I just start to jam on my guitar, and sometimes, I experiment with trying to feel a scene and play music according to the images I see. It is something I enjoy doing, something that I feel like composers may do already. However, I don't think I could record a different soundtrack and have that continuously be the same soundtrack played every time. Recently, BBC released a version of Drive with a completely different soundtrack, but it felt weird. Not just because I was used to the older soundtrack, but because it didn't feel spontaneous. Imagine seeing a movie with a band jamming to each scene with whatever they feel like works for the scene.

That's an interesting subject. An interesting idea. Something worth trying out.

Monday, October 27, 2014

One Take; We Are the Next Emmanuel Lubezki

When I watch any film with Emmanuel Lubezki, there's a certain feel to it: natural and long. Most recently, he was the director of photography behind Birdman, which was, reportedly, shot and edited to look like one continuous take through the whole film. He's also responsible for Gravity, The Tree of Life, and Children of Men, all of which feel so natural and real.

This is the experience I had with the bolex; when we watched what we captured, I felt something different than anything I had ever done. I had tried long takes before, but usually failed to accomplish much of anything. But with this one, everything our group did was so calculated and deliberate, something out of a Lubezki shot film. For ours, we ran the scene without filming at least fifteen times before we finally got to the point that we felt like we had all the motions down and the beats.

It felt real, almost like a performance, rather than a film. Everything flowed and never stopped when filming, and it felt like a fluid motion of filming. What was interesting, however, is how real it felt considering what we filmed. We filmed like a fake surfing kind of thing, using a tarp as a wave, and a longboard instead of surfing. This was an experience of something made up and false, using such natural techniques that felt oddly real to use.

Without the Camera; Where's the Meaning?

When making the cameraless experimental film, I was unsure how it would come out. For myself, I always found it to be difficult to truly appreciate some experimental films. It wasn't until Un Chien Andalou that I finally began to take notice of experimental films. I began to take notice of the techniques used and how some things in a film translate a different meaning from person to person. And when I began to make this film, I realized the fun behind the filmmaking of these. What my partner, Curry, and I made was "Non-fiction; Fiction. Love," which can be seen below:

When it came to putting it all together, I had such an amazing time. The rayogram was an interesting part with how the film had all the objects printed onto it with lights. I really enjoyed drawing on the film and seeing it come out, and also using beads to see how it printed onto the film. The magazine transfer was very fun, especially on the cutting floor, as Curry and I were able to use the magazine transfers to separate the film into three parts: Non-fiction, which mainly focused on the print and magazine transfers, Fiction, which was the animation, and Love, which consisted of manipulating the older footage.

What I did for the video, which wasn't originally a part of the project, was add music to it as well, which I feel added another element that I really enjoyed doing. It added another element of sound that was missing, but seemed to add another part that added another meaning to the video. And what's interesting is, I still have yet to find what the video speaks to me, the filmmaker. Some people have really liked the project, and others have stated that they didn't get it, and I think that's a success. It's something that's challenging. Something new. Something unexplored.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We're So Unnatural, Let's Go Back

For myself, I tend not to use social media anymore. Something about the relationships between people in the online world scares me a little bit. I look at some people post everyday, and I can't help but think about when I was like that. So, for the media fast, that wasn't the issue for me: it was the rest of media. Movies, music, radio, etc. That's where the fear came from, as I listen to music all day, watch movies to help get over some bad news or help my mind, and try to keep my mind working. However, I began to find the meaning of the fast immediately, within seconds of leaving my headphones behind on my way to class:

Unnatural Surroundings.

As I began to walk to class without music for the first time in years, I noticed everyone soaked in a small device or headphones. As I walked down Chancellor's Walk, I noticed every single person either listening to music or texting or calling. Only a handful of people were actually interacting. What was happening? I realized how much people don't look up and see the trees, a bird, or even a beautiful person that is meant to be their soulmate. They miss all the opportunities. They miss the natural part of life: face to face interaction.

When I eat with people, I always watch and see who is on their phone while at the table. It scares me how many people can't turn off the screen for a prolonged period of time and just chat. Or even while watching a movie: every detail is so important and during that text you just sent, you missed the explanation of Twin Peaks last episode you watched with questions. It's a terrifying feeling to look at everyone and notice how many people can't tear themselves away from this tiny screen.

However, something I didn't expect was a different look towards media when returning. Since listening to music and watching films since the media fast, I've been feeling totally different, like there is an emotion I'm feeling. I'm feeling the sadness of someone singing about their depression, I feel grief for the widow who lost her child. I place myself deep into something now, and I notice new things that I never realized before. Almost as if the break allowed me to feel natural again and then see its representations.

Let's go back to being natural. Drop the screen and crack it, so you're not as tempted to look away from the beauty and into pixels.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Can You Hear Me? Is There Anybody Out There?

As world progresses forward, the sounds of the world became a "wall of sound," almost comparable to Queen, Deafheaven, Grateful Dead, or other bands that experiment with this style of music. The sound is dense and full of reverb, covering the listener with layers of sounds. Like the article pointed out, sounds are becoming overpowering; living in a city becomes so daunting. The sounds of cars constantly moving, people constantly talking, and nothing taking a rest for even a second. But, the farther you move from the city, the sounds becoming quieter and more mellow. For myself, I love camping, not just because it is far from society and the interconnectivity of the internet and phones, but also from the sounds of the city.

In the woods, everything begins to make sense. The way that Schafer talks about performing "Princess of the Stars" strikes me well. When I am in the woods, I listen to the sounds of the wildlife and sometimes I even respond to it. I whistle to the birds, hearing them respond, and there's something about that experience that makes me feel more intertwined with nature. And none of the sounds are copyrighted. This concept to me is absolutely crazy; that Harley-Davidson copyrighted the sound of their motor is something that doesn't make sense to me. It's a sound created into a world of sounds and it makes me wonder about distinct sounds.

The short film drives at this point, about sounds and listening carefully and hearing the distinct sounds and pinpointing what they are. When I was watching the film, I was noticing how the sound mixing was done, which was fairly interesting in trying put the viewer into perspective of the character. But, the part that hit me was at the end when he held the paper with "Listen." written on it. I was in the library watching it and started listening intently, much like I would if I was backpacking in the woods. Instead of hearing anything from the video, I started to notice the sounds I heard around me through the headphones: next to me was a guy flipping through a notebook, behind me was a girl on her phone with her friend, the chair under me creaked as I strained to hear something, and then my heartbeat in my ears. I heard everything and stopped thinking about the video, and began to think about the noises I hear everyday.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Crowdsourcing: Interconnectivity Throughout

 After working on the crowdsourcing project, I began to want to know more about crowdsourcing, but never considered how I could have been interacting with one on a near daily basis. I've always known that Wikipedia can be edited by just about anyone, but never truly considered it crowdsourcing; probably due to never really understanding crowdsourcing before. Wikipedia, as much as some professors may loathe it, is really a useful tool to learn just about anything in just a few seconds (depending on your internet strength and connection). And, according to Jimmy Wales, it's not "the most incorrect thing ever," as some professors may claim. The system that is in place allows any incorrect changes to an article to be quickly fixed and corrected. This is really interesting to know how the quality is controlled among so many people.

Like the article on DailyCrowdsource pointed out, quality control is actually pretty easy to keep a handle on, as one could choose what works better at certain parts, or with certain things. Quality control is a huge part of crowdsourcing, as I think it would be difficult from time to time. I could start with one vision of a crowdsourcing project, and then be completely taken by surprise by the results that are handed in, as it could differ from the original goal of what I intended.

One of the interesting things about the final reading was how open they were about the interconnectivity of creative people and how there is no money to it. Much like Wikipedia, but through film instead. The description reminded me of the film Life In a Day (2011), which was a crowdsourced documentary showing a day (July 24th 2010, the first day after the World Cup) in lives of people all around the world. The connection between people and their lives was incredible, bringing to light, also, the power of YouTube, which itself is a bit of a crowdsourced project. How many people can gather on one website and each have so many different videos from all over the world, and be able to connect across platforms as if they knew that person.