Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rate all 6 projects, 1 = most fav, 6 = least & why

1 = Assignment 5: The Bolex Long Take
The simplicity of the Long Take was refreshing, as was the ability to simply walk around campus in search of good shooting locations.
2 = Assignment 1: Cameraless Filmmaking
Arguably the most physical of all the assignments we undertook, I was pleased that a great deal of flexibility was allowed in what we could actually do to the film strips. More of that (perhaps no restrictions whatsoever) could make for a fun project.
3 = Assignment 2: Rhythmic Editing
To be quite frank, I’m not terribly entertained by the process of editing film via computer programs, which was a major aspect of this assignment.
4 = Assignment 4: Creative Crowdsourcing
I would have been more interested in an assignment in which we outsourced some kind of work to individuals outside of class.
5 = Assignment 6: 3D Anaglyph
This assignment was somewhat confusing, and there wasn’t enough time for my group to set up and shoot it properly, leading to a rushed and flawed production.
6 = Assignment 3: Multiplane Animation

As someone who has dabbled in stop-motion in the past, I was disappointed that stop-motion was primarily focused upon in regards to our actual application of it; I understand that as a production course, 6x1 can’t maintain a long discussion of stop-motion’s history or qualities, but a tad bit more of that would have been nice. Furthermore, there was so little time to shoot the project; stop-motion, more than any other technique we utilized, is a particularly time-consuming process that requires great care.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Is "The Rough Theater" relevant to what we do in 6x1?

The concept of the "Rough Theater" is certainly somewhat relevant to the assignments we've undertaken in 6x1. My groups have improvised several performance and cinematographic tidbits, and even entire takes were developed on the fly in unfamiliar situations and places as we abused the freedoms we were allowed. This method has resulted in some effective films that occasionally radiate ingenuity, films shot in a small period of time, with few resources, and at little cost to anyone in those groups. The method is basically a cost-effective and time-effective variation of traditional film production, which would typically involve complex storyboards, lengthy scripts, and more, all of which could have taken weeks or even months of time to complete. The discussion of how this method leads to more vibrant, immersive work is wisely tempered within the reading by the comparison to hospitals; some structures do require order and preparation. Some would argue that many films benefit from intense preparation, such as Leone’s numerous westerns, which feel particularly exact in regard to their framings and tracking; in these works planning and precision were clearly key aspects of pre-production, and allowed for fantastic filmic visuals. A filmic equivalent of the Rough Theatre could hardly equal the complex tracking shots and precise blocking seen in these pre-conceptualized and pre-planned films, and in addition Leone’s films are hardly bereft of human emotion and intensity, as they are bolstered by charismatic performances and exhibit clear care from many filmmakers, in opposition to the Rough Theatre.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

crowdsourcing readings

Based on the success of such projects as Star Wars Uncut and others, crowdsourcing is clearly an impressive and useful tool. However, one particular issue I can envision involving it is the fact that with microtasking, one is likely to receive work from many different people that is formally quite different (and in fact receiving formally identical work is likely impossible), something that could greatly hurt a film’s stylistic consistency, especially when one is working with such modes of filmmaking as animation and other particularly visual modes. Unlike the formation of Wikipedia, which maintains specific guidelines by which articles must be written and presented, a work of art can be difficult to restrict in such a manner; each creator’s individual technique could overshadow and take precedence over the project as a whole, and while some directors may be intentionally pooling such an aesthetic (such as Tiffany Shlain), others may prefer a greater deal of control in regard to their work. This is not to mention the more obvious issue of quality control, given that there may not always be a set of clearly ‘better’ results in the wake of microtasking. As I’ve strived to stress, these would primarily be issues if one crowdsourced a project that necessitated a consistent visual style and quality, or if one desired that style and that kind of quality, in which case crowdsourcing would not be an ideal route by which to develop an entire film. Otherwise, this may very well be a non-issue for the aspiring crowdsourcer.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Acoustic Ecology

For some time I’ve been aware of what sound offers the filmmaker; the potential of non-diegetic and ambient sound to produce tension, awe, and other feelings within a viewer is a powerful tool. Nevertheless, I found some of the discussion within the acoustic ecology reading (particularly that regarding noise activism—if only for the fact that what is essentially the regulation of noise was referred to as “noise activism”’) a tad absurd. Outside of the inherent artistic value of a particular soundscape, I was a bit amazed at the frankness with which noise throughout history was described with such terms as “sacred noise”; what struck me as attempts to force noise into particular paradigms (paradigms complete with their own terminology) in order to reinforce particular hypotheses reminded me of the film theory and criticism with which I occasionally take issue. However, the idea of building music around the composition of the natural world is interesting. Such a consideration leads one to the conclusion that other mediums could accommodate nature; for example, films already utilize sound taken during shooting, and they also substitute (sometimes modified) natural sounds for unnatural sounds that don’t exist in the real world. Sound design is of course widely recognized as a critical cinematic field. Mediums also need not accommodate sound only; films could work more or less with the natural landscape in regards to camera angles. Cranes and tracks could be done without, the camera used without the need for such complex devices to help it overcome the terrain.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Film manipulation: reflection and how it is relevant to you as a filmmaker

Working with film manipulation in the style of such filmmakers as Stan Brakhage (physically altering the film strips without the aid of a camera) proved interesting to me (although much of my interest was sparked by the simple fact that I was handling film strips for the first time), and the wide range of manipulation techniques available was surprising (as was the ease of those techniques). However, the relevance of the subject to me as a filmmaker is something I find questionable; I foresee myself working primarily within the digital space, and the properties of abstract, manipulated film stock would likely clash with the kinds of conventional narratives I’d be more interested in exploring—although modes of symbolic representation through abstract imagery are of course worth investigating. What I found to be far more relevant to my interests was the manipulation of film through editing as entailed by the rhythmic edit; the practice allows for captivating aural and visual patterns that can nevertheless communicate a sensible diegesis. As such, I feel it can be much more capable of being integrated into traditional film modes; I’ve observed a less challenging/rapid usage of rhythmic editing than that I used in the opening of Sam Peckinpah’s film The Getaway, which moved back and forth between different points of action in order to communicate the monotony and repetitive nature of the protagonist’s everyday life in prison. Such an instance of unconventional editing communicates a clear and precise meaning; it and the rhythmic edit are things I can easily draw inspiration from for my own work.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

synesthesia/cymatics

Synesthesia and cymatics are not just fascinating in and of themselves through their very existence, but are also fascinating when one considers their resemblance to artistic representations of senses, experiences, and phenomenon that have long been attempted and continue to be attempted in art today; examples being states of being or religious experiences. One thing that can be gleaned from such a consideration is that these interpretations of senses, experiences, and phenomenon need not be actually pulled from nature itself, like the cymatics-derived examples provided by Evan Grant; they can originate from an artist’s personal tastes and desires. Say a filmmaker wanted to represent a sound as an image; the image need not reflect an actual form of synesthesia or a cymatic image, but could instead be metaphorical or symbolic in nature. Such art has often been employed to communicate messages or particular ideals, but it is important to remember that it can be employed for such simple means as a sensory metaphor or some such thing, albeit one that need not derive from a specific product of the brain or a visualization of sound. I can certainly envision instances in which I could communicate images or sounds (possibly those of an entire film) in my own filmmaking work through entirely abstract visual means; potentially such a technique could be employed in a conventional narrative film, a visual pattern of some sort substituting for a particular on-screen action or a noise. This could allow for, if nothing else, a particularly striking visual effect that could lend itself greatly to stylization.