Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pt. I Development/Ideas

Have been developing the storyboard for Pt. 1 of the film, this, in many ways is the most complex of the films, as there must be a definite, detailed outline for the entire piece. Because a single clip is being used, and I will be altering the actual presence of it, I must have a plan, so I will be able to work away from the original unit, but then also work back towards it at the end of the piece. Difficulties could also occur with the keyframes and anchor points technique I will be using, though I’ve used this in the past, there are some technical aspects I am not particularly fluent enough with to attain my targets. Hopefully these will be sorted out along the way, and, with enough planning, I will be able to afford to spend quite some time on them.

Ideally I would return to the original make-up of the clip at the end of every loop, this will involve looping the original clip to, for example, a four second series, then using this file as my base sequence. Then, within this constant unit I will be able to manipulate, repeat, and partition (visually, not in the timeline) working away from the original model, and back again, using the full four seconds in the most suitable way. I will do this because the original one second loop would be too fast for such complicated manoeuvres, giving the viewer too little time to take in piece. Also, the pacing of the manipulation should, at four seconds, be in time, or at a relatively similar pace, to the audio of the track (culled from the original scene). I hope that the audio and visual elements combine to create a hypnotic/rhythmic element in the work. At present I am worried that this early section of the 4 part series will lack the intensity of later sections, this can be put mainly down to the relatively quiet level of volume (as there is only one track) and the lack of layering/reduction techniques used in later parts. It will however be instrumental in introducing the viewer to the piece, and should, I hope, give quite a clear idea of what the rest of the work will be like. This part should clearly describe what I am doing to the viewer, so that although some of the later pieces may become much more complicated, there is still this frame of reference for the viewer to refer to.

At this stage I’m not too worried about differences in the audio throughout the film, as this can quite easily be remedied once all four parts have been completed. It would be much more complicated to start correcting discrepancies in volume at this stage and then have to re-alter them once the film is complete.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Narrative Film

I’ve not gotten any further with making prints of my work, as I’m not at this stage sure how relevant they would be. It’s a shame, as I think they’d look quite impressive, but I suppose I have enough time left to still make these if I decide it is pertinent. Instead I’ve been concentrating on my studio work, specifically in making a more ambitious film with perhaps some sort of narrative involved. This was Matt’s suggestion, but I think at this point I could really do with something which will focus my attention and really push me to consider how I want to make the work. Ideally I hope to finish this by the Easter holiday, then in the final month before the show re-edit it, making improvements, but also make some new films based on older work. I quite like the idea of, having created work from film, creating work from the product. This could be extended over a longer timeline to produce and re-produce more and more work (in either a linear or fragmented manner).

Anyway, the narrative film I have in mind would comprise of four parts:

i) Single; A single clip of the film would be edited to alter its composition. Using keyframes and motion/rotation techniques (with anchor points), this piece would be quite rhythmic, with each alteration occurring in time to the soundtrack.

ii) Several; Like many of my more recent films, this piece would begin with a group of clips (all the same), which would form patterns and forms on the screen. I should incorporate the phasing and lagging approaches I used earlier in the year which tied the work in with the minimalist composers.

iii) Screen; This section would be based on the ideas of my latest work, of a repetitive loop where I would select a section to use for the next stage. This idea formed the basis of my prints, though in the film I hope to prolong the process. Techniques I’ve learned from the decorative/patterned work could inform this in other ways, such as using motion to achieve more hypnotic/mesmeric results.

iv) Tile; This part of the work will bear a direct relationship to the prints, playing with ideas of scale and purity (this may also involve video compression processes). By altering the scale of a clip, exporting it, then importing it, some of the data is lost, and it is this lost information which I would like to investigate.

So there’s quite a bit to be getting on with! In my mind the first half of the piece will take the longest, as these must be structured and I should have a precise plan and storyboard for what I want to achieve. The second half is more theory based, and indicative of my current thoughts on film. While planning these very carefully, there should be no need for storyboarding, as the specified process should be repeated for the duration of the film.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Continuing the Article (and final postcard)

Continuing with my article on Meadows, and I've begin to write some concrete stuff which I'm quite happy with. Taking Meadows 'directors commentary' from several of his films as primary source material, it seems that many of his films, or at least parts from ALL of his films, take inspiration from an event in his youth where he witnessed a fight, perhaps more precisely: one of his mates beating the hell out of someone. An occurrence Meadows blames himself for; egging his friend on, and desperate to see his first proper fight, he feels he is the guilty party.
Scenes such as the character Sonny throwing a pan of water over the unconscious Anthony in 'Dead Man's Shoes', and Morrell's unflinching beating of Ladene's suitor in 'A Room for Romeo Brass', stem from this occasion, while on a much wider scale, the drug use, and abuse of a lesser intelligence, to the point of death in 'Dead Man's Shoes', friends growing apart as one youngster befriends an older man in 'A Room for Romeo Brass' and the boxing club set up in 'TwentyFourSeven', are all drawn from Meadows youth, growing up in Uttoxeter.

So it's going well, I've written about 4-5000 words now, and, as I've neglected my studio work for a week or so, I feel it best to leave this for a while and return to making films. When I come back to it I'll be able to look at it with fresh eyes and see exactly what should stay and go, and in which direction I want to push the piece. I have yet to write a conclusion, so I could well change my ideas and arguments when I return to it, but at present I'm quite happy with this angle of looking in detail at meadows youth and evaluating the impact/effect this has had on his films, through plot, story and technique.

This week I've also produced my degree show postcard, which I'm very happy with. I have used a still from one of my 'Birds' films (in fact I think it may well be posted here, probably a couple of months ago). I was concerned with the resolution of the image, so rather than blowing it up to fill the postcard, I thought it suitable to tile the image. So the image remains the same scale, but is placed across the screen in three rows of three. I used this tiling effect on five of my film stills, producing five possible postcards, from which my final choice was taken. There were some interesting results, as they looked like, and I finally discovered, actually work, as stereogram (Magic eye) images. Obviously the viewer cannot see the statue of liberty, or a car, or other such recognisable objects, instead there is a series of bars and blocks which project to varying degrees from the surface of the postcard. This is something I'd like to look into in further detail at a later date (as I'm not sure if its particularly useful). I have begun to wonder whether these small postcard images could perhaps be enlarged to print size, so I could perhaps do some screenprinting. I would like to retain the scale though, so the A6 format I have at present, would itself be tiled across the screen to create the A1 or A0 sized image. Without any increase in the scale of the image, but instead the canvas, I think these images would really draw the viewer in and produce very interesting visual/optical effects. The images lend themselves to screen printing (i.e. a colour palette limited to 3 colours, a regular pattern, etc.) so I should try this quite soon. Also, doing this myself would save on the costs of getting large scale prints produced, which, if I wanted one (let alone 5) high quality A1 image printed, would cost a fortune.
Questions arise as to how these are relevant to my work, but I see them as yet another recycling and reusing of materials. The postcards are a new product made from the old film, and as such are works in their own right. They have also influenced my work to the extent where I am considering what sort of film I could produce which exhibits this all encompassing texture and repetition. People have commented that they look like a knitting pattern, or some sort of honeycomb/biological structure, which are all worthwhile comments, and things I've taken on board, and could possibly take into account when I do my new film, or prints from the images.

So it's going well still, and I'm at a point which I'm finding quite exciting, as new horizons have opened up for me. More next week, but again, no more pictures...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

No More Images and the Shane Meadows article

I've now discovered that I cannot upload any more images, due to my 'allowance being used up', and whereas I could delete some of the previous posts, and continue with my image uploading, I think it'd be a little more interesting to just upload text, and if whoever's reading this finds it sufficiently interesting, then they could visit the degree show on the 2nd of June and see what;s been going on.
So unfortunately, all that is left to look at is my writing, and that isn't particularly interesting.

This week I've been concentrating on the Shane Meadows article I must write for the theory part of my course (an option I signed up for at the start of the year, and have regretted ever since). The basic premise of this is to compare and contrast the films of Meadows ("Dead Man's Shoes", "A Room for Romeo Brass" and "TwentyFourSeven") with those of the New Wave ("Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", "A Taste Of Honey", etc.) Having started writing, this immediately threw up some awful situations. I felt I was writing, "In this film, Meadows does this, which is like this in this film, and this in this film... bblah blah blah" and who's interested or wants to read something as awful as a secondary school book review. It was atrocious.

I've since revised some of my ideas, and decided that It'd be best to perhaps write about Meadows childhood, which features in so many of his films. There are certain events and occasions which he comments on quite freely, which he has used to varying degrees in his films. "A Room for Romeo Brass" in fact, is a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood, and as such, presents some interesting areas which I feel I;ll be able to 'get my teeth into' and make a proper go of this article with.

As I've been working on this, I've to some extent 'neglected' my studio work. Not such a bad thing, because it's given me the opportunity to take a step back, and assess/evaluate some of my ideas. It has also given me the time to form some sort of 'degree show' timeline, which tells me I have not got long left before the big day, and that I really need to keep pushing my work hard in the next couple of months.

Hopefully by next week I'll have the majority of the writing module complete, and can return to studio work with some concrete ideas on where I am going, perhaps with a storyboard for new work, though it wont be uploaded.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

From Jon (and other ideas)


I was e-mailed this image by my friend Jon who's living in Berlin at the minute doing his Masters degree. He said it reminded him of me, which was nice and it's also a lovely picture (he's been trying hard to take 'arty' photo's recently).

These other two stills are from the end of my latest film (the +&- from previous posts), but they do suggest to me a shift in perhaps a new direction (and also a My Bloody Valentine video). I'll have to do some more tests with them to see what's really going on, but at the minute it seems quite exciting. Check back soon (but not too soon) for "+&- 2: The Re-make".