Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Experience With the Projects

I had a wide range of experiences with each project. 

Project 1: Film painting I rate as a 5. I learned a lot from this project, but still I felt not as creative on this one. It was interesting to learn about how projectors work and that is ultimately what I pulled from this project the most. Inks on film is interesting, but not something I would want to regularly do in the future. 
Project 2: Rhythmic Edit I would rate as a 3. It was a lot of fun to see the final product and I like seeing the rhythm of the cuts over and over again. It was fun to experiment with how to tell a story in such brief cuts. 
Project 3: Animation was my least favorite. I rate it a 6. I just didn't feel that creative in this process. I loved using super 8, but I felt that our end product was 'meh.' Maybe I hadn't prepared for it the way I had wanted to, but ultimately I felt I was the least creative with this one. That's not to say that I don't enjoy animation. On the contrary, I did animation for the video race and it rocked! I'll talk about that later. 
Project 4: Long Take I would rate as a 1. This was a fun project. I learned about how exposure worked in film, and the mystical nature of film processing was revealed to me. I found it very interesting, because I had never seen what a film negative looked like. This was an excellent project and a real eye opener. 
Project 5: 48 Hour Race was my second favorite project. I had never done animation with a digital still camera before. What I pulled away from this project was not so much that we can make films without cameras, but the pressure that I was under, and how I was able to use that make a fun film. I also used the opportunity to do green screen, something I had never done before. In the future I want to do more animation with still cameras. 
Project 6: Found Footage I rate as a 4. I like it, but I wasn't in like with it. I don't think I was very creative with the project. It is hard to take concepts and use other media to show them, but only do it in a minute. I think my project suffered because of the time restriction. Had I had more time, I could have better explained the point of my film with in the film. However, taking media to make different meanings is a real eye opener. I felt like a propaganda machine, because I could bend people to think what I wanted them to think, just by using image and sounds. 

6x1 Part Deux

If I could design a second part to 6x1, it would look a little something like this...

Once a person has mastered all 6 different forms of filmmaking taught, and of course there are more than 6 that could be taught, the next class should focus on harnessing a particular favorite and using its full potential. Each student should focus on making a 10 minute thesis film using one form of filmmaking taught. Each time we would come into class, we would work to continue building the film. People could paint in the room, or do rayograms in the blackbox. Andre could then go around and see our progress. We would also project works in progress and discuss them in class. By the end of the class, we would have a 10 minute film that has been crafted and made with the highest levels of professionalism. We could then submit these films to various festivals and get the class of 6x1 out there. Perhaps other schools would begin having these classes available. 

In my opinion, this is how I would want to see a second part of 6x1 because it seems to be the next logical conclusion. Once a person has learned to use a camera, they go and make films. Now that we've learned all these amazing qualities of film, we should make longer films with them. I keep thinking of that film, with the alien attack, that was done in rayograms. Could I student make something like that in a semester? Of course, this would involve outside of class work, but any filmmaker that is serious in their art and craft knows that filmmaking goes beyond the classroom. Thoughts anyone?

Response to Yes Men

Yes Men was an okay movie. Personally I didn't see how these people were going to change the world through pranks. The act of impersonation isn't going to change anything. You'll annoy a few people, but the machine will keep on going. However, the movie itself, documenting these guys and their views is a much more affective way of mass communication to bring about change. I believe that to get any group collective thinking, you have to do it in bulk. That is because one thread over here, and another thread over here, won't tie themselves together, usually. If you can get a whole bunch of threads at once though, people begin to see the larger impacts of globalization, and will tie themselves with others they see in front of them.  

Watching the movie tied in perfectly with Assignment 5 because this assignment is about camera less filmmaking. About taking what you have in front of you, to make a film. The Yes Men, take what they have in front of them, a global market of executives, and they try to integrate themselves by impersonating them to make change. There was a certain quality of experimentation with the Yes Men. They used what was thought of as standards of practice, power points, suits, etc, and fooled people into listening to ridiculous lectures about the merits of slavery! They took a set of expectations, and turn them on their head. When you then look at it, you see its ridiculousness. 

Assignment 5 is not about the ridiculousness of filmmaking, but perhaps the ridiculous notion that you have to make a film, with a film camera. We turn that notion on its head, and show that you can make great movies by working outside the box. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mystery Workshop Response (48 hour race)

The 48 hour video response was nothing like I've ever done before. It was a great experience. I thought I would use my laptop web camera, but after deciding to do an animation, I felt that the camera would be too cumbersome. I ended up using my girlfriend's digital still camera. I took the prop line, "My god, it's full of stars!" and concocted a storyline around it. I was also interested in using green screen for the animation. I've never done green screen work before, and after learning the basics of it in Introduction to Editing class, I thought I'd give it a try. I bought a green sheet of paper, and decided to do paper cut outs of key figures. These included: The rock mountain, skeleton, cheese sandwich, and god's face. I calculated the number of still frames I'd need to make a minute. This equaled about 600 frames if I was going to have 30 frames a second. This equation worked out nicely. The majority of my problems ran into animating the mouth of God. I didn't have a good animating station. I was doing it at my work desk, and everytime I had to move the mouth, I had to go around my desk to get to the sheet of paper. I was really having trouble with the keying about the green screen. I had never done it before, and as animation took the whole day before, and some of the second day, I was just assembling the footage and color keying about 8 hours before the animation was due. But, for what the time, I think I did very well. I wanted to go back later and fix the green, but I decided that, that wasn't in the spirit of the race. I really enjoyed this process. Having a deadline, and having to be creative like that was a real joy. I felt pride in what I was doing, because it was unique and because we were all on the same level, no one had advance word on the prop, I felt this really was an opportunity to show what type of filmmakers we were. I'd love to do this again, and it has definitely peaked my interest in animation and green screen work. 

Free Style- How This Class Helps

I really have enjoyed 6x1! I could never see it going away. This is the only class that has shown me the true qualities of film and its potential. The most important thing, is that we have broken down this 'mystical' quality of film and have revealed what it is and how it can be used. Before I took this class, I didn't know exactly how exposure worked, or how projectors worked. By being allowed to analyze the film up close, I've learned so much! I was allowed to make mistakes. I didn't have to keep the conditions perfect for a narrative shoot. Now I see the larger picture of filmmaking and its art. If this class were to leave, I feel that students would be loosing a large chunk of their education. This is NOT arts and crafts. I've already begun writing a short film for 495 class next semester, where the character uses techniques that we've learned in this class. 

Experimentation in film is going to be the thing that saves it. You can't do the things in digital formats that you can in film, its such an organic art. A filmmaker can be very expressive with film, and that's what I have learned from this class. 

This class helps because before this, I had never had the guts to 'cut' film. I've been trained in the straight narrative profession where the shot could be ruined if you touch the film with your greasy and oily fingers. How can you learn in that type of environment? I believe we will begin to see a trickling down of new films by young filmmakers that might incorporate things that we've learned in this class. I know I will in next years 495. Cool beans Andre! Thanks for the class. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rough Theater

Wow, what a reading! I loved this reading so much, I read it to my girlfriend, a theater major. I completely agree with this article. Art, as in theater or anything else, gains a certain something when it is presented as is, without attempting to shield the viewers from flaws. In fact, we will go with them. That has been one of my biggest complaints about digital technology, and a reason why I shoot and edit on film, is because digital is just too clean. It seems unreal. Assymetry, mistakes, all lend themselves to art. Art is about imperfection, and complexities. Our daily lives are not perfect. When we try to make everything in theater perfect, we sense a sterility to it. For theater to encompass so many forms, it is interesting that we try to imitate only one or two. Imitation is all it is. Therefore, we as an audience aren't engaged. When we see things that are rough, as in rough theater, we feel they are more real. This article coincides with me recently cutting 16mm film and projecting it on a wall in my room. I felt more alive. I suppose the roughness felt like my art was alive. The scratches and splice marks added to my film, they didn't detract. We should all learn to make art in anyway that we can, and not try to imitate just to get an "Accepted" look. 

Molotov Man

Decontextualization of art is an interesting debate. Is it a perversion of an artist's original intent? Or is art in the eye of the beholder, and there is no such thing as originality? I believe that art must be protected. Copyright, in my opinion, is still very important. However, an interesting problem arrises in this theory of decontextualization. No one can define what is art. If I take and image and add something even miniscule, isn't that still art? The point is, art is subjective. So, we can't easily say this is art and this is not art. In my opinion, we'd have to say that anything goes or nothing goes. I am a fan of decontextualization. I enjoy seeing something in a new way. I think that the photographer of the molotov man has no rights to the picture. The molotov man owns his own image. He owns the points of light that are absorbed by his skin and the excess that is refracted. The photographer, doesn't own him. So, this other woman has every right to make another form of representation of the photograph. After all, isn't a photograph, just another "representation" of real life. So, art, is just a representation of a real original thing. So, there is no "originality" in art. Is that bold to say? Still though, an artist should have some protection. I'm not sure what that is, that's for lawyer's to decide. I think though, that the Molotov man, and its many iterations, are all equally a "truth" of the man's struggle. No one artist owns it entirely.