Thursday, June 16, 2011


Wow, we completed 6 films in a matter of 4 weeks?  I can't believe it is over!!! Out of the 6 films I rate the animation project as my favorite.  The reason for why it is my favorite is because as a group we all contributed with ideas, moved objects, and discussed.  I felt as if the team effort was the strongest for this project and to finally understand how the animation factor works with stop motion is awesome to know!  Who wouldn't be excited to learn about that?  The second favorite project was cameraless filmmaking.  Even though we were all paired with a partner, we worked individually in the aspect of manipulating film in our own segments and pieces.  It was fun to experiment with the different ways to manipulate film.  Also seeing the colors through inking and magazine transfers was surprising to see.  I definitely want to use the magazine transfer approach again.....and to find out how easy it is to do makes the style so much better :) My third favorite was the 3D shoot.  It was awesome to finally understand how 3D works.  Learning how to use after affects and how to even construct 3D classes made the learning experience the most appreciated.  Even though our footage wasn't the best, I thought the learning experience was way more valuable.  My fourth favorite was the pin hole camera.  Once again a great learning experience.  I never knew that you could make a camera without any digital or technical aspects to it. Fatty the Patty definitely helped our group out....other groups too!  Finally, my least favorite project was the long take.  I felt as if I didn't really learn anything about the long take.  I learned about the bolex before and filming in only one take is difficult, but it has been plenty of times in our department.  I'm so glad I took this class.  I have definitely learned sooo much about constructing film.

3D Shoot

At first I was nervous to film with a new group, especially just when I got used to my old group.  First comes the stage of meeting all the group members, then comes the positioning of each member, and finally arrives the disagreements of ideas. Luckily, my new group is awesome!  Ben, the little creative cookie, thought of a shot list/ small script.  We all worked around our plot which is of a monster attacking high school students.  The hardest part of the 3D project was that we had to circulate the plot around four genres.  Luckily both our groups picked horror.  The second for the other group was "war" and the second for my small group was "teen movie."  Now, how the hell can we construct a film that is existent in horror, war, and teen movie?  Especially with the location and props that we have. Well after some improvisation, and testing certain angles out we finally got it.  The cardboard boxes were also pretty tough to use in the film.  We kept on does this relate to 3D?  Will it pop out more?  Also, after constructing a 3D film I felt as if we should have taken more advantage of the 3D aspect.  Pointing props towards the camera, directing actors to move towards the camera, pretty much any element that will go towards the camera to make the 3D effect more obvious.  During sound in post production, it was difficult to construct a soundtrack that goes with our genres.  What falls under teen movie?  Can teen movie be considered a drama or a comedy or a musical?  There wasn't any specification with the teen movie and my partner and I started to doubt ourselves with the soundtrack.  Other than that, the experience of making a 3D film was extremely fun!

The Rough Theater

The setting, back ground, and location of film is one of the most important components of film.  In theater there is a part of grittiness that emulates through the location, actors, and audience. But what is so important about a gritty and truthful place?  In film reality is lost through most narratives.  Scenes and sets that exude perfection disconnect the audience from the story and actors.  To really relate to any story or performance, the audience must find it realistic, truthful, and familiar.  With live theater, actors are on the spot, making mistakes, which are actually existence in film/ performance.  So why does the audience seem more into reality, more so rough performance?  Aesthetically, it's fun to watch.  Maybe the audience feels more immersed in the performance considering it is right in front of them and the location seems rough, as if the performance outshines the background.  I really have no idea what exactly this concept Brook thought of, but it makes somewhat sense.  Is that why documentaries seem more raw other than the fact its not fully staged like a narrative?  That mistakes are shown on screen and live locations, as raw and roughed up as they are, make what the documentary is circulates around.  I guess the gritty truth of it all is that we all have experienced real time, real locations, the dirty portajohn that hold our breath in.  Without all of these places we wouldn't relate to any of the performances and plots.  We should bow down to the organic and raw scenery that we take advantage of and try to avoid.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Long Take Shoot

Working with the Bolex is always an awesome experience....especially during the summer! What is difficult about taking 6X1 during the summer is that each project is assigned one right after the other and most of the production is improvised.  My group and I were talking about ideas the day before the long take shoot.  We came up with a hallucinogenic peach that is bitten by a man who was stood up by his date. Crazy idea, but that was pretty much what we could work with since we were given a short period of time to brainstorm.  During our brainstorming hours we were excited by our shot list.  We knew that with the long take we could accomplish these shots successfully.  Well, we were wrong.  Sure our long take shoot came out alright, but it was difficult to film all the action when the camera had a shallow depth of field.  It was a telephoto lens and what we were looking for was more of a wide angle, especially for the style of the narrative as well.  At the beginning of the shoot blocking seemed simple.  We blocked our main character to pick up a peach, and walk down this trail which was about 30 ft long and be surprised by the random characters in his hallucination.   Well we blocked many times without using the camera to see how it would look.  Once we used the camera and saw through the lens what actually was in frame, we had to re block a couple more times.  What was also difficult was the time restraint that was given to us.  We had to follow the 54 second rule, and using a beginning, middle, and end to  a story is very difficult to fit in 54 seconds, but we did it!  Once we finished our long take shoot, we went into processing the film.  Processing the film didn't come out as we hoped, but we still have good footage.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cameraless Experience

Every time I would walk into my Intermediate Documentary class I would see strips of film pinned on the wall right below the projector screen.  I was always so curious to what those strips were for and how students could mutate them.  I would see what was stuck to them, writings and pictures from magazines and newspapers.  What!?!?  But how?  Well the time has come for me to finally experience how to change the form of film and experiment with scratching, sanding, inking, magazine transfers, bleaching, oiling, drawing, and so many more.  The experience was a lot of fun!  My first clear liter strip took me the longest.  I guess I was too slow and intricate with a project that was more focused on being portrayed as abstract.  It probably took me two and a half hours to finish half of the clear liter strip.  With the earth, water, fire, and wind theme, I used blue ink for the water segment.  I also took tape and cut out images of fishes throughout and inked over it to give off the theme of water.  Also experimenting with the application of inks such as paint brushes, tooth brushes, cu-tips, paper towels, or just applying ink directly from the bottle was a good lesson on how the slightest altering of how you apply ink to film can drastically change the overall look.  My favorite part of the cameraless project was the magazine transfer.  I had no idea how easy it was! Magazine transfers is a project that any one can do in any location.  All you need is magazines, water, and the film! So simple!  I also like the look of the magazine transfers, it takes the form of a collage. I will say that after a while I ran out of ideas, and I got tired of the theme.  Overall, this project taught me a lot of film strips and how to do art on them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wells: Theory of Animation

I never really knew how much thought went into animation.  Yes I may sound dumb and naive, but I thought that animation, at least the orthodox animation, was circulated around characters and narrative structure. As consistently exemplified, the Disney cartoons. All the Disney cartoons are recognizable animals and people.  Even though the characters are dressed in outfits that are unrealistic, the audience still perceives Donald Duck as a Duck and Tweety as a bird as previously stated in Well's article.  So when does animation cross the line to experimental?  Well where I get confused is if people don't recognize the shape or form of a cartoon, does it fall automatically under experimental animation.  What about those shows on the Adult Swim channel, sometimes the animators construct a cartoon that is either a blob or a meatball, but some of them aren't even recognizable.  So what if the cartoons are not perceived as known objects or characters, but have a narrative plot throughout, would that be considered experimental animation?  Wells discusses how experimental animation is more of dots, lines, colors, and sound, but has no real or known deeper meaning or message.  I disagree with that.  Yes, the "meaning" and "message" is  interpreted by each individual and there is actually no concrete message, but with certain colors, sounds, "animations" the film projects some type of motif, or reasoning behind it. If a viewer has any type of emotion for a reaction, then isn't the message sent?  I understand the message and narrative are two different things, and all though the dot on the film strip isn't going to buy milk at a grocery store, it still can bounce around to a beat and then stay still or do any type of action.  With that pattern, viewers start to feel for whatever is on screen, for this example, the dot, and starts analyzing the actions of the dots.  Of course we analyze everything, that's what we do best!  Even though animation is broken up into orthodox, developmental, and experimental, I still feel as if all these approaches and forms stand on ambiguous grounds.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mrs. Synesthesia and Mr. Cymatics

Synesthesia. After reading up on what that term actually means, experimental films started to make more sense.  In ancient greek the term "Synesthesia" means "together."  This pertains to stimulation of the senses correlating with color, sound, and movement. Aha! It now makes somewhat sense. In experimentals, specifically the films that incorporate manipulation to the film stock, I didn't understand the cause or the meaning to why these certain shapes and colors related to the sound and movement.  Well, now that there is a coined term.... it makes the meaning have more of an understanding.  Sound does alter the way we look at certain objects or images.  For example, Norman McLaren's film that was shown to us, unfortunately I don't remember the name of it, the shapes of images moved to the Jazz music.  Similar to the topic of cymatics, certain objects, such as sand and water are influenced by the vibrations of sound.  Although the images on film strips are not truly influenced by the vibrations of sound, the filmmaker can alter the movement of the image to match the sound they chose to use in their film. Such as a line bouncing or "dancing" to the Jazz notes.  There is always a motivation or reason behind the certain images, their movements, and the sound that is projected in films.  
      Cymatics focuses more on the vibrations of objects caused by sound.  And although the Jurassic Park scene of the dinosaur's footsteps vibrating the the cup of water on the table comes to mind, it's not quite there with cymatics. Usually to demonstrate the theory of cymatics, sand and water is used.  Patterns of sand and water alter to the different vibrations and when the vibrations increase the pattern of sand alters into crazy shapes.  Stupid question.... Is that what visual stimulations of songs do to the bass of the music? Ya know when you hear a dub step song and you see those images going along with the vibrations of the song. I guess that is an example of cymatics....more so with technology than nature.

Reaction to Norman McLaren's film:
"I found this experimental very captivating and I may sound far fetched, but I felt like this film circulated around movement, more specifically dance.  The filmmaker introduces two separate images and combines them throughout his film.  Also, with the incorporation of Jazz and matching the movement of images with the beat, felt as if the subject of dance motivated the piece. Then again, nature and man made objects, such as houses, would flash on the screen.  I liked the art (images) in the film, but the piece was too long and started repeating itself too much. The music did somewhat of the same thing.  It was difficult to see al the flashing images and confusion was certainly present.  Job well done! I could never think of such creative images, which almost could serve as a cartoon."