March 23, 2007

Collage and Found Footage within a Cultural Context

How many letters in the alphabet can you link to a brand?

Earlier in the semester, I posted the Humument project as an example of a collage work. Though Tom Phillips was working in book form, you might easily draw a parallel between what he did and what you as a collage film/videomaker might do when you arrange nuggets of media together to create a new meaning.

Below is a talking point that does not necessarily express absolute truth but will be a jumping off point for class discussion:

Both the Lethem and the the Garnett and Meiselas articles have argued, in one way or another, that painters, filmmakers, musicians, photographers etc. do not live in a void and are not only directly influenced but quite often borrow from other artists' work.

Though this has been going on for centuries, it can easily be argued that this is especially the case in the 21st Century, where we are indundated with the omni-presence of media. Brands, TV shows, movies, advertisements, and so on make up our cultural landscape. It is not as simple as chosing to either embrace or opt out of this cultural landscape. We can not decide to turn our backs on the media culture - unless we choose to live in total seclusion. As we walk down the street, advertisements becon us from buses, bilboards, the bumpers of cars, TVs in restaurants and so on.

As filmmakers, we can not help but be influenced by this steady stream of media and create work that, intentionally or not, borrows from artists who create this media and who themselves have, no doubt, been influenced by the media stream as well. So how does this effect our views of plagerism?

March 2, 2007

Looking toward the One-Shot Assignment

16mm hi-con print stock (kodak 7363) was shot on a Bolex (undercranked at 12fps). The film was then processed as a negative using Dektol developer. The negative image was projected and captured on video. In this video, you can see the original image side by side with the positive image (inverted through a filter applied in Final Cut Pro to produce a positive). Above the two images are f-stop #s which correspond to the exposure.

For the next assignment, a group of 4 will have a sufficient amount of 16mm hi-con stock (good ol' 7363) to shoot a single take long (duration) shot. We'll be learning the basics of using a Bolex 16mm camera and returning to a little bit of hand-processing. I know those windows in the above video are small so you'll have to use your imagination, a little, to see a parking lot and cars whizzing by on a busy road in the distance. Notice that as the screen gets lighter in the left video widow (negative) it gets darker in the right window (the positive).

One other detail. Bolexes are hand-wound, not eletrically powered, cameras. In other words, you wind the camera and start shooting. Each wind gives 28 seconds of roll time. But we need to make a one-minute film using one continuous long shot so . . . we will undercrank (slow the frame rate of the Bolex) to 12 frames per second when we shoot. Then when we project the film at 24fps the action will be double the natural speed and the one-take will speed by at 28 seconds. When we slow the footage down in Final Cut to HALF the speed, we will get a 56-second continuous shot.

Still not quite a minute, you say. Add titles and slug and it is!