Sunday, April 26, 2009

VI by I Part II/ Ratings

If I was going to design a 6X1 Part Dos I would make the first one a prereq (duh!). However, when you get into the second class you pick 2 methods of film making that were discussed in part 1 and make two three minute films. It would be called 2X3. In addition to the films each student should have to do a presentation on a filmmaker (much like the presentations in animation.) Grades would be based on proof of work on the two projects throughout the year, student participation, and the film maker presentation. On top of that ONE of the films made by each student must be entered into a film festival thats not put on by UNCW or someone affiliated. Or the class could work on a film in class as a whole and then submit that at the end. It would be a good class to delve deeper into the idea of film as art like we cover in the avant garde classes. I think more people need to be exposed to the really art out films that are made because when something is broken down like that one is able to have more creativity on the medium. Cover people like Warhol and the like who made really short and long films with simple subject matters. Then people will get a better idea of where a lot of current films get their influence. They may also be influenced but in a different way and create an entirely new genre! That would be intense.

Assignment Ratings
  1. Rythmic Editing
  2. Cameraless (Filmpainting)
  3. Found Footage
  4. 1 Shot
  5. Animation
  6. 48 Hour
Rythmic: This was my favorite because of the amount of freedom we were allowed. I'm not saying we were really limited on the other assignments, just that a digital camera makes it so much easer to capture images. I also enjoyed this one because the editing was like building a puzzle. Our footage came out really nicely and I really enjoyed shooting it even though it was really cold.

I didnt want to say that any of the projects were my leave favorite because in terms of projects they were all really fun to shoot. The only reason I put the 48 Hour at the bottom was because the tape got eaten and no one got to see it on the night of CSFF. Overall I was very happy with the outcome of all my projects and wouldnt suggest changing a thing. The thing I enjoyed the most was the variety between the projects.

Yes men! Response

I really enjoyed the Yes Men documentary we watched in class. I wish there were more people likes these guys who point out the ridiculousness of the current world we live in. How far gone are we as a nation were a group of highly educated individuals can sit through their lectures but a bunch college students cant catch that discrepancies right away. I'm not saying that I'm surprised that the college kids got it first (of course we are the best group at calling out bullshit, its practically everyone hobby) I'm saying its pathetic that the adults just sit through it like it was a sex ed seminar. It's these same adults that lambaste us college kids for not being current or smart but at least we see and bitch about the amount of change that needs to happen. We just don't fight harder because we don't want to piss away all the time in our life when we are physically attractive.
Back to the Yes Men. These guys relate to assignment #6 more than #5 because of their methods of culture jamming. Instead of re contextualizing news footage through editing they just go inside and change it from within. Which brings me to something else ridiculous about how they operate. The WTO is a very highly regarded organization and you would expect that someone from either in the news networks or in the WTO would be checking up on these guys. These are the kind of scary realizations one has in college when they start to realize that the world is a much less organized and caring place. It's full of neglect and greed, even when you climb all they way up to things like the friggin World Trade Organization and network news. The way things are going these guys will probably end up getting tazed a bunch of times then "accidently" dieing in a prison cell. Anyone who asks questions will probably meet the same fate. I predict that culture jamming will be illegal in our lifetime.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ecstacy and molotiv

I'd like to start off by speaking about how two-faced this Susan Meiselas lady is. Granted I do agree with her plea of keeping the photographs context in tact and not letting it be come part of an overall "riot" archetype. The plight of those people and the drama of the situation is a big part of what makes that photograph so artistically important. Her two-facedness comes from the way she reacted to the artist using her photograph in a painting. Instead of rationally explaining to the artist and the public her reasons for not wanting the photograph to go public in way, instead she treats it as if its an investment and she's trying to get the highest return possible. I felt there was a better way for her to handle that situation, especially given her eloquence in speaking about her connection to the photograph.
On the topic of the story itself I have to side with the artist on this one. Even though his painting is practically a direct representation of the man in the photograph, it does isolate a portion of the image, thus recontextualizing it once. He goes further into actually changing the medium by turning the image into a painting; thus giving it a second recontextualization. The fact that people associated it with a riot is because of the photograph being recontextualized in numerous ways. Since one can't see the rest of the photo one isnt assumed to know the exact circumstances behind the image.
It is because of this that I feel the response by many to use the image over and over in many different contexts was justified. I think it's especially funny that a company like pepsi takes the image and uses it for their campaign. I am sure they realize the irony behind a huge corporation using an image of someone that probably hates them (when using it in the riotor type sense).
This discussion of the image reminds me of comments a friend of mine would always make about college students wearing che guevara on their t-shirts. Though it really comes from his hatred of hippies, he brings fourth the same points that Susan Meisalas brought about losing the original intention of meaning. While I think it's a shame that people who overcame great struggles and went up against all odds will not be given the proper respect, I also think it's a shame that their are people out their making money on it. BUT! While I think it's a shame I'm not saying we should stop it. This may be the only way we can get people to actually question who these people are and what they did. Since we now live in the days of wikipedia and the internet the people who dont know who these images are will look them up and get the full story. This is precisely why I feel that people who hate on wikipedia and open internet suck. Instantaneous access to information allows us to cram all kinds of knowledge into our heads thus giving us more things to use in experiences later on in life. I digress.
My views on any use of anything that was made by somebody else goes as this: No matter what the medium is (Music, photography, video) I think anyone can re-use in any sense they want as long as they can: A. Prove the changes they have made to the original (No direct copies) and B. Explain a coherent reason for making these changes and rereleasing it. Then I feel the second artist is free from having to pay and ask permission.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It was cold. It was raining. I mean seriously, it got up to 70 degrees in the prior weeks and come the Saturday we shoot outside its pouring and its freezing. Luckily I gained access to an umbrella and soldiered on.
Aside from the weather I'd say the most difficult part of this assignment was coming up with a coherent and interesting idea that worked in a 1 minute long shot on campus. I helped with one of the first groups to shoot which came out well but was too short. I just knew i wanted to use a car dolly. When our time to film came we piled in my car and looked for a spot. Upon finding a good location behind a building next to a trash can we began looking at ways to utilize the spot to its full potential. Once we had everyone out there and throwing out ideas we starting rehearsing. I think we did one or two practice runs before we actually shot. The transition to the car was a little rough but it all looks smooth in playback. The film quality leaves something to be desired but understand that its tough to transfer to digital. I was very impressed with how well the developed film came out. Once transferred to video and inverted and slowed down it really looks good. Our F-stop setting was right on for the darker shots in the trees but it became to bright as we drove out into the parking lot.
I'm pretty excited about what im going to be able to do with the sound on this project. Im thinking jungle sounds and having the performers record unintelligible grunting and celebretary noises.
I really like shooting with the bolex. It's not ergonomic at all and the camera itself is very noisey. It's fun because you only get one shot at it so you have to make sure everything is perfect before hand. I cant imagine working on a hollywood feature scale with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of film on the line. Maybe one day we can have a 35mm project to do. That would be awesome.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I have personally always felt that film isn't whole without sound. That's not to say that films without sound are not as good, nor am I saying that they are any less of art. I feel that cinema is an art because it compiles all the other kinds of art (sound, image, painting, music). This idea correlates with Chion where he talks about the "added value" that sound gives to an image. This added value can go in any direction too. Say there's an image of me yawing. If you put over that image a sound of a fog horn, a lions roar, or a woman screaming; each of those will create different meaning from the image. Not only will it create a different meaning but it will also create a deeper meaning because you have thrown off the audiences expectations.
I also feel that a lot of these ideas of empathetic and anempathetic music are things that one picks up on throughout life (if you have been exposed to television and movies, of course). Even before I started studying film, if I were to edit a sad scene I would know what kind of music in my mind that would fit. Converesely, when I listen to music I can't help but think of what kind of scene the particular song would work in. The idea of non-emotion music intrigues me though. I had never thought of how it works until now. It's like a white noise sound that occurs after a particularly heavy emotion scene can carry over that emotion just by simply being there. Since the sound its self provides 0 added value besides noise, the audience is left soaking it all in.
Another idea I wasnt aware of was the difference in comprehension between ones eyes and ones ears. I knew that it takes the mind roughly 2-3 seconds to comprehend something it's heard, but I wasnt aware of the ears ability to gain definition over repetition. I feel that because of this, image adds value to sound. Since we see things before we hear them, we gain expectations visually a lot quicker. This is something to keep in mind for a filmmaker when one wants to make an impression on the audience quickly.
The last thing I learned (well not learned but more-or-less relized) was that image in some contexts is vectorless, meaning to temporal characteristics. The example with being able to reverse the montage on the beach scene and it still convey the same visual ideas is mind-blowing. On the other hand, I feel it is an easily learned idea to highlite certain parts of the environment when one is showing them. It should be common sense that when one shows an image of a windchime the audience should hear a windchime.
I like the idea of sound having vector because it helps explain audio phenomena. As a music producer, I deal will taking soundbites and making them as musiclly pleasing as possible. This includes chopping, reversing, and speed manipulation. Not once through that though have i considered a sound to have vector because I didn't look at sounds in relation to image. Even more curious is the idea that one can folley a sound in a film using original sounds that are no where near the same as the end result. It's like sound and image give each other context for which to work. If it matches up relatively well then the viewers brain tends to fill in the rest.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Stan Brakhage seems like a really weird guy. Granted his positive "you can do anything if you put your mind to it" attitude is nice and it made the PDF a lot easier to read but I couldn't help thinking that he's the kind of guy that calls people "pilgrim." When I read the voice in my head was of the Family Guy character that lead the CPR class and the PTA meeting. You know, the effeminate one that always talks about his cat and the snacks that are in the back of the room. Moving on. Seeing as how he wrote this in 1966 I'm a bit confused as to why he had to explain how to load a projector; especially in paragraph form. It would have been a ton easier if he used diagrams and pictures rather than run on sentences. My guess is that he's trying to be sure that people understand film as thoroughly as possible so that their art can flourish to the endless boundaries that are achievable. Every time he told me to drop the book if I was excited I have to admit: I was tempted. That wasn't the assignment, though, so I continued on. The part in the "Dear Gregory" letter where he spoke about his relationship with Kenneth Anger was really interesting. It must have been amazing to be part of that time period where there was so much innovation and experimentation going on. I've watched "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" recently but sadly it wasn't in the triptych format; crazy film either way.
His comment on page 9 that states "If I make a collage film which can't be printed or projected at all, then it is, after all, more of a necklace or wall decoration than a film." Of course if you make a film that cant be shown then it's worthless. Why did he feel the need to write that down?
The part where he talks about how to make a film a daylight film was a new concept to me. I had never taken into consideration the effect a blue sky has on sunlight thus making one have to filter light to achieve the same effect. The way he follows all of his profound statements up with "if you feel the same then bless you" seems sort of condescending to me.
It kind of feels wrong to be reading a "how-to" on something as creativity based as direct film manipulation. I understand that he is just giving suggestions on what one could do if they were to pursue this method, but I feel if the person was into it enough to read this long-ass article they probably have some sort of idea of how they were going to go about it. The thing where he talks about how the glue crystalizes when you heat it up with an iron; how the hell did he figure that out? This guy must be constantly take things and sticking, gluing, rubbing, squirting, and oozing them onto film just to see how it looks. I have to admit, it sounds like fun.